Open by Christmas (TV Movie 2021) Poster

(2021 TV Movie)

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8/10
Well worth opening
TheLittleSongbird14 December 2021
Despite being very mixed on the 2021 Hallmark Christmas output on the whole (though actually it was much better than expected, speaking as someone who thought that this year would not be good on the Hallmark Christmas front), there were films in the block that were pretty good and more. 'Open by Christmas' had more potential than most of them, due to its interesting story structure (which was a unique one for Hallmark this year) and that Allison Sweeney and Brennan Elliott were the leads.

'Open by Christmas' is one of those films that not only lives up to its potential, but it also exceeds it. To me, it is by some way one of the best 2021 Hallmark Christmas films (and even of the year for Hallmark in general) and the best since 'Christmas in My Heart'. Everything that the film was seen for was far from wasted, quite the opposite, and while it is not my definition of a masterpiece by recent Hallmark Christmas film standards 'Open by Christmas' is pretty darn impressive.

Sure, the identity of the secret admirer was not a surprise at all to me and could have taken more time to reveal.

The ending is slightly on the too neat side and while the romantic chemistry is more than convincing and heartfelt it could have featured more.

However, there is so little to fault. Sweeney and Elliott play their roles with so much nuanced emotions and also light-hearted upbeat energy, two of the best performances of the 2021 Hallmark Christmas films. Erica Durance steals every scene she's in and the supporting cast all play their roles well. This is one of the few 2021 Hallmark Christmas, and overall, films where every character interested and was not hard to care for. Nobody dull or irritating, and Elliott's could easily have been. The script is heart-warming and is never too heavy or too soapy, not repetitive or talky either.

Really liked the story, the structure is different and could have been disjointed and muddled, but it was not hard to follow and it was a case of both plotlines being equally engaging and charming. The Christmassy vibe is nostalgic, while the film has lovely scenery lovingly filmed and has music that has personality without being overbearing. The Ariana Grande and Kelly Clarkson song was a very nice touch.

Overall, very well done. 8/10.
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4/10
Well, at least Hallmark went out on a stretch and tried here...
paul_haakonsen24 December 2021
Well, I have to say that the cover for this 2021 Hallmark Christmas movie at least didn't have the usual cheesy presentation that most of the Hallmark Christmas movies tend to have. So as I sat down to watch "Open by Christmas" I figured that it might actually transcend the usual Hallmark Christmas cheese.

But I was wrong. Boy, I was wrong.

The storyline written by Amyn Kaderali and Christine Conradt was really cheesy and generic, even for a Christmas movie, nay, even for a Hallmark Christmas movie nonetheless. But hey, if you enjoy these super sappy romantic Christmas movies, then "Open by Christmas" should be something for you. I, however, was hoping for a bit more than the usual Christmas sap and cheese.

The acting in the movie was adequate, but it was just difficult to get submerged into the storyline, and thus the characters felt somewhat bland and generic.

"Open by Christmas" failed to stand out in the midst of the nearly 40 Christmas movies I have sat through this year. So I do believe that come tomorrow, then I will have forgotten about director David Weaver's 2021 movie by the title "Open by Christmas".

My rating of "Open by Christmas" lands on a less than mediocre four out of ten stars.
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6/10
Open by Christmas
JoBloTheMovieCritic20 November 2021
6/10 - not necessarily anything that you haven't seen before, but this is a pleasing enough holiday flick (and the Kelly Clarkson/Ariana Grande opening song was a nice touch)
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9/10
Pay attention even from the start
Jackbv12313 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
If you are like me and watch every Christmas movie that comes out, sometimes your expectations aren't high enough and you start cruisin' on authopilot.

Oddly enough, I was just finishing up another Erica Durance movie and somehow I didn't notice she was in this. It's hard to imagine her playing second (female lead) fiddle to anyone, but maybe not to Allison Sweeney, and even then she wasn't quite second fiddle, but much closer to co-lead.

