Television movies that feature an actor with a familiar name make me curious. When it’s a Christmas movie, the curiosity goes up. Part of Lifetime’s Christmas programs, Christmas in the Bayou stars Hilarie Burton in an all-too-familiar plot yet even still, it was a pleasant one full of warmth and sense of family.
Christmas on the Bayou (2013) Lifetime Review
In this story we follow a workaholic mother Katherine (Burton) whose world is consumed with the possibility of a promotion. All at the expense of her 7-year-old, Zach (Brody Rose). With a tough school year for Zach, Katherine decides a change of pace and scenery might be just what they need so leaving the hustle-bustle of New York behind, she returns home to her Southern roots where her mother
(Markie Post) still lives… and a part of her heart may still belong.
Any television script that steps away from the normal earns points, and that is just what this movie does – albeit in subtle ways. The romance component is an interesting one. It never drifts into the cliché territory of the predictability of an unspoken relationship (the kind that has the couple “dating” without really talking about where they’re heading). This leaves the cute romantics more room to blossom. Katherine’s reluctance is clear from the beginning, and Caleb’s persistence in winning her over is charming in a perfect Southern kind of way; there’s an adorable “banter scene” between them that sparkles. The end is too abrupt for its own good, but is nothing if not happy, and leaves the characters fulfilled.
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I admire this film doesn’t use every opportunity to be “characteristic,” such as pushing an additional romance or a promised “miracle” coming to fruition; it has its own brand of sentiment. Christmas on the Bayou has enough good going for it without cluttering the script up with such unnecessary material.The acting is full of life and emotion. Hilarie Burton is wonderful, and it’s fun to see her play such an opposite role of her White Collar persona.
I like how she plays off Tyler Hilton. As a daughter and mother, each side of her personality is used, and the entire cast is equally good, especially Zach. It’s rare to find a strong cast in television scripts however this movie is the exception. This progression helps the story flow nicely (save for maybe the two-minute opening which is unpolished by comparison). Of course I also like the setting because it’s so different than the rest of its peers; i.e., a setting full of the white stuff or magic of the North Pole. Seeing characters in t-shirts and shorts may not put you in the Christmas spirit but not to worry, the movie has plenty of cheer.
If you haven’t seen this one, read about it. In Christmas favorite ranks, it’s easily among them.
(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 buy Christmas on the Bayou digitally on Amazon Video! Don't miss White Collar's and One Tree Hill's Hilarie Burton in this 2013 #LifetimeTV original! #Christmas on the Bayou - A Trip to the South & a Seasonal #Romance Click To Tweet
Photos: Lifetime TV