I had the opportunity to watch a new romantic comedy, Home for Christmas, that’s going to be released this Friday, December 5. The movie was written and directed by Jamie Patterson, based on the book by Cally Taylor.
(If you want to know how and why I was asked to review this movie, check out my blog post on Home for Christmas – The Extended Version. Otherwise, just keep reading for the review.)
The movie stars April Pearson as Beth Prince, a romantic film buff who works in a charming independent theater in England. When we meet Beth, she is lamenting the fact that no man has ever told her that he loves her, so she is going to get the ball rolling by telling her boyfriend Aiden that she loves him, expecting him to reciprocate.
Things do not go as planned for Beth.
We also meet Matt Jones, played by Karl Davies. Matt works for a large Cineplex that is going to be purchasing the theater where Beth works and he is going to promote one of the existing employees to become the new manager.
I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving away the plot, but I can tell you that while the movie follows the standard romantic comedy formula of Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl, this movie goes down that path in fresh, interesting new ways.
For one thing, Beth is smart and confident in many ways but also shows painful self-doubt and vulnerability that threaten her ability to find happiness. She is someone I was immediately drawn to because she was portrayed as a real person and not just another cookie-cutter version of a romantic lead.
The same can be said for many of the minor characters including Shirley Jaffe as Mrs. Blackstock, the owner of the movie theater and Amanda Piery as Lizzie, Beth’s best friend. Both could easily have been stock characters, but the clever dialogue and charming performances lifted these characters up to the next level.
All that said, the movie is not perfect and there are a few hiccups. For instance, during the makeover/ girls getting ready to go out scene, I found it difficult to believe that a main character is so completely ignorant to concepts such as self-tanners and leg waxing. Also, there is a scene between Beth and Aiden’s family midway through the movie that is cringe-inducingly painful to watch. I’m sure that is probably the intent, but I have a low tolerance for watching characters who are put in embarrassing situations, so I was relieved when that particular scene ended.
In summary: This is a movie of two smart, kind, slightly bruised but hopeful people looking to find love in the big city. And what more do you want to watch during the holiday season? I give Home for Christmas 4/5 stars.