Reel Love

Movie review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Reel Love Movie Poster Image
Charm, romance, and strong vocab in Southern love story.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The film underscores the importance of family and community.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The relationship between Holly and Wade is complicated, but both love each other very much. Traits like honor, honesty, and patriotism are important to many people in the community.


An argument leads to someone getting punched. The death of a parent is briefly discussed, but no details are offered. Contains references to soldiers deploying to the Iraq War.


Direct references to fooling around, sex, virginity, marital affairs, and breast augmentation.


Words like "hell," "damn," "crap," "ass," and "bitch" are audible.


Cars like Mercedes-Benz and GMC trucks are visible; the Coleman logo is also prominently displayed. Food brands like Quaker, Tropicana, and Pepsi are visible in one scene.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer, wine, and cocktail drinking is visible; characters are sometimes shown drunk. DUIs are discussed; one cast member's drinking leads to marital problems.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie features some positive messages about family, home, and reconnecting with one's roots. It also contains lots of salty vocab ("hell," "damn," "bitch," "ass"), and some mildly risqué humor about sex, marital infidelity, and breast augmentation. Arguing is minimal, but one disagreement leads to someone being punched. Drinking (beer, cocktails) is frequent and drunken behavior is visible. A Mercedes-Benz and GMC truck is frequently visible, as are logos for Coleman and other products.

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What's the story?

The television movie REEL LOVE stars LeAnn Rimes as Holly Whitman, a young Chicago lawyer who rushes back to her small Alabama lake town after her father Wade (Burt Reynolds) has a heart attack. While she tries to convince him to take a break from bass fishing and take care of himself, much to the frustration of brother Everett (Christian Potenza), she begins to reconnect with her complicated dad and her small town Southern roots. Hanging out with old friends like Mary Jo (Mary Ashton) plus her feelings for Jay Danville (Shawn Roberts), the new handsome guy in town, also has her rethinking her big city lifestyle, much to the dismay of her stuffy boyfriend, Carl Linford (Jeff Roop).

Is it any good?

The story isn't particularly original, but thanks to the performances of both Rimes and Reynolds, it contains enough witty lines to make it entertaining. It also offers lots of heartwarming messages about reconnecting with family, while underscoring the value of community. The romantic plot line that develops also adds to the fun.

It's charming, but some of the content isn't appropriate (or intended) for younger viewers. No doubt that teens and adults fishing for a positive viewing choice may find something to hook onto here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the South. What are some of the ways that the media depicts this area of the United States? Do you think these depictions are fair? What are some of the stereotypes that are reflected in these representations? Do you think this movie uses stereotypes to tell its story?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

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