Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

Borrowed Hearts (also known as Borrowed Hearts: A Holiday Romance) is a 1997 made-for-television Christmas film, directed by Ted Kotcheff and starring Roma Downey and Eric McCormack.


Sam Field is a high-powered businessman and scion of a rich industrialist family with his own factory. Though a workaholic, Sam manages to enjoy a playboy lifestyle, having one girlfriend after the other, while struggling with never having lived up to his father's expectations. One day, his spokesman and best friend Dave Hebert explains that a wealthy potential buyer of his company believes that Sam is a loyal family man. Even though he is not amused by having to pretend to be a married father, he agrees to the scheme of hiring actors to play his wife and son. After some unsuccessful rehearsals with his hired family, Sam is about to give up all hope of landing the deal, when a 7-year-old girl suddenly enters his house.

This is Zoey Russell, a well-meaning and friendly young girl who constantly gets into trouble due to her energetic impulses. One of these impulses was running into Sam's house, which, according to Zoey, resembled her doll house. Zoey's mother, Kathleen, is a single parent who struggles with combining parenthood with her job, coincidentally at Sam's factory. She had aspirations of becoming an artist, but settled for a lesser position when she married Jerry Russell, who has since left her.

Kathleen is offered a large sum of money for her and Zoey to pose as Sam's loving family. She is not impressed with Sam, but agrees to take the job because she needs to save money for a down payment on a house, but also because Zoey is fond of Sam's house. They are given a make-over by Sam's staff and are taught what to say and what not to say to the potential client, Javier Del Campo. He is scheduled to stay at Sam's mansion for a weekend, during which he becomes fond of Zoey.

When Javier announces that he will stay until the negotiations are completed, for another two weeks, Zoey is delighted, unlike Sam and Kathleen. Sam is especially frustrated, because the family act has negative influence on his work. One evening, Zoey unintentionally messes up Sam's office, which causes him to have an angry outburst. Kathleen is appalled by his behavior toward her daughter and immediately quits and leaves the house. That evening, Sam comes to Kathleen's apartment, apologizes to her and convinces her to return. The next night, the 'family' and Javier go out ice skating, during which Zoey becomes convinced that Javier is an angel. Sam, meanwhile, realizes that he is more charmed with Kathleen than with an attractive young woman who was flirting with him earlier that evening.

Just when things are going for the upper, Jerry shows up where Sam, Dave and Javier are having lunch. He demands to know what is going on, and threatens to let Javier know and scuttle their negotiations. Sam, aware of his hustler lifestyle - even though Zoey thinks that he has left home to become an astronaut - offers him money to keep their secret, with the condition that he not contact his family until after Christmas. Shortly after, Kathleen learns that the possible deal between Sam and Javier includes a sale, not a merger as she thought, meaning that production will move to Mexico and will cost most of Sam's employees (including Kathleen) their jobs. In response, she shows Sam how much his employees need their job, which puts Sam in even a more difficult position. The same evening, the bonding continues over present wrapping and they are about to kiss but are interrupted by Zoey waking up from a nightmare.

On Christmas morning, Javier signs the contract, though Sam is not willing to, claiming he doesn't do business on Christmas. Instead, he kisses Kathleen under the mistletoe, which upsets Zoey. To worsen the matter, Jerry shows up, confusing Javier. Sam explains the entire situation, and Javier responds understandably, even offering to honor the contract. Again, Sam refuses to sign it, choosing instead to save the factory employees' jobs. Jerry, meanwhile, prepares to leave, assuring Zoey that she is better off with Sam and Kathleen. Nevertheless, she is devastated and reacts by climbing up a tree to see her father leave. Sam and Kathleen follow her, and the branch Zoey is on breaks. She is hanging from a branch and is afraid she can't hang on much longer. Sam tells her that he loves her and assures her that he will catch her, which he does. At the end it is shown that Zoey accepted Sam as her new father.


Actor Character
Roma Downey Kathleen Russell
Eric McCormack Sam Field
Sarah Rosen Fruitman Zoey Russell
Héctor Elizondo Javier Del Campo
Shawn Alex Thompson Dave Hebert
Kevin Hicks Jerry Russell
Barbara Gordon Bridget

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