Nostalgic Christmas (TV Movie 2019) Poster

(2019 TV Movie)

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Could have done with more nostalgia
TheLittleSongbird1 June 2021
Hallmark are very variable when it comes to their Christmas offerings. Some are surprisingly good and did impress me, as long as one does not expect anything award worthy (it's not that kind of film). Some are decent. Some are mediocre at best. Some are very bad. And then there are some that are in between. While the story did not sound like anything special and uses a familiar setting, Brooke D'Orsay has been good in other things so thought to myself why not give it a go?

There were no regrets watching 'Nostalgic Christmas', regret is a very rare emotion actually after watching a Hallmark Christmas film. At the same time, it was pretty much what was expected from reading the synopsis and from watching many other Hallmark Christmas films. Meaning that expectations were mixed prior to watching and my feelings on 'Nostalgic Christmas' were pretty much mixed as well, a few of the flaws being common with Hallmark.

'Nostalgic Christmas' does have good things. Is a nice-looking film, the scenery being especially attractive. The music is suitably festive and doesn't overbear, the use of old favourite Christmas songs/carols didn't come over as too obvious or over-the-top nor inappropriate for the scenes. The film does have its charms and it doesn't get too over-serious or jokey.

D'Orsay is a charmer in the female lead role, as a character that endears and doesn't have too many negative traits exaggerated. The supporting cast are better than average.

Was less keen however on Trevor Donovan. He definitely has lovely moments but is a little too lightweight and not always at ease in a fairly dull and cliched role (a very familiar type of character for Hallmark). Was a bit mixed on the chemistry between him and D'Orsay, it is sweet and genuine later on but it took too long for it to get to that stage. The script tends to have a lot of cheese and schmaltz and the supporting characters are basically Hallmark cliches.

It's the story and pace where 'Nostalgic Christmas' most fails. The story is more eventful in 'Nostalgic Christmas' than the ones in most Hallmark Christmas films, it did feel like there was too much crammed in and not all of it was necessary. The pageant and mill subplots could have been excised, as they didn't engage that much, and it would have meant that the central relationship would have had more time to breathe and develop. It was also excessively predictable throughout, from following the most standard of Hallmark plot formulas and doing nothing new with it or the kitchen sink of Hallmark plot and character tropes and cliches. The pace is erratic, starting off quite routine and aimlessly and then feeling too hurried in the final third. The ending is far too rushed and contrived and while the toy setting was nice and nostalgic to look at, again it's familiar territory done with no freshness.

Concluding, mixed feelings. 5/10.
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A carousel of Christmas cheer... Warning: Spoilers
...if that carousel were powered by a 747 and adderall.

"Nostalgic Christmas" is a lot. Like, A LOT. Every Hallmark movie trope you love? It's here: woman leaves her fast-paced job in the city to move back home to the country? Check. Town gathering for a Christmas tree lighting? Check. Christmas pageant? Check. Dead spouse or parent? Check, check, and check. This movie comes on like a freight train from the first minute and just. does. not. let. up. Just an assault on the senses. Simultaneously a drinking game and a Christmas fever dream to end all fever dreams.

Two minutes in and we learn that Anne Garrison has a career in the city, her dad lives in a tiny town, her mom is dead, dad wants to close his toy store, sell the house... I can't even with this - did I say two minutes? The first minute of this movie is just the credits. ALL ABOARD!

Anne works as a toy purchaser for one of those corporate, stuffy, toy store chains which are apparently still things in this Amazon-less universe, and she's pitching her newest product suggestion to the board - a bluetooth and wifi-enabled stuffed horse. Christmas is in like two weeks! How are you going to get these on the shelves? Please make this end. NEXT STOP, SMALLTOWN!

Anne arrives home, and she needs to help her dad sell his toy store - he's getting on in years, he'd like to move closer to his kids in the city. Dad has already gone through the stages of grief over this store and is at "acceptance", but luckily Anne is here to both force him to go through everything all over again ("But the memories!"), and to meet an old high-school boyfriend that'll list the store for sale. While Anne is sending those mixed signals, GET ON BOARD! CHOO-CHOO!

