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Rome in Love

Grade: C-

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Peter Porte - Philip

Italia Ricci - Amelia

Never heard of them. No offense.


The story starts with Amelia returning home, where her little sister Kathryn (Kat), pounces on her with fabulous news. A famous Italian director, Dominic Dandrea, is remaking the movie Roman Holiday and she really, really wants Amelia to submit a video screen test!


Kat thinks that because Amelia has an acting degree and has performed in community theatre, she can successfully carry a lead role in a major motion picture.

Agree to disagree.

Kat nags Amelia until she agrees to test for the role because little sisters are excellent pesterers.

Go for it Amelia! You’re going to get the part, it’s in the script!

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OMG you should come with a bottle of Advil.

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Here is Amelia, unhappy but with hair pinned up and ready for her screen test.

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Side Note:  Can anyone explain why is there is a Rome in Love banner advertisement plastered across her mouth during this very important shot? This is super distracting Hallmark. Please stop.


BTW total bummer, but we never get to see her apparently awesome screen test. All we see is her saying, “Hi, I’m Amelia Tate and I am submitting for Princess Anna.” Then she takes a deep breath (photo A), gives her head a weird shake like she’s drawing a Z with her nose, and then just stares at the camera until the scene is cut (photo B). Is Princess Anna’s character catatonic in the updated version?

Photo A for "Air"

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Photo B for "Blah"

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Next, we are in a conference room of Pinnacolo Productions in Rome. Dominic Dandrea is pointing to the TV screen in front of him where we see a still shot of Amelia’s screen test.


“THAT! Do you see it? She is wise but demure. Regal but not pretentious. She is the one!”

Question: If he found “The One” shouldn’t he look happier? Cause he looks sorta pi**ed off here to me.

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Of course, Dominic is wearing a scarf with his suit, so we all know he’s Italian. Actually, I’m surprised he’s not holding a gelato in one hand and a cannoli in the other just to make sure we get it.


Now we head back to Amelia’s house where she’s making some plumbing repairs to a sink. This means her character is handy and self-sufficient. However, since she’s fixing a bar sink and not the kitchen sink, maybe it just means she’s a big drinker. Your choice.


Amelia gets the happy news from Piccalo Productions. Her reaction is to stand there mute and shocked. End scene.

Can someone please get this woman an Oscar?

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After this the screen reads; "Three Months Later…"


Side Note: Um, okay. I feel like I probably just missed a lot of pertinent story details, but whatever, let’s just move on.


Amelia arrives in Rome and is shown being driven to her hotel. I have no idea why she’s clutching her bag to her chest as if it will get stolen while she is in a moving car. This is not the self-sufficient sink fixer we were introduced to.

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We switch scenes to an office at the Italian magazine company, Vistoso. Here’s the Boss Lady in the photo below. Although she looks grandmother-y nice here, she’ll rip your head off if she thinks you will scoop her story.

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Philip, our male lead, is sitting across from Boss Lady waiting for her to finish reading the travel article he is trying to sell. Dude looks hella bored.

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Boss Lady finishes his article and tells him that all the “descriptions” and “details” are fabulous!


Wow - thanks for the massive generalizations. Apparently both our leads are “gifted artists” whose work we will never ever see.


She offers him one hundred euros (about 110 dollars) for the article. Philip is unhappy.

He stutters, “But I spent more money on the food!” Then he tells her money is a little tight right now which is a weird thing to say at a business meeting.


Philip asks Boss Lady for a real assignment, so she stares at him with pursed lips for a moment which scared me a little. I can’t tell whether she’s deciding to help him or eat him.


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“I’ll take anything,” he begs. Philip is NOT self-sufficient. He’s probably never fixed a sink in his life.

“This face does not do plumbing.”

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Boss Lady decides to help him out and tells him about the Roman Holiday movie remake. She offers him the cover story if he can find out who the mysterious new female lead is and snag her first interview. She says they need this story badly since Vistoso is losing readers to their competition, Celebrita Magazine.


So basically, she just took him from hundred euro paydays to writing cover stories and what is his response to this astounding offer?


He stammers out “I really wouldn’t even know where to start with something like that,” and looks like he might make tinkle.

“I good words, no good talk-talk.”

