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Watching Hallmark's My Christmas Love (Pt 2)
I watched a Hallmark Christmas movie, curious to see what got all these white ladies excited about Christmas. It’s much scarier and more hilarious than I thought.
Last time on My Christmas Love…
Children’s book author Cynthia is going home for the holidays and her little sister Janet’s marriage. Her boyfriend—Jake, no Jason, Jake?—won’t go because spending two weeks with her family is too much investment after five months. So she takes her illustrator Liam, who has clearly been pining for Cynthia since he met her. Upon entering her hometown of Quechee, possibly a town in Canada or a magical demon snow globe that will repeat Christmas now and forever in a loop. I’m not entirely sure yet. Lovelorn Liam is definitely not equipped to handle all of Cynthia’s ex-boyfriends and really hates saying that he and Cynthia are, in fact, not a couple. Cynthia is also maybe the recipient of the first of most definitely the rest of the Twelve Days of Christmas gifts.
Onto part 2...
That leads us to the next part where Cynthia and Liam finally work on their book in the attic. Hey, conveniently, the book is going to be a Christmas story! What does Felicia’s magic do to Christmas? Ummm what kind of question is that? Can Felicia change Christmas into Feliciamas? Make snow fall everywhere? Make non-Judeo-Christians celebrate Christ’s birth? Oh, we’re going small, it turns out. Cynthia suggests “eggnog is served out of really big tulips.” Liam adds to it: the tree has a crystal pine cone that acts like a disco ball. I think these are less children’s books and more adult late-night reading for mushroom trips. The toys come alive at night to redecorate the house! This book is turning into A Night at the Museum meets Babes in Toyland. And tinsel and blinking lights need to be everywhere, to depict the tackiest Christmas. He tells her to slow down, but she orders him to draw faster because she is on a roll. YOU CAN’T RUSH GENIUS, and that’s exactly what this book is. Oh, the toys are getting violent. They tie up Felicia in ribbons then wrap her up with wrapping paper so she can’t get out. This is disturbing. A Christmas horror book within a Christmas horror movie! And there’s a trap door in the attic. This should come in handy later when someone ties Liam up with ribbons and wraps him up as a present for a sacrifice to Krampus.
Oh, there’s no Christmas decorations in the trap door. Just Mom’s wedding dress. Cynthia holds it up to herself in the mirror and tells Liam that it was too big for her when she was little. (Unless your mom was a Little Person, then, yeah, that’s a legit but unnecessary statement.) She used to put it on a dream of her perfect wedding, perfect romance, and perfect husband. Liam says at least she’s “past all that pie in the sky stuff.” You saw her Christmas tree, right, Liam? It screams cupcakes in the sky stuff! She wants her mom and dad’s marriage with forty years of fun little surprises for each other.
She leaves Dainty Hands to work on all the demented shit she conjured up to retrieve coffee and show Janet their mom’s wedding dress. Well, it’s at least Cynthia’s mom’s. Janet’s possibly a Cylon, infiltrating the family with fake memories. Janet knows full well where the dress was, but she’s already got her own dress that she can wears to other events. Because, I don’t know, she’s her own person with her own ideas of technical compatibility and congregations. And, again, it’s sensible. They’re really hammering down on this sensible shit like it’s a bad thing because I guess we’re supposed to root for Cynthia’s hopeful fairytale optimism? Oh, Cynthia pulls out the dead mom card, pretending to know that their mom would be devastated at this concept. Manipulation is unbecoming. Dainty Hands isn’t gonna fall for that. Janet realizes that she’s at risk of exposing her Cylon self, so she attempts expressing sadness and says she isn’t ready to wear Mom’s dress. It warranted a sympathetic hug from Cynthia, but she’s not giving up on the idea.
It’s that abducted lady again, and she hasn’t changed her outfit. I’m very certain they just filmed her having all these things in that van in one hour tops. She hands over another bird cage with two turtle doves, and now Cynthia has three birds, so she’s going to have to make half of her apartment an aviary and become known as the Boston Bird Lady. If this is her mom’s postmortem Christmas present to her dad, I am going to LOVE IT, like it’s her mom trolling Cynthia from the grave.
While everyone else is totally not into this Christery, Cynthia is completely engaged and now must abandon her book of murderous toys and child witches to completely envelop herself in finding out who the fuck is giving her all these romantic presents that discard shit and pee in the same plop. NO ONE UNDERSTANDS HER LOVE OF CHRISTMAS! NOT ONE BUT HER MOM. I wish this family really liked any color other than white. It’s just so hard to deal. In a white landscape, it just makes me feel like I’m in a psych ward.
While she makes Liam work on the book (and probably gets paid far less for making her twisted ideas look palatable), she drags her dad along on this Christery to prevent him from working on building wedding stuff. Cynthia charges in the pet store that has only a few fish and a hamster and demands to know from Esther who got her the turtle doves and partridge. Esther’s like, “Back up, bitch. I need to be buttered up with small talk first. OH, HI, TOM.” Esther is really working on the recently widowed Tom. At most it’s been a little under a year. At least it’s been, like, three months. So, either way, it might be inappropriate. But kudos to her for trying to catch some Poketom. Back to the Christery: Esther doesn’t carry any bird like that. Ever. You might have to go to the city for them fancy birds.