Discount Channing Tatum ("Keith") is standing at the kitchen counter speaking with his daughter Jessie, and because we don't meet mom right away, and because there's nothing Hallmark loves more than kids being a heartbeat away from the orphanage, it's a safe bet that mom won't be joining us for Christmas. Drink! Jessie needs to pick a song to sing at the town Christmas pageant. WOO WOO! PAGEANT TRYOUTS, ALL ABOARD!

Dad and Jessie start the walk to school when Jessie realizes she forgot to buy a toy for the Christmas pageant, when as kismet would have it, they're standing in front of Garrison's Toys. Keith takes no time at all to let us know that they don't make toys like this anymore, and that Anne has wasted her life with toys he has no time for. Wi-fi?! I don't need toys to send me emails! Where's my axe? CHRISTMAS SPIRIT! DRINK!

By-the-by: between the four of Anne, her dad, Jessie, and Keith, Keith is the only one we don't see doing any woodworking in this movie) BACK ON THE TRAIN!

I don't even think there's been a commercial break yet, and we still have to get to the mystery of the missing 40' Christmas tree (spoilers: it goes unsolved), a Christmas tree decorating montage, another dead spouse, the town Christmas tree lighting, Anne re-discovering her passion for woodworking, Mrs. Wentzell closing the old mill and threatening the town economy, and the lines "I need nature. I was born to be a lumberjack."

I don't even know how to finish here - this movie just left me in such a state of bewilderment. Six stars. Would have been higher, but we were robbed of the phone call to the police where the stolen Christmas tree was reported. "Yes officer... yes, forty feet. Shaped like a Christmas tree. That's right... well, let me know if you develop any leads."

And I didn't even mention the hundreds of miniature Santa carvings...

Score card:

  • big city girl moving back home to the country - 1x

  • tree lighting - 30x (not a typo)

  • singing while decorating the tree - 1x

  • Christmas pageant - 1x

  • Christmas cookies - 1x

  • "Christmas miracle" said out loud - 1x

  • dead spouse/parent - 3x(!), a Hallmark first
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Oh Trevor!
adamjohns-4257514 November 2020
I can't decide whether Trevor Donovan's nose is the most perfect thing I've ever seen or not? Either way, he is now my new boyfriend, but don't tell him yet! He is adorable in this film, but I couldn't connect with the lead female as her Face reminded me of someone I'm keen to forget.

The story is a bit watered down and follows the usual pattern, but it's not a bad film at all.

I loved the carved Father Christmases and I thought the Dad was played very well, although he was called Mr Garrison, which just reminded me of the creepy teacher from South Park.

It has a real seasonal vibe, with all the typical activities, so it wins points for that and I'm probably scoring it higher because of my new boyfriend Trevor, but I don't care.
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Predictable pleasant and totally forgettable
phd_travel4 November 2019
The golden haired couple look nice together but the story has nothing to differentiate it from dozens of other Hallmark holiday movies. The same move back to small town and give up the big city thing. The pageant story isn't interesting. Nor is the mill story.

Why bother.
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Nostalgic Christmas
JoBloTheMovieCritic10 November 2019
5/10 - a by-the-books Hallmark flick that has little to make it very memorable
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Bells may be ringing...but you will have to listen carefully for any sign of real emotion
Ed-Shullivan5 December 2019
Lots of sizzle but no steak. There is a lot of whimsy, romantic banter, and excitement about the Garrison and McClain's families Christmas's of the past, but since today is the present, I was expecting to see a resurrection of these so-called nostalgic Christmas's. Instead the storyline is based on a whole lot of wishful thinking and the goodness of the North Bay townsfolk's spirit of Christmas.

I prefer not to give away any spoiler but this is a Christmas based film so it's not hard to figure it out. As I said this family themed Christmas film has lots of sizzle, .....just no steak.

I rate it a 5 out of 10. Worth a watch but just once.
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A rushed product
doctorsmoothlove7 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
"Nostalgic Christmas" follows the template established by many made-for-tv Christmas films. It was released as part of Hallmark Channel's 2019 Countdown to Christmas. I'd categorize this one as easily skippable unless marathoning these films as I am this year. A busy career woman in the toy industry returns home at Christmas to celebrate the holiday with her father. He is also contemplating retirement, at the behest of his daughter, and she is to help him clean out, market and sell the building.

