By its title alone, this film promised a lovely story, along with a swoony moment (or two). Step inside the doors of this magical place, and you just might find this and more to be true. History is Jessica’s passion. She’s good at what she does, but she wonders if she’s really making a difference. Her latest job takes her to the prestigious Plaza where she’s hired to find out history on the icons Christmases past. Also working some Christmas at the Plaza magic is Nick (Ryan Paevey), a seasonal decorator who, this year, has been hired to deck the halls of the hotel.
As Jessica (Elizabeth Henstredge) tries to put together the unique history of the past seasons, the lessons this job, and the people she meets in it, has a little bit more to teach her than she anticipated.
Christmas at the Plaza (2019) Hallmark Review
You know those romances that you read about or maybe see the promotional material and they look like a “you” kind of story? This is how Christmas at the Plaza appeared to me. When first I read about it, I thought it sounded cute even by its title alone. It immediately reminded me of Eloise at Christmastime, the adorable Disney movie about a mischievous child who lives at the Plaza. Naturally as someone who has all the nostalgic feels for that film, I loved the idea of revisiting this place in a Hallmark original. I’ll just go ahead and spoil my thoughts, and say, this one doesn’t disappoint.
One of the best things Hallmark seems to be doing is shaking up their locations. Instead of filming in Canadian cities or towns (which they still do) that are meant to pass as Chicago, or Small Town USA, they’ve also been sneaking in some on-location settings. This may be a small thing, but it’s also one that pays off. It lends an authentic atmosphere to the story, and helps to drive the story to its best potential. This film is no different.
The plaza is magnanimous, and gorgeous! There’s a kind of simple charm to the plot because of the secondary characters, one of whom is a bell hop with plenty of history with the place he works. Then, there’s all of the architectural details and of course, the seasonal décor. This place never shines so bright at it does at Christmas with all of its twinkle lights.
Then, there is the cast, all of whom, are wonderful. Seeing Ryan Paevey in any of these films is fun as he always plays a likable “good guy” character easy to root for (plus, one has to like Hallmark’s Mr. Darcy). Then there’s the new-to-Hallmark leading lady, Elizabeth Henstredge. If you’re a TV addict, you may know her from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in which she plays the lovable Jemma. I absolutely adore her in this role, and quite like her and Ryan together.
Some viewers may take a little bit of issue with the romance between Jessica and Nick as it does tend to backslide into the tropes most of the scripts have taken a step back from. That said, because of all of the things that work so well in the favor of this story, I can forgive this. Plus, the romance is just too sweet not to find heartwarming. If you are still enjoying all of the Christmas cheer that is a good movie, this one is one not to be missed. It’s one of, on a very short list, the best ones I’ve seen this 2019 season.
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Photos: Hallmark / Crown Media Press