Brief synopsis: After opening a new bakery coffee shop, a mother and daughter team cannot agree on a suitable method to attract customers. When a handsome musician busks outside of their new establishment and brings in customers, the two women are enamoured by him. The musician secretly woos both women until the daughter discovers what he is doing forcing him to change his plans.
Is it any good?: hmm. It has a standard lazy title, Lethal Love, an attractive B-list cast and a silly premise, so not really, no. it does, however, almost tick the box of being awfully entertaining. The ending is horribly weak. There is a female-centric-ness about the film that skews the story.
Considering the story was written by a woman, this does not seem especially strange except that the female characters, without exception, are exceedingly stupid.
Spoiler territory: Blaine King (David Pinard) is penning a letter to Penny Jackson (Dayle McLeod), apologising for leaving. He glances at a photo of Penny and her sister, Camila (Cait Alexander).
He scrubs blood off of the floor and cleans up. Something wicked happened there, one thinks.
Outside, he tells an unconscious or dead Camila, who is in a duffle bag in the boot, that they could have been good together. We do not see Camila again.
In a picturesque town, mother and daughter, Sandra (Tori Higginson) and Sophie Sullivan (Joelle Farrow) are interviewed by a reporter (Michelle Rambharose) about the realisation of their bakery, Sweet Surrender, a name inspired by their favourite film.
The reporter takes a photo for the local paper. The turnaround of news is pretty swift as dodgy geezer Blaine, has the article a few days later as he sizes up the bakery.
Inside, Ange (Tommie-Amber Pirie), a local artist and someone who helps out in the bakery drops by. Sandra laments the lack of customers. Ange remarks how it has only been open a few weeks. As there are more staff than customers, Ange must be getting paid in cake.
Sophie says she has been brainstorming ideas for promotions, but as her mother does not know any of the ideas, I do wonder who she brainstormed with as it is not something one generally does alone.
Anyhoo, Sophie thinks they should try social media, utilising local influencers. Sandra immediately shoots the idea down. Too expensive. Not if you pay in cake!
Sophie does not come up with that retort and instead listens to her mother’s, frankly, turd of a suggestion to give out coupons. A respectful daughter, Sophie reluctantly agrees.
Their discussion is interrupted by the sound of music coming from outside. They go outside to find Blaine busking outside of the store. Blaine stops as they come out, apologising for singing outside their shop. Mother and daughter, who obviously have too much time on their hands and do not get out much, encourage him to continue.
Blaine can carry a tune. Soon, a bit of a crowd gathers. It seems this is a town full of people who are easily distracted and pleased. Sophie goes into the store and grabs some cake samples to hand out.
It seems Blaine’s impromptu concert has brought the patrons. The bakery is buzzing. After some introductions, Sandra invites Blaine in for coffee.
Sophie, an attractive girl who somehow manages to not get hit on at all, thinks they should ask Blaine if he would play for them in the store. Sandra is sure he has his own thing going on. Sophie reasons that it does not hurt to ask.
She asks Blaine what his plans are. He spins the vaguest bollocks about using his savings and going where the road and this ‘gee – tar’ – okay he didn’t say ‘gee – tar’ but he should have – takes him.
Movie romantics that they are, mother and daughter lap up the story. Sophie, panties getting moist in the presence of such a hottie, remarks she would not mind doing the same. Very subtle.
Mind back on the job, she asks Blaine if he would play in the store. That is if he is going to be around for a few days. Sandra, more pragmatic than her hormonally challenged daughter, says they will pay. Her tone intimates that the pay would be minimal.
Blaine, not as hot as we are meant to believe, with an unsettling smile, says that he would help them out by playing for tips. And cake. He didn’t say cake, but he will get cake. And coffee.
In the evening, mother and daughter and Ange, who just hangs around for the free food, are enjoying a glass of wine and some chocolates that Sophie created. Outside, Blaine watches on with the eyes of a serial killer.
The next day, Blaine waits for Sophie to come out of the store. He walks towards her, pretending not to see her and damn near takes her out – linebacker-style – as he ‘accidentally’ crashes into her.
Apologising, Blaine asks her what she is up to. She is going to hand out flyers around town. Would she like some company? Of course, she would! No other man in town talks to her!
They walk around town and Blaine invites her to sit on a bench as he probes her for information on herself. Sophie tells him it was one of her dreams to open the bakery with her mother and that she wants to go cliff jumping.
He feints interest but nearly trips himself up when he lets on that he knows about her working at the farmer’s market, Sophie wants to know how he knows about that. Blaine tells her that her mother mentioned it. That is a good enough explanation for her.
Sophie asks what his dreams are. He already mostly, lives them, playing his music and singing his songs. He would like to settle down somewhere though.
Sophie, a woman on heat and as subtle as a branding iron, asks if he would consider settling down in a town like theirs. Blaine, thinking this must be too damn easy, says he could be persuaded.
