"The Wishing Well" is a sappy but endearing Hallmark Channel original movie that first aired in January 2010. The story centers on a big-city magazine journalist whose life is transformed when she begrudgingly ventures to a small town in Illinois to write a story about a magic wishing well. The film features fine performances from Jason London ("Dazed and Confused," "Seventh Heaven"), Jordan Ladd ("Death Proof," "Never Been Kissed") and the great Ernest Borgnine ("Marty," "The Poseidon Adventure").
As "The Wishing Well" opens, viewers meet the film's main character, Cynthia Tamerline (Ladd), a glamorous, bubbly New York City celebrity journalist who seems to be on the cusp of taking her promising career to the next level. Cynthia works for "Celeb" magazine, and could be promoted ... if only she can land an important interview. The perfectly coiffed Cynthia is happy with her job, but there is a sense that something important and meaningful is missing from her personal life.
Consummate city slicker Cynthia is not prepared for a new assignment: Her boss tells her that until she lands the aforementioned interview, she'll have to write for the more matronly "Great Housekeeping" magazine. Her first "Great Housekeeping" piece is to be a story on the small Illinois town of Slow Creek, where there is rumored to be a magic wishing well. Predictably, Cynthia does not feel at home in the close-knit community; she is itching to get back to NYC from the moment her plane touches down in Slow Creek.
As fate would have it, while searching for her hotel, a surly Cynthia runs smack into Mark Jansen (London), a friendly, handsome resident of Slow Creek. After settling in at the cozy little country inn -- run by a charming, warm old man named Big Jim (Borgnine) -- Cynthia sets out to find the well. Once there, she meets a sweet young girl named Abby (Jadin Gould), who fills Cynthia in on the well's rules. Wanting to know more, Cynthia goes down to the headquarters of the town's newspaper, where she is surprised to discover that Mark is the editor and Abby is his daughter.
Here's where the story takes a bit of a fantastic turn, as is often the case with Hallmark films. As Cynthia heads happily back to New York, she falls asleep on her flight, entering a vivid dream world. In this vision, Cynthia is suddenly living in Slow Creek. A confused Cynthia -- remembering her life back in NYC -- tries to tell the townspeople it is all a misunderstanding. Eventually, she comes to enjoy her life in Slow Creek, working at the town newspaper and developing a romantic relationship with Mark. Cynthia finally feels like her life has meaning and fulfillment.
But after celebrating the Slow Creek newspaper's rescue from bankruptcy, Cynthia wakes up on that NYC-bound airplane. She finds out she has landed her interview, and her boss is so ecstatic that she gives Cynthia a big promotion back at "Celeb." On her way to the interview, however, Cynthia begins to yearn for Slow Creek and all the people she met there. Instead of going through with her assignment, she hops a plane back to the small town, where she, Mark and Abby presumably live happily ever after. While the film may not have the most original plot you'll ever come across, there is something incredibly warm and satisfying about the ending.