In the mid-nineties I was not some seven year old looking for a home just like my dollhouse...but I was just as lost a little girl looking for a family. I gravitated toward programming like Days of our Lives, where families were at the center and people actually fought for each other and not just with each other, but also Touched by an Angel, where I saw a world in which people tried their hardest to be good and just. So when I saw Roma Downey pop up in an ad for a Christmas movie with the similar themes, I of course had to tune in.
Borrowed Hearts aired on CBS in 1997, following a factory worker (Downey) who is raising a young daughter on her own after her husband walked out on her to follow a seemingly impossible sports dream. Her boss, played by a long-haired (presumably to evoke the personality of a lothario) Eric McCormack, needs to rent a family for Christmas to impress another big businessman (Hector Elizondo). Downey and her daughter arrive on his doorstep quite literally at the right place at the right time and get hired for the roles, but very quickly it appears that the line between acting and reality begins to blur.
In true nineties-fashion, Borrowed Hearts utilizes the big television stars of its day and also features a mysterious character that might have his own touch of angel in him. It is reminiscent of The Miracle on 34th Street, but it is not a complete re-imagining; it simply utilizes the same themes. Unfortunately, though, it is also the kind of movie that is sadly dated due to style and execution in addition to hair and wardrobe, and it is not one that can be found often and easily these days. Though ABC Family Channel did re-air it just a year or so ago, the home video and DVD releases are now both sadly out of print.
For those who are in the L.A. area and interested, though, I encourage you all to pay the "My Life, Made Possible By Pop Culture" home office a visit for a viewing. If you're not in the Christmas spirit yet-- with only two weeks to go-- this movie is guaranteed to get you into it!