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Side Note: Okay if I’m being honest, so far Philip does not thrill me. Instead, he strikes me as bored, slightly desperate, and hapless. On the positive side I’ve been told he can write, but at this point my Hunk-O-Meter stands at Loser – 3, Mr. Right – 1(for presumed writing ability).


Boss Lady hand holds him to get him started, “You already have a lead Philip! All of Dominic’s stars stay at the Hassler Hotel, and isn’t that where your bartending these days?”


Oddly, Philip cannot answer this simple question, “Well, I’m actually a porter there, or a waiter when they are short staffed or sometimes I…”

Get it together Philip! She doesn’t care!

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Popping back to Amelia, we watch as she enters the Hassler Hotel, and judging from her death grip on her purse, evidently she thinks she will be robbed in here as well.      

Why is that guy staring at my satchel like that! Oh, it's just the Concierge.

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She meets Sophia Lombardi, Associate Producer on the movie.

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Meanwhile Philip is asking his buddies at the hotel to look out for the Director Dominic Dandrea.

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Amelia and Philip finally meet when she locks herself out of her hotel room with the tub running, and I just want to be clear that this is not a “meet cute.” Not when Prince Charming ends up mopping a bathroom floor because Cinderella is a dumba**.

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Next, we find out Philip lives in a giant ballin’ apartment in Rome even though he works a menial job in a hotel. Thanks for the fairy tale Hallmark – that’s why I love ya!

Philip gets home, walks thru his piazza…

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Says hi to his cat…

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walks thru his first library…

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...and puts his feet up in his second library.

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Here he is “working on his novel” ...or maybe just his cat is.

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His Landlady walks right on in with cookies. Knocking is optional apparently.

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Philip complains to her, “I’m hopelessly blocked. I haven’t made any real progress on my novel in months. I am starting to consider that it might be time to pack up and go home.”


Side Note: What home? Can a struggling writer/porter afford a home? Can he even afford to fly back? Will he be moving back in with his parents? Sigh... oh forget it, I'll just pretend he is a software engineer back in the States so this can all make sense. 

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OMG now we are back at the hotel and we get to watch Amelia struggle to plug in her hair dryer. This is the kind of scene that makes me hyper aware of the finite number of minutes left in my life. Newsflash scriptwriters - travel converter plotlines are boring

Oh dear! I doesn’t fit!

Whatever shall I do?

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Oh, happy day! Can you plug

it in for me? I'm scared.

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Philip arrives at the restaurant in his power suit and introduces himself to Dominic. Then he jumps right into his pitch for snagging the first interview with Amelia only to find out that Boss Lady has already spoken with Dominic and Vistoso is getting the exclusive. Wow, Boss Lady really had absolutely no confidence in him whatsoever.

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Later we are in Amelia’s hotel room where Director Dominic and Producer Sophia have come over to evidently scare the crap out of her.

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While Amelia is getting harassed upstairs by her bosses, Philip is waiting for her in the hotel lobby to start their interview.

Just then, Vincent, a competing journalist from Celebrita Magazine, spots Philip and comes over. Uh oh! His assignment is to find and interview Dominic’s new leading lady too!

“Hey, hey Philip…watcha doin’ here?”

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Vincent asks Philip if he is at the hotel on assignment and Philip denies it. (Lie #1)

Then, to get rid of Vincent, Philip tells him that he just saw Dominic leave with an unidentified woman and that they were headed to a restaurant across the city. (Lie #2)

Vincent thanks Philip and leaves to go waste huge amounts of gas and time.


Since Philip lied twice, (a very uncool trait in your male romantic lead), I am adjusting our Hunk-O-Meter to Loser – 5, Mr. Right – 1.


After this Amelia comes down and they start the interview. She tells him she is from Bend, Oregon, but then clams up when he starts asking about her parents. Since neither Philip or the viewer knows at this point what happened to her parents, this behavior just seems odd. Were they convicted felons?


“I see…” he says after she evades his question, and then he puts his notepad away, (huh? Is his whole article nixed if he can’t discuss her parents?).


Amelia then asks Philip a question, “I noticed that when you were working as a porter at the hotel, you pretended not to speak English around some American guests – why?”


“Well,” he replies, “I collect stories, and you’d be amazed what people will say around you if they think that you can’t understand them.”


