Is Hallmark Growing Up?
This one had an interesting dynamic and not in the usual Hallmark playbook of magic Santas, country good/city bad, save the town/store/festival, and countless others too many to mention.
A mother finds herself at her ex-husband’s girlfriend’s estate at Christmas locked in a competition with the girlfriend for her two daughters’ attention . I’ll let that sink in. The slightly estranged brother of the girlfriend shows up uninvited and Mom and brother are attracted to each other. The mother and ex-husband are on good terms. The girlfriend, who invited Mom when she found out that Mom had never been away from her kids at Christmas, is not evil. She is really nice and loves the kids and the ex-husband.
So where’s the conflict and drama? That’s the thing. There wasn’t much. They are all just so nice. The girlfriend, anxious to please and trying too hard, overschedules the kids leaving no time for Mom and her daughters’ own Christmas traditions. Mom starts feeling like a third wheel at the Kate, Jeff, and Daughters’ Show. The brother feeds in to her insecurity and starts wresting the girls attention away from Kate and towards Mom with a variety of activities that aren’t on Kate’s itinerary. Now Kate’s feelings are hurt. But he means well (really). He has a complicated relationship with his sister.
The big crisis is when the oldest daughter runs away when Dad proposes to the girlfriend at dinner without warning. Bad move, Dude. Mom to the rescue, straight out of a romantic hot tub event with the brother. But ex-husband takes ownership of his thoughtless faux pas, girlfriend Kate smooths things over, and all is well.
There is a lot more going on, of course, involving a possible career move by the brother and family complications.
It was well acted by all, although I thought the ex-husband was a bit miscast. The klutzy Mom (spoiler alert) even manages NOT to break the stepmother’s hand blown Venetian ornament. Yes, there is a stepmother. But she’s nice too! There was some good physical comedy involving the Mom’s klutziness. And good for Hallmark for not basing a Christmas romance on silliness and shenanigans, but the authentic emotion and complicated feelings involved in the formation of new family ties and big change.
July 11, 2021