The toy store is a big focus of the movie. It sells wooden toys exclusively. I find it odd that in 2019 a movie would be made with this premise. I am 30 years old and have never played with a wooden toy or known anyone my age who has. No one buys them for their own children either. When I was little, my grandmother showed me wooden toys she had played with during the 1940s. Why not set the film during that era? There is no reason for it to take place in a contemporary setting.

What is more interesting and effective is the use of wooden santas made by the main character. She apparently carved them as a child and included an inspirational message on each of them. These serve as motivating factors for several tertiary characters with what little story arcs they have.

Brook D'Orsay as the main character does a competent job. She carries the movie well enough. The lines in her face cause her to appear weary as her character is apparently overworked in the big city. I wish the film didn't cause her father to subtly pressure her to accepting ownership of the toy store. I was more impressed with Trevor Donovan as the Hot Guy. He is widowed as all of these hot single dads are. Unlike most of them, he is quiet and not expressive. You get that he is perpetually wounded due to the loss of his wife.

Of course, they get together. The ending of this film is one of the most hackneyed and rushed I've seen Hallmark do in a while. The first kiss and Brook's acceptance of the toy store happen in the final minutes. It's as if the screenwriter realized the movie had to end and forgot to write an ending. It ruins what was otherwise just an average film at best. At least the child actress is tolerable.
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Something is just off
debejere7 November 2019
Normally these two are great and believable. There is something amiss with Brooke, she looks so drawn in her face. I don't know what it is but this show had so many wonderful qualities, love love loved the Santa tag with "Santa helper sayings". The idea was super great. Something just didn't connect. I love watching hallmark even if it is a one kiss. "same-o~ same o"
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The Best of the 2019 Hallmark Christmas Movies So Far
shawneuser18 November 2019
We are approaching the halfway point for Hallmark's run of Christmas movies in 2019, and for me, it has been more miss than hit. This movie is a winner though, and the best of 2019 so far. First of all, I like both the lead actors, and they look like they should be a couple. Secondly, their characters are both immensely likable, and you want them together before they even meet. The writing and acting is solid. There isn't anything really spectacular; everything just works and doesn't screw up the good things that are in place. All the supporting cast is decent and have well-written parts. The daughter, Jesse, is probably the best of the supporting. The only real conflicts in the movie are the two established from the beginning- the imminent closing of the mill and Ann returning to New York. In somewhat typical Hallmark style, unfortunately, both conflicts and the romance is wrapped up in the final two scenes. Again, much like the rest of the movie, the final resolution is nothing spectacular. However, there is nothing silly going on either. Besides the already mentioned good chemistry between the actors and the likability of their characters, another positive in this movie is that the leads spend a lot of time together, so there is nothing that happens too suddenly. There is another guy in the movie, but we never see much of Ann and him together, and that plot thread is wrapped up rather neatly. The other positive that also adds something unique to this one is the idea of the carved Christmas Santas. It is a very cool idea that adds something interesting to the movie. Altogether, this is an entertaining Christmas romance.
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Good music and a good happy ending
kahast2 December 2019
This movie was not what I would call riveting, but it was pleasant enough to keep watching in the background. The ending with the Christmas pageant and all the elements of a perfect happy ending!
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Brooke !
debbieboucher-7289812 December 2020
I love this actress in everything, yet she plays each part differently. This is a real 'feel good' movie, a great treat. The Santa's are the best ! A guide for people to live their lives by !
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Loved the Chemistry...
casmowill12 November 2019
I absolutely love Brooke D'Orsay's acting and felt her chemistry with Trevor Donovan was sweet. The Nostalgic Christmas is one for the books for me!
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Stupid toy store.
rebekahrox28 November 2019
Brooke d'Orsay. She is a real charmer and I don't think I've seen her in anything in which she wasn't the shining star. Everything else was mediocre. The Father and his store got my back up right away with the declaration that if it wasn't made of wood, it wasn't a real toy. Absolutely ridiculous. There are thousands of old-fashioned homey nostalgic toys that are made of plastic and don't plug in or have a battery. Old fashioned board games, water colors, crayons, etch-a sketch, rubber balls, but no. Wood or nothing. And his store maybe had 5 toys in it! Then he kept passively-aggressively pressuring her and trying to guilt her into giving up a successful toy career she loved in New York City to take over his stupid store that couldn't have cleared $20 a day in profit. On top of all that, they gave away for free Brooke's hand carved Santas that could have retailed for for $100.00 each easy. My free enterprise and capitalistic soul was crying out in pain. Obviously most of these Hallmark writers have never had to earn an honest day's wage in a retail environment.

