Films that spread holiday cheer either overindulge in sappy theatrics, albeit always with a good heart. This book-to-screen adaptation suffers no such fate and is instead, an intelligent work of film.
Christmas with Holly (2012) Hallmark Hall of Fame Review
Overnight Mark Nagle (Sean Faris) becomes a parent. Unlike most expectant parents, Mark has no preparation. His six-year-old niece, Holly (Josie and Lucy Gallina) is now his sole responsibility in the aftermath of the unexpected death of his elder sister. Now instead of managing a coffee shop and spending time with his girlfriend, Shelby (Alex Paxton-Beesley), Mark juggles fatherhood and a business. Since her mother’s death, Holly hasn’t said a word which prompts Mark to move back to Friday Harbor, away from the hustle-bustle of Seattle living.
Once there, Mark sets about making a home for Holly with his brothers, Scott and Alex (Dana Watkins, Daniel Eric Gold). Holly’s lack of speech worries everyone but Mark whose parenting
is challenged by both of his brothers, leaving Mark with little support system. Until he meets Maggie (Eloise Mumford).
Instead of rambling and boring you all with my not-so-clever use of adjectives, I’ll simply get this out of the way: I loved this movie. Based off Lisa Kleypas’ best-selling novel, Hallmark Hall of Fame does a superb job with this film. Fans of the book will have to deal with changes that consist of noticeably different pacing, series of events that don’t follow the same timeline as well as minor changes like Mark’s job being tweaked or Maggie becoming a blonde instead of a curly, redhead. The change in the script that was best was the movie centering on Holly where the book failed. I found myself wanting to “see” her so much more in the novel and it was lovely to “meet” her.
Have you ever seen a movie that enchanted you for unexplained reasons? That is the case with this charmer. It keeps me in stitches the entire two hours, and nearly brought me to tears. The film has great pace, and feels genuine. Aside from some bad lighting in the early frames, the filming compliments the acting (or vice versa). The Gallina twins are phenomenal sharing the role of young Holly. Perhaps more so than any child who has lines because they are forced to express emotion through expression without benefit of speech.
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Equal temptation is the addition of Sean Faris. He’s one of the best Christmas “leading men.” The chemistry between Sean and Eloise is sweet as we experience their relationship bloom into friendship, and end with the idea of “more” instead of a cemented promise in I Do’s.
From the opening frames of Christmas with Holly, this simple world charms me. I absolutely love the interaction between the three brothers, to say nothing of the sweet-natured flirting between Maggie and Mark. Then there are the scenes that show Holly’s attachment to the three guys in her life, as well as Mark’s greater bond with Holly and her beautiful, innocent reaction to his loving her. (If this scene doesn’t melt your heart, I’d like to know what does.)
The scenario of three guys in a little girl’s very “pink world” captures great humor for these characters. Their lines drip with character as do their actions and the film is full of charm and
charisma. It’s a special movie that took me by surprise with its witty dialogue, and yet it’s a beautiful production about learning that family is sometimes what you create. ♥
Content: there is some minor sensual flirting. Also, there’s a scene of the brothers in towels, teasing each other about their dating life. The film is TVPG.