All television Christmas flicks seem to suffer the same fate – mediocre scripts. With exception to Hallmark Hall of Fame, most of the festive movies aren’t inventive nor do they bring the best out in their actors. That being said, I still persist in my DVD collection… and love every second of it.
Love at the Christmas Table (2012) Lifetime Review
30 years ago, love between Sam Reed and Kat blossomed… or at least a friendship did when the four-year-old kids were brought together by a join business. This begins their yearly Christmases together at the children’s table. Each year the neighborhood gathers at the home of neighbor Elizabeth (Lea Thompson) who throws a celebration unlike any other and each year, the decorations take up more corners of her house.
Remembering all the Christmases gone by – including a 13-year-old Sam who crushes on an uninterested, bookish Kat, college years and the fight that kept Sam from returning home for five years – Sam (Dustin Milligan) finally returns home. This is in part with the hope that finally he and Kat (Danica McKeller) will lay the past to rest. To do this, he has one question to ask her.
Airing on Lifetime during last year’s Christmas programming, this story is actually one of the more unusual in its genre, and for that, I applaud it. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t transition to screen well. Primarily the story unfolds in flashbacks, starting with a four-year-old Sam and Kat in the 1980’s. It then comes to them as 27-year-old adults who are still in a “holding pattern.” As usual their adult lives are about them owning up to their own choices and learning to deal with them, and more importantly facing what it is they are most afraid of – what they want out of life.
Their younger years are full of teen angst, confusion and perspectives that change which is regrettably limiting to the present time frame. Although I understand why so much time is in the past. Believe me, it’s needed when it becomes clear what Sam’s intentions are. Still, I cannot help but feeling cheated out of knowing who Sam and Kat become rather than who they were. Upon reflection maybe this is best considering the ending does offer some semblance of delight at the promise of what’s to come and therefore, the unknown is better than showing us.
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Anyone who just wants festive cheer, is in for a treat. The halls are decked to the max and there isn’t a frame that doesn’t have glittery cheer. Helping to overcome this is the modern attachment of the classic Great Expectations. The theme is a bit unbelievable, but does add layers to a character and allows for a cute end that makes us want to say, “finally!” (Oh, and for the classic lit lover, there are some other references – including a declaration that put me in mind of Edward and Elinor.) Each of the conflicting elements that keep Sam and Kat apart are of the “usual” variety and same as always (sometimes you feel like shaking them and yelling, “say it!”). Instead we go through the two of them saying things that cut deep. To be fair, I suppose if we didn’t have that there wouldn’t be a movie.
There’s a lovely and genuine “silly dance” sequence silly dance, and scenes with Sam, Kat and the neighborhood kids. One of the hiccups is that the majority of the film takes place in one location; this almost makes the movie “run together.” Despite the flaws and film making flubs, one thing the script does is bring happiness and laughter to a room – and as everyone knows, laughter is the best medicine.
(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Read the disclosure page for details.)You can purchase (or rent) Love at the Christmas Table digitally on Amazon Video or on DVD! Like Danica McKeller's #Hallmark originals? Don't miss her in this 2012 Christmas romance from #LifetimeTV Love at the Christmas Table (2012) - Seasonal Romance Through the Years Click To Tweet
CONTENT: there is some sexual innuendos at various points in the film. Throughout the entire movie, characters drink various alcoholic drinks; no one ever seems to be without some sort of drink in their hand. There may be a few instances of profanity – a running gag involves a “swear jar.”