But back to my point, I may have been looking forward to an early season premiere, especially with Sweeney and Brennan Elliot, but I was distracted and floated through the first half hour. Then I woke up and realized that this wasn't going to be another simple Christmas romance, perhaps with a simple who-is-the-writer quest. There are layers in this story and the mystery is only part. In fact, if you watch a lot of these, you probably had a good idea from pretty early on, even though the story kept giving a lot of misdirection.

And beyond the mystery are the layers. A woman remembers painful moments from high school. There's a thread about BFF's. And one about an engaged couple where the man is up to something which everyone but the woman knows is something good. Then the future mother-in-law shows up and the audience makes assumptions which are quickly proved wrong. And a thread about mothers and sons which runs right along with the mother-in-law thread.

The acting is good. I've already made the case that this story is good with fresh elements and the pace is good. The dialogue is good.

This is one of Hallmark's better efforts so far in 2021 especially if you don't classify it in the same category as the ones that are more musically oriented. For that matter, it's ahead of any new ones I've seen so far on competing networks. It's still early yet, but I think this movie will remain amongst the better ones this year.
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7/10
A great heartwarming movie
Sergiodave10 January 2022
I honestly have nothing negative to say about this movie. A great TV movie about friendship, family, Christmas and love. It ticked all the boxes, the acting was great and the movie made you feel warm inside. What's not to love!
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8/10
Sweet, Romantic Holiday Drama with both friend and family love.
cgvsluis17 January 2022
Nicky is an efficiency expert with her own business in New York. She travels home for Thanksgiving where her parents break the news that they are not only retiring, but they are selling their home to downsize in order to travel. They were concerned that Nicky might overreact to loosing her childhood home as she is an only child. Nicky takes a beat but then is immediately on board and supportive of her parents who ask her to stay and help them pack everything up and have one last Christmas at their home. While packing up her room...Nicky finds an unopened Christmas card that reads more like a love note with a quote from Romeo and Juliet.

Meanwhile, on another front Nicky's best friend since childhood, Simone, is getting married. Simone is a single mom and while happy to have her best friend home for an extended period, she is a little melancholy about her son. Her fiancé is definitely up to something and she is really struggling with her 15 year old son trying to put some distance between him and his mom.

Nicky shares the mysterious card with Simone and together they try to figure out who wrote it 22 years ago. Nicky was a bit of a geek in high school...Matt competitions and embarrassing valedictorian speeches (I could relate to that). The card makes Nicky think that maybe high school wasn't as bad as she remembered.

Meanwhile through her parents real estate agent, Derrick, Nicky accidentally discovers Jeremy (the fiancé's secret)...he bought Simone her fantasy house.

This was a little different from the typical Hallmark holiday romance. There was self discovery, there was a sweet story with Jeremy's mom who was thought to be hypercritical...but ends up being sensitive enough to figure out what is making Simone sad, and figured out just the way to fix the situation with both of their sons.

Great cast, lots of chemistry...nice backdrops and Christmas decorations. I loved that their was a shop with period Christmas trees, I wish we had one of those in my town. I think it is really great to share past traditions.

This was fun and lovely. In fact it may be my favorite from 2021.

"I think your son has gone crazy."-Simone "It was only a matter of time."-Miriam.
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10/10
Fantastic!
rebekahrox21 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Once again, Hallmark is raising the bar, as this entry in the Hallmark Christmas movie sweepstakes demonstrates. Although many of their new movies follow the usual pattern, Many have not. This one, for example, features a dual story line of two best friends who have separate and different challenges to over come. It leaves the well worn and predictable path in some refreshing ways.

Simone is getting ready to marry her fiancé on Christmas. She is conflicted because her 15 year old son is growing up and, she thinks, away from her. He is bonding too almost too well with her fiancé! Both of them spend more time with each other than with her. In response, she becomes clingy and tense. To add to the strained atmosphere, her future mother-in-law will be visiting and she doesn't like her, thinking her too critical and needy (!)

