Christmas in My Heart

Points for Allowing Ethnic Diversity to be Diverse

I appreciate Hallmark’s efforts to incorporate more diversity into their love stories. But so far they have not tailored the script to even acknowledge the difference in ethnicity or the unique challenges that an interracial relationship might entail. The black (or other) person of color might just as well be played by a white actor. It’s been giving a new meaning to “color-blind.” They don’t in this one either. But they do touch on the complications that a white father might have raising a black daughter. The black mother of his late wife has a talk with her granddaughter while discussing her hairstyle options for a special concert. The young girl, beautifully played by Maria Nash, states that she thinks it would look more “professional” slicked back. The grandmother (Sheryl Lee Ralph), a little taken aback, then takes the opportunity to encourage her to be proud of her heritage and her different hair and to be herself. But also, whatever she chooses, she will look beautiful. In another scene, the young daughter confides in her black mentor and her father’s love interest that she almost quit playing the violin because she didn’t see any other violin players that “looked like me.” Also, the father, Luke McFarlane, a favorite of mine, is overprotective of his daughter. He is a big country star on a hiatus due to the death of his wife, and although not stated, it is implied that he fears some friction or hostility from social media and the tabloids because of his black daughter. I was curious, and I checked the writers of this. And sure enough, one of the trio of women writers is black.

The love interest, also the product of an interracial marriage, is played with warmth and dignity by Heather Hemmens. I like the way she handled Luke rudely telling her to back off when he finds out his daughter has been confiding in her about the loss of her mother. It was well played. I won’t critique the plot. There was a lot going on with Luke and Heather’s career prospects and their different tastes in music, as well as their attraction to each other. Luke, who is usually in more comedic roles, is very effective in this more dramatic plot. However, I could do without his singing next time. Luke, I love you, and I suspect it was that god-awful song rather than your performance, but I was as stunned as poor Heather looked during the private audition of his new tune. She handled it with tact and kindness.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

October 28, 2021

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