Side Note: Eavesdropping and, my Philip's resume just gets better and better. New score: Loser – 6, Mr. Right – 1. 

And to make matters worse I am not reading any attraction between the two leads at all…

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More proof...

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Later… after a lot of blah, blah, blah, Philip asks, “You were in college for three years right?”

Amelia looks concerned by the question and replies “That sounds about right,” then walks pointedly away from him.

Philip looks annoyed.


He runs after her, “If you don’t want to do the interview you should just say so! You haven’t given me a straight answer on anything besides the roles that you played on stage! Stop being so evasive!"

Amelia goes on the defensive, “I don’t think that’s true!” and it all kind of collapses from there.

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Finally, to get the interview done, Philip tries another approach, “Okay how about this…you promise to be candid and honest with me...I’ll write the story, and before I turn it in I’ll let you read it.”


Amelia agrees to this plan - even though all of us professional Hallmarkers know with 100% certainty that his story will obviously be submitted early by someone else without his knowledge or her approval, leading to the mild-to-moderate-misunderstanding which is the Hallmark of all Hallmarks.


What must be must be.

Amelia suddenly remembers she has a Vespa lesson and for unclear reasons Philip accompanies her. Furthermore, he gets roped into riding with her.

Then, in a complete and utter departure from her buttoned up, over-anxious character to this point, she suddenly decides to escape from her lesson and drive the Vespa through an unfamiliar city without any understanding of Italian street signs or rules of the road. Incidentally, she also drives away from Producer Sophia who is holding her purse, so hopefully she will not need any cash or ID.

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This could have ended up being a cute escaping/getting to know you scene, but it actually went nowhere. After they drive away the movie cuts immediately to them pulling back up in front of the hotel that evening. So what was the point?


Philip does a “giggo search” (???) on her and finds out her parents are dead. Oh dear, what will he do with this very sensitive information?

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Now we are at Piccolo studios and Philip arrives. He meets Dominic and then they both turn to watch Amelia come down the stairs. Philip looks like he can’t breathe when he sees her which I don’t understand since she is wearing one of the ugliest princess dresses ever. Where are Flora, Fauna and Merriweather when you need them?

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During their next interview Philip tells Amelia that he found out about her parents (who are both deceased and NOT convicted felons), so she comes clean and tells him she left school to raise her thirteen-year-old sister alone after their deaths.

“I’m not sure how much of that I want in the story, if that’s okay,” she tells him.

“We don’t have to decide today,” he sidesteps.


I hate Philip.


They end up going to dinner at her hotel butler’s house after which he walks her back to the hotel and they awkwardly say goodnight. As Philip turns around to go, he stops in his tracks and gets this goofy look on his face…

Did inspiration strike or did he just remember he has leftover lasagna at home? No idea.

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Next, we see him furiously typing at his computer and drinking espresso. In the morning, we see him yelling out from the balcony of his castle at his landlady. “Buongiorno signora! I’m a writer! I have written!”

Tell all the peasants I did it!

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Side Note: First of all, way to conjugate Philip. Also, words on paper don’t necessarily mean something is actually good. Take it from me…I write crap all the time.


“I’m very proud of you!” his landlady yells up to him. “What brought on the change?”

“I don’t know, but I had a really good day!”


Side Note: He doesn’t know? He doesn’t know? Nothing about Amelia inspires him at all yet? Excuse me, but I’ve put some serious time into this movie, and we should have at least had some smoldering looks by now. Chip chop writers.


The next day Philip stops by Amelia’s dance lesson dressed to the nines. He tells her, “I was just on my way to work the lunch shift and I thought I would stop by to say “hi” and bring you these daffodils.”

Although this seems like a great romantic gesture on his part, (and should have been), it is not. Philip is just riding the high of having written words and he got her the daffodils because they represent “new beginnings.” At this point I feel like these two are co-workers.

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Next on her busy itinerary: Amanda meets Director Dominic at a restaurant. He makes a negative comment about the importance of her role in the film which causes Amelia to pout for the next 10 minutes of the movie.

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Back at Philip's apartment, Vivian calls him. She wants his notes ASAP. He tells her, “I’m still sorting out what I can include and what I can’t.”

