- 1h 32m
In a small town, high-school dean Alana and her vivacious teenage daughter Samantha plan a holiday concert to save the school with the help of the new maintenance man, Army veteran Johnny, a... Read allIn a small town, high-school dean Alana and her vivacious teenage daughter Samantha plan a holiday concert to save the school with the help of the new maintenance man, Army veteran Johnny, and his quiet son Max. But when a car accident lands Sam in a life-threatening condition, A... Read allIn a small town, high-school dean Alana and her vivacious teenage daughter Samantha plan a holiday concert to save the school with the help of the new maintenance man, Army veteran Johnny, and his quiet son Max. But when a car accident lands Sam in a life-threatening condition, Alana turns to Johnny for support, and Max makes a desperate decision that will forever bon... Read all
Not a very good Christmas movie...
For the first hour of this film, it felt more like a (teen) drama than a Christmas movie. The Christmas in 'Middleton Christmas' does not emerge really until the last 20 minutes or so of the film. To be fair, these 20 minutes are quite festive (notably, the student Christmas concert to raise money for the school). So, how was the film, you ask. Well, it is not a very good Christmas movie. I found myself for the first hour struggling to stay engaged with the film. This is partly to do with the story and partly to do with the quality of acting. Regarding the former, the idea behind the story itself (which I will avoid discussing here, as it is a spoiler) is a noble one; it comes about 60 minutes into the film, by the way. That said, the script was not very strong. There were a number of weaknesses. For example, the writers try to introduce the 'they are not one of us' themes (economic class issue) into the film. It emerges in the scene where the father (Johnny, played by Michael Paré) gives advice to his son (Max, played by Michael Varde) not to get involved with Sam (played by Kennedy Tucker), as he states: 'the girl, she is different than guys like us Max'. In the next scene, it emerges again, though from the other direction, where Lucas (Sam's boyfriend, played by Trevor Stines) tells Sam to stay away from Max as he is not 'one of us'. The writers do a poor job of setting this underlining theme up; it feels rushed and underdeveloped. Similarly, the gravity of what Max does (which I will avoid saying, as it is a spoiler) after the car crash for Sam is underdeveloped. The related scenes feel rushed and, as a result, the viewer (aka me) does not get a sense of the gravity of what Max has sacrificed. The acting, overall, is a bit mixed. Michael Paré, an experienced actor, had a pretty bad performance (I was surprised, to be honest). In many of his scenes, he had some awkward expressions (or simply blank looks) that were not at all in line with what he was saying. His chemistry with Alana (played by Eileen Davidson) was often awkward, that is, it was not very convincing. Davidson, on the other hand, had a decent performance. It is unfortunate; it gets lost a bit due to the poor performance of Paré. The younger couple performed much better, overall. Michael Varde's (as Max) was OK. He too had some blank looks to his lines early on, though his performance improved towards the end of the film. His performance was at his best in the more intimate scenes with Sam. Kennedy Tucker was one of the bright spots in this film, as I thought she had a pretty solid, convincing performance as Sam. I could see her in a popular teen drama series on The CW Network, for example. The chemistry between the two was good, believable. The supporting cast performed well. Trevor Stines, Cheyenne Haynes (as Tasha) and Tim Abell (as nick, the mechanic) all had good performances. However, in the end, it is not a very festive, nor very good, Christmas movie. Hence, you might want to pass on this one this holiday season.
- Nov 28, 2020
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