The Holiday Calendar (Film)
Kat Graham stars in this Christmas romantic comedy; a genre that has become common fare on Netflix. Graham plays Abby a struggling photographer who receives a seemingly magical advent calendar which she believes can predict her future. She finds it difficult to decipher whether the calendar is pushing her towards new guy on the block, Ty or if her old friend Josh has been the guy for her all along. This film is admittedly very cheesy, even more so than the typical Christmas rom com. Graham lacks chemistry between both of her love interests. Ty is bland and Josh seems more like a friend than a romantic partner for Abby. Graham also outshines both of her love interests in acting ability. Nevertheless, it is a heartwarming film and it is significant that the cast is largely black. If you ensure that you have low expectations, this film can be a comforting watch on a bitterly cold winter’s day.
Let it Snow (Film)
Let it Snow is a new Netflix Christmas release which is loosely based on the 2008 YA fix-up novel of the same name. The film follows the lives of multiple characters in a snowed-in midwestern town on Christmas Eve. It is almost like the teen rom com version of Love Actually but of course, it doesn’t manage to be as good. That isn’t to say that the film is not funny or moving at times but in equal measure, it has a tendency to be corny and excessive. There are many storylines, including: a girl’s chance encounter with a famous musician, a boy’s struggle to confess his feelings to his best friend and a girl’s struggle to begin a relationship with someone who won’t come out of the closet. The quality of these plot lines vary; some are moving while others will make you cringe.
Christmas Inheritance (Film)
★ ★ ★ ★
A spoiled, rich girl, Ellen, is sent by her father a few days before Christmas to the town where he first founded his successful business. (The town has a very on the nose name of Snow Falls) She agrees because he promises her that she will inherit the company if she goes on the trip. Ellen leaves a demanding, insensitive fiance behind her in New York and finds herself growing close to the charitable owner of the hotel she stays at. While it is easy to disparage all of the Netflix Christmas rom coms, Christmas Inheritance is the cream of the crop. While of course this film can be corny and the plot is obviously predictable, it does capture the spirit of Christmas. Ellen does genuinely learn during the film to be more charitable and engage with the community surrounding her. I think only the toughest cynic could not be touched by this film.
Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas
★ ★ ★
If you are only in the mood to listen to Christmas music rather than spend an hour and a half watching a film, Mariah Carey’s 2015 Christmas music special is a good option. Of course, this is assuming that you are a fan of “Miss Christmas” herself. The iconic pop diva sings traditional tunes along with some of her own original Christmas songs, including of course, ‘All I want for Christmas is you.’ Carey does not disappoint with her vocals; she even makes sure to include some of her iconic whistle notes. Do be warned though; Carey’s backlist is name dropped, as are her latest book and film releases. It would not be a Mariah Carey special if she did not make sure to promote herself during it. This special is perfect to have playing in the background as it does not require close attention but it can certainly get you into a festive mood.
Brigid Molloy Film & TV Editor