Her friend, Nicky, played by Alison Sweeney who is wonderful in this, is coming home for Christmas. Right away, this one got my attention. When her parents tell her fearfully that they are selling her childhood home, instead of weeping and wailing and trying to save it, she is all for it! Hallmark indulging in a little inside self-deprecating humor? Anyway, Nicky is a confirmed single woman who finds an anonymous Christmas love letter that was written to her when she was in high school. Nicky always felt she was an outsider during her high school years and thinks of those years with embarrassment and regret. In part, it is why she has remained single. She has been afraid of rejection and never put herself "out there." The letter shows her that maybe she was mistaken in her perspective. The two friends go on a mission to find the letter writer, and Nicky learns that most of her classmates admired and liked her and her impact was positive.

Brendan Elliot, playing against type as an awkward, shy, and a little too eager real-estate agent plays Nicky's love interest. He was very winning in this role and the two have super chemistry. Lacey Chabert should be jealous. It is telegraphed right away that he is the letter writer. I will not go further into the plot as it is complex and many-layered and this review would be very long. What made it great was the unexpected ways things developed. The two friends do not pander to each other and tell each other the truth no matter how unpleasant. "Be a normal person!" They get genuinely hurt upset with each other but in the way of true friends do not let things fester. The mother in law is set up to be over-critical and unpleasant, but she ends up being supportive and gives Simone good advice. There was an interesting shocker when it is revealed that Jeremy, Simone's fiancé is the one who wrote Nicky the love letter! What?! Wait!

It was heartwarming. It was suspenseful. It had some important lessons to impart. It was humorous. "Nothing says "Christmas" like a tamale!" And best of all, there was no meaningless Christmas filler. Every scene was important and advanced the plot. There were a couple of things I could be snarky about but I won't. It was fantastic.
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10/10
Nicky Beaton (Alison Sweeney)
aab87419 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Favorite scene with

Nicky Beaton (Alison Sweeney) - Derrick finally telling her that he had given her the Christmas Card back in High School and kissing. BTW, I Loved this movie!
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7/10
One of the better hallmark films
jakethesnake-4200718 November 2021
Is it original no has it been done before yes but this time it's actually done right. First thing I hated the friend that's engaged with the kid she's so annoying why does hallmark have to have these awful characters in there films. The story I found was good and not boring but fun.
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7/10
A touch of mystery in this one...
toddsgraham30 November 2021
Some years ago, I saw the Hallmark movie 'The Irresistible Blueberry Farm', which starred Alison Sweeney. It was brilliant, and today, it is still one of my favorite Hallmark movies. So, when I saw her at the top of the bill, I was looking forward to seeing 'Open by Christmas'. And I was not disappointed. It is what I call a classic Hallmark movie: a warm and heartfelt Christmas story with a good script, superb performances, and a nice Christmas vibe. One of my favorites thus far, though we are only a few weeks into the season. The story centers on Nicky (played by Alison Sweeney) who has come home to celebrate Christmas with her family. To her surprise, her parents are moving on, retiring, and selling their home. As such, they have hired Derrick (played by Brennan Elliott) as their realtor. When Nicky finds an unopened Christmas card while packing, she and her best friend Simone (played by Erica Durance) begin their search for Nicky's high school secret admirer. At the same time, Nicky and Derrick start spending time together, getting her parents' house ready for an open house viewing by Christmas. The movie has a warm and natural flow to it. The dialogue felt authentic as the story explored some human emotions that were engaging and relatable. The writers too did a good job of intertwining the multiple storylines, though, as other reviewers have observed, this did take away from Nicky and Derrick's romance. I enjoyed the touch of mystery in this one, even though I (and everyone else, I suspect) knew who the secret admirer was from the start. The acting overall was wonderful. Sweeney, a Hallmark regular, had a very convincing performance. Elliot too was impressive. The chemistry between the two was pretty good as well, although they could have used a bit more screen time together. The supporting cast was outstanding, especially Durance's performance. Finally, the props, scenery, and sets were beautiful, giving the movie a nice Christmas feel. No meaningless Christmas filler in this one, as another reviewer observed. All in all, it is an enjoyable movie that provides some holiday warmth and a bit of Christmas spirit. Fans of Hallmark Movies and Mysteries will no doubt enjoy.
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6/10
No thrills, just kind feelings.
gfrasmd13 November 2021
The movie offers no real drama and the story is predictable, as in most Hallmark productions. It runs more like an episode of a soap opera, exploring emotions of decent people going through issues among family and friends. Do not expect strong contrasts or villains. This said, the actors are good, show real emotions and all likeable. The story is gentle, Christmas-like, credible and heart-warming. Not an outstanding film, but fair enough.
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6/10
Poor Story Development
Luvhallmark14 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I think both lead actors are very talented and have enjoyed them on Hallmark over the years but this particular movie tried to have a secondary plot line with the best friend and her fiancé and even a third one with the fiancé's future mother-in-law. To me, it was all over the place and the leads never really got to develop a true bond. The "mystery card" in my opinion was a bit silly and the writers made it out to be so monumental. I didn't feel any true chemistry between BE & AS but I think it was because they didn't share all that much screen time together. I did however enjoy the decorations, the lights and ambiance overall. I had higher hopes for this movie but sadly for me, it fell flat.
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7/10
A tiny bit better than other Hallmark movis
nhermida4 December 2021
The reason I think this movie is a bit better is that, although a very familiar story, it didn't follow the formula girl figths with guy, they make up, there's a big fallout due to a misunderstanding, they make up.
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5/10
Open by Blah
cammietime30 December 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Open by Christmas is a well-acted sitcom/soap opera type Hallmark movie with an annoyingly banal plot. Five stars for above average acting but not a single star more since the screenplay is so non-existent. Need I say more?

