On the 9th day ’til Christmas my blogger gave to me
Borrowed Hearts (1997)
This movie is one of my all-time favorite romance films. I remember every Valentine’s Day they used to show this on WE or Lifetime, even though it is a Christmas movie. I was in love with Eric McCormack, thought Roma Downey was extremely pretty, and envied the little girl’s room and toys.
So the film is about businessman Sam Field, Eric McCormack, who is trying to negotiate the biggest deal of his life. Javier Del Campo, played by the wonderful Hector Elizondo, is fully prepared to sign the papers after he spends some time with Sam and his family. The only problem is Sam doesn’t have any family. He is a confirmed bachelor and hates the idea of becoming a father or having children. His friend and spokesperson lied to Del Campo, and now Sam is stuck trying to find someone to pretend to be his family.
Enter Kathleen, Roma Downey, a single mom who works in Sam’s plant. She has been trying to save up money for a house for her and her rambunctious daughter Zooey. Zooey is a real handful as she doesn’t like to listen and has a habit of running away and climbing trees when she hears something she doesn’t like. Zooey’s dad left a while ago, because he didn’t want to deal with his responsibilities of being a father. However, Zooey is hoping and praying that he comes back. She wishes to have her dad for Christmas along with getting a house just like her dollhouse. I was very jealous of this dollhouse when I was young. I loved it and wanted it sooo badly. She prays that an angel will come down from heaven and make this happen for her and her mom.
(Sorry for all the random cat pics, it appears the internet is lacking in Borrowed Heart pics. I will try my best though)
So one day as the two are driving and looking at Christmas lights on the big mansions in town, Zooey spots one that looks exactly like her dollhouse.
Zooey yells at her mom to stop and runs into the house, claiming that it is hers because she asked the angel for it. Now this kid needs some discipline. She should not think it is okay to run into a stranger’s house.
Anyways, Sam was just discussing the problem of his “missing family” with his friend Dave. Did Dave think that the perfect people would just walk right through the door? Enter Zooey and Kathleen.
So Kathleen and Sam strike up a deal for three days of services. To Sam’s dislike Kathleen gives the house a complete make-over adding all these homey touches. She also is given a wardrobe to die for, and Zooey has a room filled with toys. You totally start coveting their stuff.
Javier Del Campo arrives on the scene and whenever he is around Zooey hears music although none is playing. This was something she was told that happens whenever an angel is around. She starts to suspect Del Campo of being more than what he seems.
Everything seems to be running just fine. They had a few glitches, but they’ve managed to pass over every one swimmingly. They do run into a problem when Del Campo asks for the story of how they met. As they both haven’t planned out a story, neither wants to say.
Everyone is saved when Zooey speaks up. She tells a cute story of an angel bringing the two together (*wink, wink foreshadowing). Afterwards everyone is off to bed but Sam and Kathleen realize that they have to share a room or raise Del Campo’s suspicions. They both sleep in Sam’s room, with Sam being sent to the closet, while Kathleen gets the bed. I always thought that was mean as Sam doesn’t even get a real blanket, instead he has to use one of his coats. 😦 This is a scenario that is played out in many films, but all stemming from the film It Happened One Night.
While Sam was originally seen cold-hearted jerk, we get to see a softer side of him as he is around Kathleen and Zooey. He starts talking to the two and building a meaningful relationship. He and Kathleen start to heat up as a Twister game brings them much closer together.
Del Campo decides to stay longer, causing the marriage to continue. While things go well not everything is perfect, as Zooey’s lack of discipline causes her to mess up Sam’s office and Sam to lose his temper. While Kathleen hates to hear any criticism, she grabs Zooey and walks out. After a heart-to-heart and two apologies, Sam is able to convince the two to return to his home.
The next day they all go ice-skating and Sam and Zooey have the cutest bonding moment. Sam is afraid he will fall, and Zooey promises that everything will be okay because she is there to catch him.
