“We want real stories. Romance sells.” – Carmen, Cabin Connection
Holding up the phrases ‘real stories’ and ‘romance sells’ together in the same sentence has a certain ring of irony to it. After all, even the best romance films lean into the most fantastic (and fictional) of coincidences and circumstances. Even so, Cabin Connection manages to find a balance between fantasy and reality and uses its tropes to mine something more real.
Cabin Connection tells the story of Hannah Monroe (Katherine Barrell), a lifestyle writer and committed bachelorette who’s working on an article about the nature of love. However, when her grandmother leaves her a cabin in the woods in her will, she leaves so that she can take a look at the property. When she arrives, she discovers that the home needs some serious repair and she hires local handyman Cole (Cody Ray Thompson) to help prep the cabin for sale. But as Hannah and Cole spend more time together, the two strike up their own romantic connection that helps Hannah restore her faith in love and make her reconsider her own future.
Light-hearted and fun, Cabin Connection is a charming getaway for two hours in the cold nights of January. Though this style of film usually rises to prominence over the holiday season, Cabin Connection manages to create the same hopeful vibe without the necessity of Christmas decorations. (Still, is it weird that I missed the traditionally over-developed display of Christmas lights a little bit?) Even without the holiday cheer, Connection successfully leans into many of the same tropes that make this genre so much fun. A smart, young executive who needs to take a trip to the remote countryside? Check. A meet-cute with a handsome local? Yep.
And, most importantly, the spark of romance between them that changes their lives.
While the tropes may sound cliché, that doesn’t mean that the films aren’t enjoyable. There’s a sweetness embedded within the familiarity of this genre that keeps viewers coming back for more. Admittedly, some of these films are better than others. Thankfully, Cabin Connection works well due largely to the strength of its leads. As is always the case, the romance between Hannah and Cole remains the centerpiece of the film. In fact, he chemistry between stars Barrell and Thompson sparks as they playfully get to know one another amongst the country pines. With an innocent charm, the couple work well together onscreen and have the type of affection that feels welcoming to the viewer.
Although the characters within these films are always on the search for love, Connection does so a little differently than other entries. Instead of just ‘finding love’, Connection wants to find out what love is. With every interview, Hannah seems to discover a new aspect of what makes love lasts. From a couple married 40 years to a widower moving forward from a deep loss, every person that Hannah speaks to has their own ‘definition’ of love. Some believe in ‘love at first sight’ while others saw their affection develop over time. Some have never questioned their love for one another while other have to choose to do so every morning. There’s a wide variety of experiences that shape the lives of each couple that give
While the fairytale romance still remains the goal of the film, Hannah also begins to see that real love requires hard work. Yes, it may be easier for some than others. However, in every case, the relationships within the film require the commitment to work together in order to create something beautiful that truly lasts. While romance films make love look easy, Connection tries to remind us that it really isn’t.
(I mean, admittedly Connection also makes it look pretty easy too… but that’s beside the point.)
For fans of this style of romance, Cabin Connection offers everything that they’re looking for from the genre. However, the best part about the film isn’t the warm fireplace or the fascination with baking. Instead, what makes Connection unique is that it really seems interested in finding out what makes love work.
In this film, that’s the connection that really matters.
Cabin Connection is available to stream on Super Channel, beginning Saturday, January 15th, 2022.