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The Hired Heart (1997)

Character Name: Bryan

Small-town, country doctor Garnet Hadley (Penelope Ann Miller) has been a widow for two years but is still in love with her dead husband, Michael. Despite the best efforts of her father-in-law Mike Hadley (Barry Corbin) to marry her off to the local eligible bachelors, she still remains unwilling to allow anyone into her heart.

However, the annual week-long county fair is approaching and her father-in-law traps her into an unfair deal involving the feeding of her bull (the same bull that killed her husband) and her attendance at the fair with a suitable escort. She decides to call his bluff by hiring a male escort (Brett Cullen) to attend the fair as her lover. However, things don’t go according to plan…her father-in-law is not buying the masquerade and Bryan (the escort) begins to fall in love with her.

Bryan slowly wins her over with his patience and perseverance and Garnet begins to believe she can love again. But Bryan is keeping a secret from her. Things come to a head at the Bison Hall dance, the highlight of the fair, when Bryan’s girlfriend (Allison Hossack) arrives in town. Bryan then forces Garnet into making a choice between him and her dead husband, whom he has been struggling to live up to in her eyes. It is not an easy choice for Garnet, who is torn between remaining true to the love of her life and accepting a new man into her heart.

Brett Cullen waltzes through this 2-hour movie with a natural ease and gets to stretch his comedic talents in the role of good-natured Bryan. Funny and charming, he plays his character with a nice balance of vulnerability and cockiness. “The Hired Heart” is a fun, romantic show — just what the good country doctor ordered — and Brett Cullen is the right prescription.