'Taking the Reins' Review: Hallmark movie successfully gets you warm and fuzzy

A story of love and family, 'Taking the Reins' follows a journey of rediscovery and passion on the riding course

                            'Taking the Reins' Review: Hallmark movie successfully gets you warm and fuzzy
A still from 'Taking the Reins' (Hallmark Channel /Twitter)

It's the season of sweaters and warm drinks when the air is magical and the mood is cozy. What's the best thing to do? Of course, it's to turn in with a warm blanket and get your rom-com on! Hallmark is famous and loved for its Fall Harvest schedule where the channel churns out some of the most heartfelt movies you'll watch. 'Taking the Reins' is no such exception.

'Taking the Reins' follows the story of Samantha Barclay, a writer in New York who's looking for her next article. Feeling a bit lost after being told that she writes well but her words are not from the heart, Samantha embarks on a journey of rediscovering herself. The story gets interesting after she runs into her ex-husband Luke. The film promises to be sweet and warm as we see Samantha walk a new but familiar path with old friends, family, and love on her side.


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'Taking the Reins' is a story of one's self-discovery and the film will keep you rooting for that happy ending you know is coming. If you liked this movie you are most likely to love these as well, so consider checking out 'Taking a Shot at Love', 'Snowkissed', ' It Was Always You' and 'When The Heart Calls'

Spoilers for 'Taking the Reins'

'Taking the Reins' does a nice job of conveying the message that it is never too late and that you should absolutely go and seize the day. The movie begins when we see Samantha Barclay(Nikki DeLoach) a writer for a magazine in New York, finding herself lost with no direction about her next story. She's confused when news about her family hosting the biggest horse riding competition jogs her memory of her love of horses. Being a former rider herself, she decides to translate that love onto her next article.

Her article takes her back home and who should she run into but her ex-husband! Talk about bad timing! Awkwardness is in the air and well, things are about to get a bit sticky that's for sure. The movie has a familiar premise but with the number of rom-coms out there, it's hard to criticize the writers. Samantha's return to her hometown stirs up old feelings and unfinished business as we see her and her ex getting re-acquainted after their divorce. From here we see the story proceed.

Scott Porter in a still from 'Taking the Reins' (Hallmark)


Here on writing duty, Samantha due to unforeseen circumstances is forced to compete in the championship in her father's place, who injures himself. Having to now work with your ex who's also your new trainer comes with its own set of challenges. The movie sees plenty of relatable moments of having unresolved feelings resurfacing at wrong times, making you question the past. We see Luke, Samantha's ex-husband still having feelings for her.

There are many touching moments where we see how Samantha lost touch with herself and her love for riding. The family plays a huge part in her reigniting her love for the sport. DeLoach as Samantha is charming as the lost writer in search of answers to her life while Scott Porter depicting Luke is seen as a caring and sensitive partner. The movie is nostalgic and touching as we see the ex-lovers reconnect and work out their issues. More importantly, it focuses on the importance of dialogue in a relationship as sometimes just love is not enough. We can predict what's coming next in the movie but we don't mind. After all, we're here for the warm and fuzzies, not the story as we see them get the happy ending they deserve.

Nikki DeLoach in a still from 'Taking the Reins'(Hallmark)


'Taking the Reins' is a fairly decent watch you can invest in any time of the week, be it after a tiring day or just when you're in the mood to kill time. A tried and tested recipe, the movie delivers notes of love, friendship, reconnection, and family in a positive and realistic light. Discord and interruption are part and parcel of life and are shown subtly in the film. The courage to start again and get back on after falling down is a key message the film delivers. It is a love story with more than just love to it.

Performances to watch

Nikki DeLoach as Samantha shines with her genuine portrayal of the character. With her charming smiles and looks of subtle longing, she displays a wide array of emotions in the movie. From being astray to finding her way, Samantha's character is made likable by Deloach as we see ourselves wanting her to get a happy ending sooner rather than later. Scott Porter delivers a good performance as the sweet and patient Luke as well.

Who will enjoy the film

With a story you already know, you may find yourself struggling a bit to pay attention to the movie. A simple, sweet film anybody could tune into it as a casual watch. As for lovers of romance, you won't be disappointed as it's a good mix of the elements you look for in a sappy movie. 'Taking the Reins' makes for a decent watch as a no-fuss movie.

'Taking the Reins' is now out on Hallmark Channel.

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