Afterwards, Zooey skates off and Sam gets hit on by a blonde bimbo. He quickly takes off his glove to show he is a “married man”, but Kathleen is comes over to talk to him and makes him feel very awkward.
We also learn more about Kathleen’s issues and how she doesn’t trust anyone after what her husband did. Although, it appears some walls seem to be breaking down.
Just as things are getting good again, the bad also rises. Kathleen’s ex comes into to town and threatens to tell Del Campo everything, unless Sam ponies up and pays him. Sam agrees to the blackmail, only if the ex promises not to contact Kathleen or Zooey until after Christmas. Kathleen also finds out that this “great deal” that Sam is trying to do, will cause a lot of employees to lose their jobs. She decides to ambush Sam with a Christmas party at work, having all the employees share how thankful they are to Sam for the job he has given them. The whole party is extremely awkward for Sam.
However the bonds between Sam and Zooey are growing even stronger. As Zooey tells Sam of her father issues, Sam begins to open up with all the issues he has with his father. He tells her of a time that the two were supposed to play catch, but Sam kept failing to get the ball because his glove was too big. The way his father treats him, just brings tears to your eyes. Sam never felt as if he measured up or was the son his father wanted. He always felt worthless.
As things with Zooey are going great, Kathleen and Sam are building a better understanding and growing closer than ever. While Kathleen and him are wrapping presents, they have a moment where they might kiss, but are interrupted by Zooey having a nightmare.
It is Christmas! And the gift giving brings many precious moments. Del Campo signs the papers as his gift, but Sam declines his signature saying he never does business at Christmas. At first Zooey is sad that her real father isn’t there, but quickly perks up as she gives Sam his gift. Zooey has given Sam a baseball glove. She borrowed one of his regular gloves to make sure it fit perfectly. This scene is so aw-worthy as Sam declares it the nicest gift he was ever given.
Sam has another aw-worthy moment when Kathleen opens her present from him. It is a set of brushes and paints. Sam got it for her after hearing her old dream of becoming an artist in Paris. Sam encourages her to not give up on the dream, but to keep trying. As the two finish talking, Del Campo makes them aware of the fact that they are under a rather large thing of mistletoe.
I found this a little odd that no one has managed to come under it until this moment? Sounds like the angel made it grow out of the ceiling. After all how many people in that house were expected to fall under it? Anyways the two share their first kiss, both enjoying it.
Zooey however, is not happy. She is still hoping for the chance that her parents will get back together. Sam realizes this and goes to get her father, bringing him to his home. The ruse falls apart, and Sam explains everything to Del Campo. Del Campo is a little miffed, but concludes that Sam already has his signature and he intends to not fight it. Sam decides to not go through with the merger, sacrificing his “big deal” for Kathleen. Kathleen’s ex-husband leaves, and Zooey becomes heartbroken at being abanded that she runs outside and climbs a tree. However, as these are not her usual trees, the branches don’t support her. They sap under her weight, and she finds herself hanging high up.
Kathleen and Sam are freaking out. Sam calls up to her and tells her to jump into his arms, that he promises to catch her. Zooey is too scared that he won’t and she’ll fall, that she continues to cling to the tree. Sam echos what she said at the skating rink, promising that he will catch her, that he won’t let her fall. Zooey lets go, and Sam catches her. He holds her and promises that everything will be ok.
The film ends with us knowing for sure Del Campo is an angel, with his wings worn “on the inside” to give the appearance of being a human. Sam, Kathleen, and Zooey are all becoming a family; everything ending happily for all!
To start the 12 Posts of Christmas from the beginning, go to On the 12th Day ’til Christmas: The 12 Men of Christmas
To go to the previous post, go to On the 10th Day ’til Christmas: Merry Christmas from the Austen Novels
For more on pretending to be married, go to Being Friends is Good Enough
For more on two who hate each other falling in love, go to I Don’t Want the Money