My Christmas Family Tree

Too Many Questions


Overall, this was a very good Hallmark. A young 30-year-old woman does a DNA test along with her best friend and discovers she has a paternity match. Her mother had died when she was 9 years old, and she never knew her father. She and her father decide to meet. The casting and the performances were excellent and the plot was compelling. First of all, there was no Hallmark Christmas set piece that wasn’t crammed in somewhere. I know some people enjoy the obligatory clumsy ice-skating scene and the gingerbread house making, etc. But I find them to be just filler most of the time: tedious and lazy. I’ve learned to live with them though.

There were several aspects, however, which took it down a notch or two for me. The idea that a DNA matching company would mix up the DNA results just because the two clients had the same name is way over the line. Did they also have the same birthdate? Same place of birth? Same social security number? And then according to the story, their desperate phone call to Vanessa was just another big oopsie, they were right the first time, and Vanessa really is Richard’s daughter? Not because of another phone call from the DNA company admitting their mistake, but just because he finally had the revelation that both “Patty” and “Trisha” are both nicknames for “Patricia.” OH, and he found a picture of the girlfriend in question and she bore a strong resemblance to Vanessa?

And what about that? So Richard had completely forgotten what his girlfriend looked like until he found her picture? A girl whom he was in love with, had meaningful sex with, and whom he had tried to find after he got back from his tour of duty? Whose picture he had kept in a box for 30 years? Because as soon as he saw Vanessa, wouldn’t the phrase, “you look just like your mother?” been uttered as soon as they met? Apparently, when he first met Vanessa, she didn’t even look vaguely familiar! What about the other Vanessa? Is she going to show up at some point? As another reviewer pointed out, didn’t Richard and the other Vanessa get the same phone call from the DNA folks that Vanessa got?

And how cruel to reveal that she wasn’t Richard’s daughter in front of the whole extended family. If she just couldn’t take it anymore, leave the room and ask to see Richard and Mrs. Richard privately so he could maintain some dignity. And so he could break the news gently to his young children. She is not twelve, she is thirty.

They should have had a “1 month later” where all these dangling loose ends were made palatable with some kind of explanation and closure, no matter how lame. I didn’t care about the romance, it was definitely secondary to the main story. The script gave Andrew Walker very little to work with.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

November 16, 2021

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