Ok well I will. Alison Sweeny stars as Nicky, a high power NYC consultant who is excellent at giving corporate presentations and winning business but can't find a boyfriend if her life depended on it, who knew? She goes back to her hometown somewhere in Ohio and weirdly only has one friend left back home, Simone (a very All My Children-ish Erica Durance). Sweeny lays too heavily into the Days of Our Lives method acting which drags down Durance's performance and consequently the entire film since the movie is not really about Nicky finding love - it actually is about Simone marrying her boyfriend Jeremy (Michael Karl Richards) and establishing him in the family with her son. This is so much less interesting than the marketed plot of the film - Nicky finding a 20 year old Christmas card written by a secret romantic admirer and she tries to figure out who it is.

As we watch Nicky half-heartedly try to find her anonymous high school lover Simone struggles...yawn...with incorporating Jeremy into her life. We don't really care about Simone's Lifetime Channel style drama as we didn't sign up it. At least Simone's son Anthony is superbly acted by Glen Gordon. Again, good acting, but we are still stuck with a sleepy dull meandering screenplay with a focus on the wrong storyline.

Since the film has dual female leads, we get dual male leads. Opposite Nicky is none other than GRAHAM! Idiotic Graham! In truth it is Brennan Elliot playing a character named Derrick but all you think about while watching his every scene is Quinn screaming GRAHAM! Brennan's Derrick is uber professional when he has to be but then quickly switches into a quasi creepy "Lazy salesman I'm gonna hit on you hard because I think you're hot" mode that Nicky should just brush away but for some reason is entranced by it. In every other situation Nicky sees through thinly veiled attempts at manipulation yet when it comes to Derrick...she just....eats it up? This totally undermines her character. The one time Nicky allows herself to be vulnerable by telling Derrick a humiliating story of how she sang horribly at her high school graduation, Graham, I mean Derrick, never lets her forget it with multiple singing jokes henceforth that Nicky doesn't seem to appreciate...yet she still...likes...him?

Surprise! Derrick wrote the Christmas card yet it is never explained how he was able to develop such strong feelings for Nicky in high school when she clearly has no clue who he is or has any shared history with him. He secretly gave her a very personal romantic Christmas card out of the blue without signing his name or following up on it, what was he trying to accomplish here? This makes no sense. It comes across more like he was a stalker type who had the hots for some girl he never talked to, and to inform her of this without being held accountable he gives her an unsigned romantic Christmas card. It should freak her out as much as flatter her little heart.