“What do you mean what you can’t include? Philip you’re not giving Amelia approval, are you? Because if you were, I would fire you!”

“Of course not!” he says.


Side Note: Ugh, another lie. Except for ostensibly being a good writer, I cannot dredge up a single redeeming quality for Philip's character. To make matters worse, he’s a cat person and I’m allergic so he already started out in a hole as far as I’m concerned. Stop lying to everyone Philip!


The next day Amelia runs into him on her way out of Piccolo studios. He invites her to watch the original Roman Holiday film with him at his place. He says he will feed her as well.


Oddly, we then watch as he gets his Landlady to make the dinner for their "date". So is he feeding Amelia, or is Landlady feeding her?


Stop lying Philip!


Even more oddly, ALL THREE of them sit down to dinner together which kind of kills any chance at romance.


Lastly, I was frankly stupefied when his Landlady then stays to watch the movie with them and actually sits between the two of them. Now while I get that including old people in an activity can be cute, this takes third wheel to a whole new level. Seriously, who wrote this?

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They discuss the movie and Philip is not happy that Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck don’t end up together.

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Amelia learns about the novel he is working on and asks to read it which I thought was pretty ballsy of her. Surprisingly though, he acquiesces and gives her his first 73 pages. It is called Rome In Love…what a co-in-key-dink!

Here she is reading his book and she looks pretty intense for a story called Rome in Love. This is obviously not a relaxing Hallmark script. I’m guessing two people fall in love during a zombie apocalypse.

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Oh dear! The reporter from Celebritia magazine bribed the driver who brought in Amelia! Now he knows who she is! All he has to do is giggle-li-glio search her, (or whatever), and simply everyone will know her parents are dead! (yawn)


Philip then makes the unwise move of contacting Kat (Amelia's little sister) behind Amelia’s back via a social media website called “Peeplook.”

Maybe not the best name for a family friendly social media website.

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Meanwhile, Amelia finishes reading Philip’s pages and then decides to read them aloud to her hotel butler.


Quick question: Since her butler is technically on the clock, is he allowed to refuse? I only ask because it looks like he fell asleep during her reading.


Pick it up Amelia! You’re an actress so stop boring your audience!

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Back to Philip interviewing Cat where, unfortunately, he spills the beans that her big sister had to forgo an opportunity to attend acting school in London to raise her.


Gee, I guess the therapy bills are on him.

Don’t worry Philip. I’m sure your revelation of Amelia’s tightly held secret will have no repercussions whatsoever.

Also, why are you holding the phone so weird? 

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Back to Amelia at a photo shoot. Since she is still pouting about Dominic’s negative comments at the restaurant, here's the best smile she can manage. Apparently, Amelia has the professionalism of a small child.

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Having second thoughts you two?

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Back to Philip: After reading his article, Vivian calls Philip bubbling with excitement. “You have crafted a heroine’s piece! Giving up everything for her sister and serving coffee just to make ends meet!”


BTW they weirdly have him answering this business call from his bed which makes him look like he is super lazy and unprofessional, (not that we needed reminding).

"Thanks Viv - hey can I call you in 10? I gotta go take a leak.

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After the call he turns to his cat and says, “Don’t look at me like that. I’m going to show it to Amelia tonight. She’s going to read it, she’s going to like it, and she’s going to sign off on the whole thing.”


Side Note: We, like his cat, know otherwise.


He picks up Amelia later saying he thinks it would be good to get out of the city for a while. Really, he just wants her to read his article and give him her blessing, but as we all know by this point – this dude is never straightforward about anything.


First things first though, he asks her what she thought of his book. She tells him it is amazing and blah, blah, blah…frankly, I lost interest.


Then he asks her if they can discuss the article, but she puts him off. “Can we wait until we get back to the city? It’s so nice to be checked out for a minute.”

Meanwhile back in Rome, the icky reporter from Celebrita Magazine walks up to Vivian and tells her he has the scoop on the new actress in Roman Holiday and that he is running the article in one hour.

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Obviously it makes zero sense why this guy would inform the competition of his intentions to pre-scoop her scoop. He even gives her a time limit so she can de-scoop his pre-scoop of her scoop.

As a result, Vivian publishes Philip’s article right away.

What a complete and utter surprise!


JK – I’m seriously bored.


