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Amish Affair is a Lifetime Original title that stars Ryan McPartlin and Mackenzie Cardwell as its two leads engaging in the titular affair. Although its story and characters are ultimately fiction, the film was inspired by actual events that took place in 2009, when Amish philanderer Eli Weaver murdered his wife so he could be with his mistress. This film is Lifetime’s latest take on the subject of salacious Amish crime drama.

The Gist: A young Amish woman named Hannah (Mackenzie Cardwell) leaves her community to get a fresh start after all but being excommunicated following the death of an Elder cancer patient in her care. She is taken into a new Amish community under the wing of one of the local leaders, Aaron Stutzman (Ryan McPartlin), who hires Hannah to care for his ailing wife, Sarah (Dana Stoutenburg), as well as to tend to his home and two young daughters.

However, it soon becomes clear that Aaron is desperate to have a son and will do anything to make that a reality, even if it means replacing his own wife with Hannah and claiming that it was God’s will. Caught between the alluring magnetism of this pillar of her new community and her own desire to get a fresh start free of scandal, Hannah is torn between rejecting Aaron’s advances and giving into them despite the immorality of it all. But even when Hannah tries to move on with a kind, appropriate match for her named Jacob (Sebastian Greaves), Aaron refuses to let her go as he endeavors to secure Hannah as his next wife and mother of his children, no matter what it takes… even if it’s murder.

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: The whole “Amish man who has a mistress and is planning to kill his wife so he can be with her” (you know, that classic beloved trope) plot is reminiscent of 2023 Lifetime true crime drama, Amish Stud: The Eli Weaver Story.

Performance Worth Watching: Sebastian Greaves is an unsung hero as Jacob due to his full commitment to this performance, especially when he busted out some Dance Dance Revolution moves in the middle of broad daylight outside to utter silence. That was genuinely the most memorable of the movie for me, so how can I not give Greaves some extra points for that?

Memorable Dialogue: Between Hannah and Aaron:

“Aaron, what sort of future do we have together? I want a family of my own someday and you can’t give that to me.”

“No, no I can’t… not while Sarah is still with us.”

Well that certainly wasn’t an ominous thing to say, Aaron. Ah well, surely that will be the end of it and he won’t take any drastic, potentially murderous action! … Right?

Sex and Skin: Sex is definitely implied but you don’t see anything above brief PG-13 shenanigans.

AMISH AFFAIR LIFETIME
Photo: Lifetime

Our Take: To tell you the truth, I don’t really know that Amish Affair is trying to say. There are so many moments about Amish society and the characters living both in and outside of it, that it’s hard to tell the point of view or ultimate takeaway. Is Hannah really a hero and is her ending one that the audience feels is earned? Everyone will probably (I would hope) walk away disliking Aaron, it’s clear at least that he’s the villain.

But Hannah is compelling and perplexing in her shades of gray to the point where I didn’t know how to feel about her and wished that she had some more character development. On one hand, I felt bad for her as she was seduced and manipulated by an older, powerful member of her community in Aaron, who also had total control of her livelihood in their community. On the other hand, it was hard to root for her when she sometimes seemed complicit in their illicit affair, and when she did things like give a 16-year-old her fake ID to buy some alcohol (seriously, girl, what were you thinking). I just wanted so badly for her to not give into Aaron, but I do understand the tough position he put her in, and the too-slick moves he pulled out to get her into his clutches.

Never in my life have I seen butter churning used as a seduction technique until now. It was certainly memorable, though definitely uncomfortable. Moments like that and Jacob’s Dance Dance Revolution demonstration and a sort of weird fixation on ice cream (Hannah’s “guilty pleasure” that pops up just often enough you have to wonder if this movie was sponsored by a vanilla ice cream company) make you wonder if the point of this movie is to poke fun at the Amish.

Some moments there seemed to be an effort to actually show that Amish people are misunderstood by the rest of society, but those were few and far between, drowned out by the aforementioned goofier moments or depictions of harsh shunnings and judgmental communities. As a result, Amish Affair was comes across as more amusing and cringey than thought-provoking or impactful.

Our Call: Perhaps you should make the Amish proud by forgoing electricity when this one airs and SKIP IT!

Stream Amish Affair on Lifetime

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