Anyway, Open by Christmas is worth watching once for the better than usual soap opera type acting but it won't become your favorite holiday film due to a plot even the characters are disinterested in.
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9/10
I enjoyed this movie
jnh-123-74678624 December 2021
And would of given a 10 but for the darkness of so many of the sets. Has Hallmark not paid the electric bill? OK lots of Christmas lights but the darkenss really annoyed me. Lighten, brighten up please.
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4/10
Barely about the Christmas card.
malachite-7843213 November 2021
Warning: Spoilers
Why are they advertising this as an Alison Sweeny/Brennan Elliott movie? She was in it a bit at the beginning wondering about the card and who sent it, but it seemed like it was mostly about her friend.

I don't know the actress who played the friend. I don't like when they advertise a movie and then they pull the old bait and switch and make it about something else.
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9/10
It get's a Hallmark 9
dpowelldwp14 November 2021
This is a good movie and worth the time watching. I would add more but it is a cookie cutter Christmas movie by Hallmark and it is well done though obvious. Yes, it helped that Erica Durance was in the cast - I'm still smitten since Smallville.
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2/10
Open what by Christmas
moho-4026015 November 2021
If it's the card the title is referring to, it was opened by Christmas. I felt that the subplot was the true plot--that of the best friend and her fiance, son and Christmas surprise, and what was supposed to be the main plot, secondary. I felt that Brennan Elliot was hardly in it, and he and Allison Sweeney did lack chemistry. It seems like HM is throwing actors together without testing their chemistry. I'm not sure how they decide casting, but they need to rethink this. That said, not exciting or interesting who wrote the mystery Christmas card. BE played a similar role in A Christmas Melody a few years back--a quiet type whose high school crush as no recollection of him at all in adulthood. I think he's pretty unforgettable and deserves better roles. Watch him in Cedar Cove and you'll see what I mean.
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5/10
OK performance with a surprise for me.
alandry7321 December 2021
Warning: Spoilers
What surprised me was the male romantic lead. When i saw him i said he looked like a regular real estate agent you would see at Planet Fitness. An 7.5 maybe. I even said "he ain't getting the girl..kind of a nervous agent". She kept meeting these high school athletes (typical Hallmark lumberjack 6'3" with 5% body fat) and i thought they would get her but he did at the end.. I was wrong.
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9/10
Great Ensemble Movie
steven-obrien-120 November 2021
HM is stepping up its game with this really wonderful ensemble Christmas production. There are really two co-stars, Allison and Erica - great jobs by both, but the entire supporting cast made it work. Nice work by everyone made it believable, emotional, and enjoyable. Writers delivered a winner, and the director and cast brought it to life. If you like a fuller, life-like Christmas story, you'll love this one. Postables, you have some company at last.
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1/10
Skip it
iamvirtue20 November 2021
Not in harmony with almost a decade of traditional family friendly Hallmark movies. Again. So sad. Why do they keep doing this? Don't they know that a significant percentage of their audience doesn't like it?
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10/10
Probably my favorite Hallmark movie to date
CorsairTact15 November 2021
A cute movie, all in all. I liked the dual story lines, I enjoyed the performances, and the production values were excellent. The cast all seemed to be enjoying themselves which is a big part of the pleasure of watching any production as far as I'm concerned. I liked the fact that Hallmark continues to acknowledge that gay people exist (since I'm one, it's nice to see). I'm sorry there are other reviewers who wish we would disappear. But that's more about who they than how our culture is evolving and Hallmark is following their audience, just as they've always done.
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10/10
Quite a different Hallmark story
robinstoutmigala13 November 2021
I'm not going to give anything away about this movie, except to say it flowed so naturally, not contrived. The lines were realistic and very conversational. They portrayed relatable human emotions and feelings and it was also very funny in parts. I loved the dialog. All of the actors were fabulous. I felt like a part of the families watching this movie. Lots of stories in this movie. Enjoy!
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