Okay, so Sophie stands mesmerised by Blaine playing in the store, oblivious to Ange trying to get her attention. Ange is also impressed by Blaine, saying that if she was not married she would go for him.
The fact that she is married to a woman does not seem to matter. Equality right there.
Ange, who moments before had seen how entranced Sophie was by Blaine, intimates to Sandra that she should go for Blaine. With friends like her….anyhoo, Sandra points out that there is a bit of an age difference and she is happily single.
Ange, not one to give up and remarkably dense when it comes to emotional cues considering she swings both ways, asks Sophie what she thinks of Blaine.
She says her mother would frown upon her dating an older guy. Older guy? I’m not sure how old Sophie is meant to be but Blaine is at most eight years older.
Ange, reinforcing her denseness, says she means for her mother. Sophie, progressive in thought, says she is happy with whatever her mother wants.
Later, dodgy Blaine goes and finds Sophie’s identification and finds out she is a Leo star sign. Back in the store, Sandra gives him some sort of dessert as a thank you for the music.
Blaine compliments the dish and manages to weave into the conversation that he is a Leo. Sophie, as people do, remarks she too is a Leo. He is slick. He talks about how nice it is to be there and how homely it feels.
Sandra remarks how his family must be proud of him. Yes, because families are always proud of the travelling musician in the family. Blaine, a pained furrowing of the brow, tells them his family has all died.
Sandra comforts him with the fact that he has them now. Blaine offers to help with clearing up in the store. There is a lot of dishes. It is as though they do not wash anything up until the end of the day.
He offers to help with the clearing of leaves at their home. At their home the next day, Blaine takes the time to snoop around. Sophie returns home but Blaine sees her and returns to the garden.
Sophie goes and interrupts him raking leaves and gets knocked over by a startled Blaine for her troubles. She cuts her hand falling. Blaine takes her into the house and tends to her wound.
Sophie had brought him lunch. Blaine shares the food with her and makes his move. Sophie, doe-eyed over him, puts up little resistance.
She belatedly, mentions that she thought that he was into her mother. Blaine says he prefers her. Guilt absolved, Sophie succumbs to his…charms.
She wants to keep their relationship secret as she does not think her mother would understand. Blaine unsurprisingly agrees.
Later that evening, a text conversation has Sophie sending Blaine a couple of risqué – there was shoulder on show. Naked shoulder! – photographs. In the store the next day, Blaine is not exactly careful as he shows Sophie some love.
He then goes into the back office and sees Sandra making ingredient orders. She keeps the passwords under the keyboard, joking about how she cannot remember them. Blaine asks if he can use the computer. Sure.
Blaine adjusts the ingredients’ order. No idea why. He fashions another accidental meeting with Sophie, catching her as she is locking up the store.
Sandra is waiting for her at home, planning an evening of movie rewatching. Blaine persuades Sophie to hang out with him. Did not take much persuasion. He just asked her.
Blaine quotes her favourite poet, having seen the book of poems by her bed. How the heck people remember entire poetry books is beyond me. I penned a book of poetry and if someone quoted one of my own poems at me I’m not sure I would realise.
They get on to the subject of family again. This gives Blaine another chance to tug at the emotional heartstrings, telling Sophie how his family never understood him and treated him poorly.
Somewhat ominously, they all died in a fire. It was only his Cinderella-like treatment – he was made to sleep in the shed – that saved his life. Right…
The next day, Sophie is a little perturbed to find Blaine massaging her mother’s arm. She needs to speak with her mother. The ingredients order is wrong, several items are missed off. She is sure she ordered everything.
Sandra tells her she will have to sort it out. Sophie and Blaine are left alone. She confronts him about his closeness to her mother. He tells her he just wants her to like him.
That evening, Sandra returns home late. She tells Sophie that she will have to take on more responsibility. Sophie goes to visit Blaine. Blaine tricks her into giving him her phone’s passcode. The woman’s an idiot.
Blaine sings a song to Sophie, telling her he wrote it especially for her. He barely gets through the first chorus and Sophie throws herself at him. She wakes to find herself alone in his bedroom.
She sees an old book and begins flicking through it. The newspaper clipping about her and her mother opening the bakery is in the book. Blaine comes back into the bedroom and grabs the book.
He tells her that people looking through his things trigger him because his sisters used to do the same to get at him. Why has he got clippings of her? He admires them. Okay then. Later in the day, Blaine gifts Sophie a pendant. It is their three month anniversary, a little juvenile but different strokes…
Sophie wants to tell her mother about their relationship but Blaine says he wants to just keep it between them. Sandra is displeased at Sophie’s recent tardiness. The two exchange terse words. Blaine sneaks into the store’s office and begins photographing the cake recipes. He is caught by Sophie. He tells her he wanted to surprise her.
Sandra thinks Sophie is keeping something from her as she has been secretive of late. Sophie gives the most adolescent answer ever, telling her that she is an adult and needs her privacy.
