Now and again, Hallmark produces something that holds back on the smiles. This year, their offering is Once Upon a Christmas Miracle.
Once Upon a Christmas Miracle (2018) Hallmark Movies and Mysteries Review
Nursing school and juggling the family traditions keeps Heather Kruger (Aimee Teegarden) busy. What she doesn’t realize is that her tiredness is actually triggered by an auto immune disease with no cure or cause. What she does require immediately is a liver transplant, the odds of which are slim; unless the family can find a living donor. Equipped with social media and a phone, her sister sets up a campaign to ask people to be tested, and her parents make dozens of phone calls. When their list runs out, it would seem they are out of options.
Chris Dempsey (Brett Dalton) is a military veteran home for the first time in five years. He’s glad to be back, but also restless. He’s ready to accept another mission, to continue to do good things. His future plans may include an overseas job, but before he gets the job, he learns of Heather’s plight. When he discovers they’re a match, their lives become intertwined in ways neither one anticipates.
Hallmark is known for their breezy romantic comedies, but each year, they have at least one emotional roller coaster drama. Normally this is their Hallmark Hall of Fame production, but this year, one of them is this original. It’s a story that actually would fit very well under their ‘Hall of Fame’ banner. The movies inspired by true stories are always the most poignant, and this script is no different. Inspired by the real-life of Heather and Chris, Hallmark admirably tells their story with class and grace.
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Though it’s a tiny bit heavier than the typical Hallmark Channel original (which is why its home is their ‘Movies & Mysteries’ channel), this film still delights. It’s an emotional portrait of the strength of family (happy and sad), and of course, continues its tradition of festive cheer. Heather’s attitude is to be admired, and I love that there is strength even in worry. Once Upon a Christmas Miracle is more hopeful than it is sad, and that’s a quality I appreciate.
Though neither one of them have been in a Hallmark production (that I remember), both Aimee and Brett are fantastic. You many know Aimee from shows like Friday Night Lights, Star-Crossed (CW) or the Disney film, Prom. Brett you’re sure to recognize from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and in this he plays a 100% different character from what he ends up being. It’s a good thing, trust me. The quality of their acting is impressive, especially Aimee. This is really the first “adult” role I’ve seen her tackle, so it’s nice to see
If you enjoy films with purpose and romance, you’ll enjoy Once Upon a Christmas Miracle. It’s a wonderful addition to Hallmark’s line up, and is sure to please those who want something with a bit more substance. It’s still got plenty of holiday charm, and of course, the romance is really special.
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Photos: Hallmark / Crown Media Press