The tradition of Hallmark Christmas movies is one that’s longstanding. They remain the same (sweet and comforting) through the years. The one thing that has changed is the number of films that premiere each year. This year, one of those statistics is Hallmark Movies and Mysteries’ Christmas Wonderland.
Christmas Wonderland (2018) Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Review
Work is busy for Heidi (Emily Osment). She excels at her job as a gallery curator, and is the person her boss (Kelly Hu) most relies on. Just as she is working on several important jobs, her sister requires a baby-sitter. This means Heidi heads back to her small hometown of Pleasant Valley. While there, she must juggle work, and her niece and nephew, plus a revisit of her past.
Chris Shepard (Ryan Rottman) is happy in the small Pennsylvania town. He’s a math teacher and hockey coach, but what he isn’t happy about is being tasked with the job of decorating for the school’s Christmas dance. Little does he realize, his only help will arrive in the form of his ex-girlfriend, Heidi.
This plot is one that rings familiar of, what, 90% of TV films? I’d say this is accurate since TV scripts love a girl-returns-home plot. Yet, through it all, we love the familiar plot and don’t seem to mind its repeat appearance. This is true of Christmas Wonderland and in fact, this one may even be one of the best ones I’ve seen.
The character of Heidi isn’t the usual “small town girl.” She still likes her family, and isn’t “down and out” about returning to her roots. (Unless you count the run in with Chris, which she’d rather avoid.) For the most part, I think this one takes a new approach to the trope. My mother commented how much she liked the two leads together. She felt they had an easy-going and genuine banter, which really is true. There doesn’t seem to be that (sometimes) “forced” mutual feelings of “like” as some films have. Plus, it helps that these two share history. It makes the end and their feelings ring true because they actually know each other vs. a limited 2-week (or less) timeline.
Speaking of the cast, they are really quite good. I haven’t seen Emily in much, but she is from Hannah Montana and more recently Freeform’s Young and Hungry. She really suits her role quite well, and as I previously said, works really well with her leading man. No one is over-the-top-ridiculous, and instead we feel at ease enjoying the story. I haven’t seen Ryan in anything significant, but I like him. One of the co-writers, Anna White, is no stranger to Christmas films, and in fact has a writing credit from one of my 2017 favorites, Snowed-Inn Christmas (Lifetime).
If you enjoy this trope or Hallmark movies in general, don’t miss Christmas Wonderland. It’s one of 2018’s best – so far!Don't miss a 2018 @HallmarkMovie original: Christmas Wonderland – A Second Chance at an Old Dream Click To Tweet
Photos: Hallmark / Crown Media Press