The two come to an amiable accord, Sandra agreeing to treat her idiot daughter more like an adult. Sophie tells Blaine that they need to tell her mother. Blaine warns her that if they tell her mother their relationship will end.
Sophie tells him that her mother cannot stop their relationship. Blaine tells her that her mother sees him as a potential mate and shows her a photo she sent. Like mother, like daughter, there is provocative shoulder aplenty.
Blaine says he will have to leave. Sophie, emotion overriding the little intelligence she has, begs him to stay. Even just as a friend. Blaine agrees to stay around. As a friend but he will never stop loving her.
Later, Sophie is woken by her mother crashing into the house late. She has been seeing someone. Who? She does not want to say. It might jinx it.
The next day, Sophie tell her mother she wants to get together with her. Sandra tells her she is busy but they will get together the next evening. Sophie follows her mother on her evening out.
She goes to Blaine’s home. Sophie confronts them. How long have they been seen one another? A few months. She does not let on to her mother about her relationship with Blaine. She leaves them.
Blaine goes after her, gaslighting her, saying he was destroyed after their breakup and found solace in the arms of her mother. An explanation every woman longs to hear. Sandra tells Ange, a woman who is so ‘team Sandra’ that Sophie should be worrying about her safety, that Sophie saw them together. She thinks she should split up with Blaine.
Ange says not to worry about it, Sophie will come around. Sandra deserves happiness. Sandra, who still loves her daughter more than a travelling musician, goes home to talk with her daughter.
Sophie, in true telenovela style – always keeping secrets – does not tell her mother about her and Blaine.
Blaine messages Sophie and tells her to come and see him. Blaine tries to convince Sophie that he can be with both of them. Sophie says she is going to tell her mother. She will show her the messages.
Blaine tells her there are no messages. She will tell him anyway. Blaine grabs her violently and forces her to promise not to say anything. Sophie promises.
In the store, Blaine comes in with Sandra in tow, greeting a subdued Sophie. He is going to play a special song for her. The song is the same one he played to Sophie. She puts Blaine on a live stream.
After closing, Blaine proposes to Sandra. Ange, – team Sandra! Rah! Rah! Rah! – is an ordained minister and agrees to marry them. Sophie is in the back office, trying to find information about Blaine.
Blaine comes into the back office to threaten her some more. He tells her that he is marrying her mother at the weekend.
Sophie goes and finds Penny. Penny tells her that Blaine seduced both her and her sister. When she found out she told her sister but her sister just disappeared, leaving a note behind.
Apparently, her sister was her best friend. Really? Not close enough for her to realise that the note was not in her handwriting. He also stole their songs, all his supposed music being the sisters.
Sophie, smart enough to work out how to find out about Blaine but not clever enough not to confront him, gets caught by Blaine. He knocks her unconscious and stuffs her in a duffle back. Into the river with her!
He steals her mobile. Though how he plans to open it again is anyone’s guess considering he used her fingerprint the last time.
He returns to Sandra. She is worried about Sophie and sends her a message. The phone buzzes from Blaine’s pocket. He tells Sandra that it is a football score notification. She believes him. Love makes you dumb.
The next morning, Sophie has survived. Yes, she has. It is the wedding day but Sandra does not think she should get married without her daughter present. Blaine persuades her that she needs to go for what she wants. Sandra’s love addled brain agrees.
A dishevelled Sophie, flags down a car and the driver (Ryan Boyko) lets her use his phone. She calls her mother. As it is an unknown number, Sandra ignores it. Sophie asks the driver to take her home.
In her home, she sees Ange. Where is her mother? Upstairs. Sophie tells Ange that Blaine’s dangerous. Blaine appears in the kitchen. She tells Ange to run but Blaine knocks Ange out with a candlestick holder. She runs to her mother and tells her that Blaine tried to kill her. Blaine tries to convince Sandra that Sophie is crazy.
Blaine is frantic at the notion of Sandra choosing her daughter over him. He attacks Sophie. Sandra hits him with a heavy ornament, knocking him unconscious.
Sometime later, mother and daughter are in the bakery and Penny is singing her song – the one Blaine stole – for the patrons. The end.
Final thoughts: Lethal Love is so much hokum. The acting is serviceable and the performances, direction and setting are good enough for this made-for-tv-esque movie.
Written by Heather Taylor and Directed by Avi Federgreen, Lethal Love is a slightly farfetched movie, let down by a piss poor conclusion.
Like many Netflix/made-for-tv efforts, the characters are inexplicably stupid. I suppose that is half the fun of the films. The problem is when you tack on such an underwhelming climax, it brings down the entire film.
The actors work gamely with the material. Unfortunately, with an eighty-seven-minute runtime, Taylor’s script wastes time on songs and red herrings – why did he mess up the cake ingredient order? – when a more exaggerated conclusion could have elevated this film from its IMDB four-point-six to a solid six.
Lethal Love is not an unwatchable mess but it is eye-rollingly stupid in parts and I cannot recommend taking ninety minutes out of your day to watch it. Meh.