I have seen an absurd amount of Hallmark Christmas movies. Yes, they are predictable, full of blatant product placement and a level of holiday decorating that no normal family can compete with.
Of course, things happen in these movies that defy reality, like falling in love with European princes or throwing together elaborate events on Christmas Eve with less than a week to plan. This only seems to make me love them more.
This year’s crop of festive films is no exception, so here’s my review of some of the 2021 standouts.
‘One December Night’
The daughter of one of the members of a feuding singing duo teams up with the son of the other aging rocker to reunite them on stage one last time. You can’t really go wrong with Bruce Campbell and Peter Gallagher, and the storyline was very touching. Not the hottest romance, but very sweet, and I would watch it again.
‘Next Stop, Christmas’
Did we need a “Back to the Future” themed Hallmark movie? I guess we did, because this film reunited Lea Thompson and Christopher Lloyd in a time-traveling adventure. Lea Thompson was absolutely delightful and the overall concept was fun.
Our main character gets to go back and right some wrongs of her past. I was loving the movie, but as a sci-fi buff, I have strong opinions about how to handle time travel and this ending left me a little disappointed.
This was definitely my least favorite of the year so far. I feel like Hallmark is determined to make its viewers hate real estate developers. I didn’t feel the romance, and the male lead had a daughter named Wink. It was like they kept trying to find ways to say the name Wink as if to convince us this was a totally normal preteen name. Its only redeeming quality was the s’mores on the beach.
‘My Family Christmas Tree’
As someone who checks on her 23&Me family matches monthly to see if anyone new pops up, I loved this movie. The awkward moments of fitting in a new family felt authentic, and the plot twist was one of the only genuine surprises for me this season.
I’m also a sucker for Andrew Walker and how he manages to have fabulous on-screen chemistry with whomever he is paired with. I hope the DNA companies are more competent in real life than they are portrayed in this movie.
‘Five More Minutes’
If you are looking for a quintessential Hallmark Christmas movie, this would be my recommendation for 2021. It was sweet, romantic, had a military theme, and that touch of Hallmark magic that I saw coming a million miles away but enjoyed the journey.
Nikki DeLoach always seems like that authentic best friend everyone would want to hang out with. This is a curl-up with a cup of cocoa in front of a fireplace movie.
‘Christmas at Castle Hart’
Dear Hallmark writers, I think we can put this plot in mothballs for a few years. We have seen the goofy American bluffing her way into working for royalty enough already. I love Lacey Chabert as much as the next Hallmark fan, but she could use a new storyline. Despite all of this, I’m a sucker for Ireland, and I adored the ballgown and vivacious sister.
‘The Nine Kittens of Christmas’
This is a sequel to one of my top favorite Hallmark movies of all time: “The Nine Lives of Christmas.” Hallmark doesn’t do a lot of sequels, but I’m glad they gave us more to this story of the hesitant firefighter and the quirky cat lover.
It even seemed like there was a little nod to Brandon Routh’s previous role as Superman. As you would expect, there was a great happily ever after for both the feline and human characters.
I hope you enjoy this year’s holiday films, because there are some real winners. Sit back and let Hallmark take you away from the drama of the chaotic real world and into a mask-free tree lighting ceremony.