Amelia and Philip continue their day away from the city, complete with a remote restaurant location where neither of them gets cell service. Oh dear, now they can’t find out about the online article being published early! How convenient…for the scriptwriters.

“I love that we color coordinated our outfits!"

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Philip is saying, “Listen Amelia, when you read the article…” and she buts in, “Please! We have the whole ride back to the city for that!”


Side Note: OMG this chick B crazy. I would bet cash money that her overreactions to his article are bordering on a medical diagnosis, (however since I am a dentist and not a therapist, I wouldn’t bet that much money).


"Look, can we just not talk about the article, or the movie, or how attractive you find me, or how many kids we want and what we'll name them? 

I just want to have a nice meal."

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They arrive back at the hotel, and finally she agrees to go over the article. Of course, poor Phil had to put in an entire day of schlepping her around before she would do it, but whatever. Good thing he likes her, (or is going to like her? I can’t tell yet).


They notice a lot of reporters around the hotel entrance but assume that the other more famous star of Roman Holiday, Johnathan Linnman, has arrived.



When Amelia walks in she is overwhelmed with paparazzi and questions.

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She makes her way through the crowd of reporters into the hotel and promptly loses her mind. The Hotel Butler and Philip try and calm her down.

Butler says to Philip, “Your article caused quite a stir, next time a little warning would be nice. We have protocols here at the hotel.”

Side Note: Huh? Since when do newspapers tell hotels about the stories they are going to run? I’m calling bullsh*t on this one.

As you can probably imagine, Amelia is super pi**ed at Philip. “You ran the story? You said I could read it first! I feel so betrayed!

“They knew I had a sister! They knew my parents died!

I gotta get outta here! Where’s my fake baby?


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Philip sadly goes back to his castle and his Landlady comforts him. “Philip that the article was wonderful!”

“Thank you, but I betrayed her trust.”

She smiles at him, “I saw the looks and the gestures between the two of you at dinner. She will forgive you.”


Side Note: What looks? What gestures? There were no looks or gestures! Now I feel betrayed.


Kat shows up in Rome! Surprise Amelia, you’re about to get one hefty credit card bill.


Amelia’s big press conference is about to start, but oh my!  Kat locks Amelia in the bathroom and makes her read Philip’s article before she talks to the media. (And thank goodness she does because Amelia would have looked like a complete dumba** in the interview if she hadn’t read her own article yet).


Philip stands up during the panel Q&A and asks whether they had ever considered changing the ending of the movie and letting the couple stay together.

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Amelia answers his question, “The story that we are telling is about two people who meet in extraordinary circumstances and who feel the spark of something wonderful, but ultimately it’s not meant to be.”

Side Note: Nice try Philip, but you're in Rome In Love not Notting Hill, so standing up at a press conference that you weren't invited to is not going to solve all your problems.


After everyone else leaves, Amelia comes over to him and asks, “So you’re the writer, how would you change the ending?”


“Well,” Philip replies, “since the journalist character made promises he couldn’t keep, he should probably begin with an apology.”


Then he tells her she is remarkable for all the sacrifices she has made and that she is brave, and stunning, and funny, and kind and magnificent.


Side Note: BTW when you just list out super generic compliments like this to someone it takes away a lot of their oomph. Also, I kinda feel like he used a thesaurus and this really kills the moment.

“…and you're valiant, and droll, and noteworthy, and so humane…”

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Amelia tells him he wrote a beautiful article about her. Then she says, “Philip, this feels like a once in a lifetime chance. I don’t really know what I am doing but…”


“Amelia,” Philip responds, “you’re going to be amazing in this movie.”

“I’m not talking about the movie,” she replies, and then she kisses him.


Apparently, she doesn't care that he's a semi-honest kind of guy or that he spilled her personal secrets to her little sister.


"Inadequate" must be the new sexy.


"Oh Amelia! (kiss kiss) 

I love you so much! (kiss kiss) 

Can I borrow 10 euros for the bus?"

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  • Her hotel room

  • The actual Roman Holiday movie

  • The location



  • Her

  • Him

  • Her and him

  • His cat (I’m allergic)



The End



Credits: All photos, unless otherwise indicated, have come from the Hallmark Movie “Rome in Love” which can be viewed on the Hallmark Channel

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