Ohgodohgodohgod former high school football jock Scott walks in to hang up flyers for the carnival, which I’m sure will be like a rally for all of Cynthia’s exes. Scott inquires about the birds, and Cynthia’s thinking that OMG it’s him! But he’s a cop. It’s his job to look at the raging clues in front of him, like Tom grabbing a giant bag of bird seed for the menagerie of birds at his house. He’s about to get three French hens and four calling birds, so he might need a bigger bag. Yep. Indeed, the next thing that shows up is three French hens. It turns out that Roger is the only one other than Cynthia to be excited about all these birds. It’s the first time he’s smiled. She stops Liam from sketching the two turtle doves and makes him go with her into the city to go to the only pet store that would have turtle doves.
Cynthia does something completely illegal and pretends to be a government official from the Fish and Wildlife Department. But he can’t reveal anything, as the client requested completely confidentiality and lets it drop that there’s a letter to explain it. Yep. it’s totally her mom. None of these dolt guys in Cynthia’s life would be able to think of this. Sorry, Janet. Your mom might be my new favorite. Cynthia is upset that she can’t get the information she needs to solve the mystery and grabs a candy cane in defiance. But that’s what it’s there for, so she takes two! Bold move, Cynthia.
Oh, well now, the gifts are getting lazy. The four calling birds are fake, but they move and make noise! So it’s just like they’re real. Janet needs this to stop because this is a gross idea of romance. Cynthia thinks this is the most romantic thing since the Bermuda Triangle! Janet says what we’re all thinking and asks what’s romantic about that. Um, hello? Bermuda!” Liam smiles, thinking that’s just adorable and not outright dumb as hell. Liam says the admirer must be one of the many fellas who knew Cynthia was coming back to town. She surmises that it must be the suave single-mom pick-up artist Grant. Unless Cynthia starts treating all these birds like they’re her children, he’s probably not interested.
Cynthia signs her first two books for Grant’s niece’s birthday present, and Grant notes that his brother Bill and his non-gendered partner Shawn/Sean/Shawna are in Miami now, where it’s not so bitterly cold. He thanks her, and she says with a wink that there’s nothing like getting a special gift form someone you love. And Grant is a little weirded out and agrees with the kind of laugh you give while in an awkward situation in which you feel you’re being pressured to laugh.
Liam is drawing the partridge in a pear tree instead of drawing evil elves on shelves wrapping up a child witch, and Jock Cop Scott shows up looking for Cynthia. He knows about the secret admirer, apparently. Could it be him?! Liam purposely informs Scott that she’s on a “date” with Grant, though Grant seems to not know it’s a date. Liam is now doing this on purpose to fuel drama, and Janet is going to be PISSED. And I’m living for it. Scott seems amused. Cut to Cynthia saying she knows it was him as she grabs his hand, and the server, surprisingly not black, comes up to offer more coffee to “Father” Grant. He’s a priest! With a comedic shrug, she takes a giant bite of her coconut cupcake.
Back at the house, Cynthia tries on her five golden rings, all far too big. Janet and Liam are so amused by the fact that Cynthia being sure it was Father Grant. Janet assumes, now, that it’s Scott, and Cynthia assumes it’s Jason. Janet’s like, “Who?” And Liam chimes in with Janet’s own name for Jason: “Jake.” God I love her. Cynthia sees how Jason could have done that whole fake-out and is hiding in the barn. Liam and Janet just can’t believe how dumb Cynthia is. Janet’s reaction is how I watch this entire movie.
Oh, shit. She actually goes back to Boston to see Jason, leaving Liam with her family. She knocks on his door, and he’s got another lady in his apartment. So I guess they’re definitely broken up. She promptly drives back to Quechee where she’s either half-heartedly teaching Janet how to tie bows on presents as Janet pretends to give a shit about Christmas for her grieving sister or Janet is teaching Cynthia how to tie bows on presents to make Cynthia feel better, but Cynthia most definitely knows how to do that. It’s the first thing we see her do. Liam tries to extract her feelings, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. She’s just going to wait for the letter, as apparently Liam told her to do, though it was most definitely the exotic bird dealer.
Janet just can’t believe that Cynthia doesn’t see her One True Love right in front of her. Liam didn’t know he was that evident! But she meant Scott, much to Liam’s disappointment. He wanted to be outed! And then Liam and Cynthia snuggle up to each other. I can’t tell if he’s a manipulative mastermind or just a super great guy who is willing to suppress his feelings until she realizes that he’s the right one for her.
Janet walks in on Liam and Cynthia having a pillow fight from all of their repressed sexual tension and inability to work to meet deadlines. Then she gets in on the pillow fight action. And then Dad gets in on it! And everyone just gangs up on Liam. And for a moment I’m wondering if this is going the way of the Lannisters.