But Brooke d'Orsay has saved more than this unworthy effort.
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Same old story
sfranks-2448628 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Now I am getting tired of Hallmarks same old story of losing an Inn, a Factory, a Store, a town so this one was disappointing because I LOVE Brooke. And seriously can you give a mill to a town and still retire??
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You better not pout
parksidedrive21 November 2019
Female lead whined throughout the movie. It was a real turn off. Actor was 40 and sounded 4. Real disappointment since I like Hallmark Christmas movies.
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Kirpianuscus27 November 2021
My expectations about Donovan artistic skills are not very high. The expectations about Hallmark Christmas movies are not diferent. So, I appreciate the small good crumbs of film, from single father, green Santa, prepaires for great event, kindness reflected by generosity the drops of humor. And it seems enough.
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Hope you like teeth!!!
teebear81725 November 2020
Hallmark routine. S.o.s. They turn these out on a conveyor belt. Lead actress with 100 teeth smiling way too much as usual. I never saw her before and am glad. Bland, old looking, over smiling, over giggling. Every male lead has a 7 day beard. Every one!! Same tired old ludicrous feel good ending. EVERY movie has the lead give up a prestegious, high paying career to live in a one dog town because of love and Christmas spirit. Lets see where that spirit is when her new paychecks plummet 90%. I am sick and tired of these formulaic teeth movies. All oversmiling scenes nonstop. This gets really old!!! Ugh
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The main actress smiles too much .
marsmagda2 November 2019
The movie is ok , surprising ending which is good , because it was unexpected . The only complaint I have , is that the main actress smiles too much , it's unnatural to talk with the smile on your face all the time .
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Ask her out already
MickyG33317 December 2022
6.7 stars.

What's not to like about our leads? Nothing. And what's not to like about the story? Nothing. And the same question for chemistry, writing, lighting, music, setting, scenery, etc... That's the point. Nostalgic Christmas is like that nostalgic feeling you get when you have your 3rd glass of eggnog on December 26th just to get rid of all the leftovers before they spoil. Nobody wants anymore of it, they are all sick of it, don't want to smell it, don't want to see it, get that nog out of my sight I think I'm gonna be sick.

This was not a bad film AT ALL. It was good average semi-fun cookie cutter. The actors were very pretty and that was the only thing that pulled me out of a sugar coma to finish this movie. If I were in a different mood I might have really enjoyed this, but for some reason I was preoccupied with this or that, distracted by other stuff, just couldn't invest in this story, not one bit. I'm sorry Hallmark fans, this was just so-so for me. I love the daughter, and the mill/factory issues, and the toy store issues, and the dad, and the realtor, and wood working and carving, the lady with the dark hair (was she the principal, or the a councilwoman?), and the lady who owned the mill was cold-ish, or was she? I don't recall because this could not hold my attention.

The actors are pretty. Did I say that already? There was no tension, no anticipation, no flirtation, just dreamy glances that meant nothing. Very strange. Give it a go, it's got pretty people and nice clothes and stuff. They lost a 40 foot tree.
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Best movie of ever
tomassangestino23 November 2022
This movie is so great I found myself laughing the whole way through and I can't wait to share this film with my family and friends to see what they think. This film really gets you into the Christmas feeling and makes you want to cozy up next to a fire place with your special someone drinking hot chocolate together just watching the fire burn. The cast for the movie is excellent and I would love to see them in more hallmark Christmas movies. I went to vist the town where they filmed after I watched the movie and it was a great experience. Anyway I hope you enjoyed reading my review and I'm excited to see what hallmark has in store next Christmas.
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Little girl looks older then she present
merimacoralic25 November 2021
Nice movie. The roll to little girl that she presents one nine years old girl does not suit her, she looks much older like 13 years old and have make up. It was a little bit silly to watch her.
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