How Was Pre-Duchess Meghan Markle As A Hallmark Movie Star?

Dater's Handboon Meghan Markle Cassandra Barber Hallmark Channel
Image by Liane Hentscher / 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC

Before she was royalty, Meghan Markle starred in Hallmark movies, and one of them was “Dater’s Handbook.” In it, Markle plays the eponymous “dater,” aka Cassandra/Cass. She is a professional in a relationship rut who finally realizes it is time to break-up with her dreadful boyfriend. With a little help from her mom, sister, and a self-help guide to dating, Cass readies to find Mr. Right after a plethora of Mr. Wrongs.

The premise is unique enough to feel fresh in the slice and bake works of Hallmark Channel. Plus, the script itself is not from the era of its tried and true format. “Dater’s Handbook” takes numerous turns as Meghan Markle’s lovable heroine Cass tries to settle on a soulmate. To show how far in the past this movie got released -- there are even pre-finale kisses. Yes!

I will admit that I totally watched “Dater’s Handbook” to check out the acting skills of Prince Harry’s better half, Meghan Markle. I never watched “Suits” because I avoid procedurals (for the most part) yet love Hallmark movies, so “Dater’s Handbook” seemed like the best way to see Markle in action. While I have read various takes, this viewer had their own thoughts on Markle’s acting.

She is fantastic. You cannot teach natural screen presence, and Meghan Markel has it. Throughout “Dater’s Handbook,” she has an ease with her line delivery, her ability to tear up, and the chemistry she strikes up with her co-stars is terrific. I am not just talking about her love interests either. (More on that in a sec.)

Meghan Markle has a believable daughter, sister, sister-in-law, boss-employee, you-name-it chemistry with everyone in the endearing Hallmark movie. At the same time, she creates tremendous on-screen sparks with her main love interest, Kristoffer Polaha. It is dreamy rom-com magic, and I am here for it. Or there for it?

On another note, Meghan Markle’s dog in the movie, a sweet yellow lab named Duke, uses a treadmill at one point. Do you know another dog who uses his own doggie treadmill? My puppy, Chewy! All these years, never seeing a dog on a treadmill in movies, Chewy gets one, and I spot them everywhere. Okay, one Hallmark movie, but with Markle’s involvement, I can see a trend starting.

As for “Dater’s Handbook” as a movie, like “The 12 Gifts of Christmas,” it is a special Hallmark Channel movie. I love them all. Some tend to stand out more, though, and this Meghan Markle starrer is one of them. It is easy to root for the ultimate couple. The dialogue is engaging, sharp, and funny. All told, “Dater’s Handbook” should be the guide all other Hallmark movies follow.

You can watch “Dater’s Handbook” when it re-airs on the Hallmark Channel.