Liam and Cynthia go shopping for Janet’s wedding, and he wonders if the antique bowl he got from Timeless Gifts is a good one. She says that Janet would use it to puts ButterScotts because she’s got Scott on the brain. Liam needs to figure out what to get her “pops”, and she just can’t believe how thoughtful he is. And he reveals that he already got her present. Now he’s a player in the Twelve Days of Christmas!
Cynthia questions Liam now. He doesn’t think it’s Scott, and he tells her it wasn’t him. “Why would I do that?” he says, and she totally ignores that question and goes on with her self-involved plans of calling Scott. She thinks, after all, it’s kind of romantic that they were high school sweethearts and got back together later in life. Sure. Yep. That’s the fairytale!
I really want this movie to end now.
The doorbell rings, and Cynthia crosses off seven swans swimming off of Liam’s illustrated checklist of the Twelve Days. It’s Seven Swans Champagne. Tom makes a toast that his dead wife used to make, and it is weird as hell: “To the past, present, and future, may you always be held forever in our hearts and not in our hands.” Hmmmm.
As they take the French hens to the barn, Cynthia thinks it’s so weird that Scott still has the name number, and Grant tells her he’s never left, so why change it? I hate to say it, but Liam sounds a little rational, despite being in love this lady. Scott is taking her out tonight, despite these two having to meet a deadline. She gets bottled water from next to the gasoline to give to the hens, and they escape with Liam egging them on. Cynthia runs from them and trips on a boot, falling into Liam’s arms on the floor. And there’s it is. “Hi,” she whispers, suddenly cognizant that maybe she might harbor some romantic feelings for this supporter of free chickens.
During a game of chess between Tom and Liam, Tom employs some strategic conversation, knowing how he feels about his daughter. Liam totally thinks that Tom’s talking about actual chess, but Tom is talking about love. And the metaphor is so obvious and such a man thing to do in a movie. Cynthia is heading out to her date with Scott, carrying a bag larger than her torso. This, I’m sure, is intended for nefarious reasons in this sci-fi thriller flick. The doorbell rings, and it’s Scott with gorgeous triplet women singing “Deck the Halls” and not the SHeDAISY version, which would be impressive. I’m not sure Scott’s not fishing for a fivesome. And of course she loves because he stole that Twelve Days of Christmas idea for his own, and he thinks he’s got her now. Also, this is super awkward. Liam shuts the door in the triplets’ faces, and I think they’re stuck there, smiling at the closed door.
At dinner, the server looks at Cynthia with so much pity, knowing she has to watch this go down a second time after witnessing Father Grant reject her. Tom is still clearly stuck in high school. He gets paid to be neighborly because there is no crime in Quechee, so he gets to be lazy and comfortable in life. Never challenged, still the football star reappropriating his physical starpower into police authority. The best times of his life have been here. Have been. Past tense. He remembers that she loves cupcakes, so they have those before dinner with their wine. I’m impressed, but it also means she’s always love cupcakes. She mentions the gifts, and he’s a little confused, but says he’s just getting started. Okay, this guy is playing a football game with her feelings. He knows about the Twelve Days gifts and is going with it, despite now doing it. What a creep-loser.
Back at home, Liam is sketching a portrait of Cynthia from memory, and it’s everything a creepmonster would do as he obsessive pines over her.
Scott’s headlights shine a light on the sketch, and she looks out the window to see Cynthia and Scott saying goodbye at the front door. He affirms that the gifts were him, and she says the trip has been perfect. “Not quite yet,” he says before leaning in for a kiss. Liam angrily chews something.
The eight maids show up with raw milk, and Janet isn’t having any unpasteurized milk in this house as the rational sciencey sister. Janet brings tea to Robot Roger, who quickly covers up something with accounting papers. She digs it out and sees that it’s a bridal magazine! I think Roger wants to wear the dead mom’s wedding dress, but that can’t be right. This is Hallmark. Right? Or is this going to go completely off the rails horror where he murders the entire family in the wedding dress, making LGBTQ people look bad? Anyway, Janet isn’t having any of this shit, either. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event! They should celebrate it in grandiose style he argues! (It’s once-in-a-lifetime for some people, Roger.) Janet wants a simple wedding because her parents did extravagant things for each other every day, and now there’s a huge hole in her dad’s life. She doesn’t want that. Interestingly, Cynthia sees these actions as little things, and she’s still searching for that fairytale romance. It says a lot about their ideas of romance and love. Just give Janet a USB compatible gadget, and she’s set. The important thing is that they’re together, not the party. There’s a carnival anyway, if people really want a party. Robot Roger starts to show human feelings, and it makes me think that the Cylon uprising is much nearer than I thought. He will overtake humanity as a more perfect version, and Roger and Janet will be their Overlords. She demands he turn over his secret stash of bridal magazines, and we find out that Cynthia has been eavesdropping this entire time! This is a house of deception and cruelty!
© 2016 SE Andres