Alice Oscura, Featured Writer

The countdown to Christmas continues with this week’s reviews being cut down from four movies to three.

So, on with the show:

A Nashville Christmas Carol

Plot: Vivian (Jessy Schram) is a workaholic television producer who is visited by her deceased mentor. His ghost warns her that if she keeps on her current path her future will be very lonely.

Review: I recognised Jessy Schram from her days on the ABC series Once Upon A Time as Cinderella. She has a pretty, doll-like appearance that makes her perfect for these types of movies. Here her character is a perfectionist but with a soft heart. Vivian is a great big sister who stepped into a mom-like role after their father is left to raise them as a single parent. You really sympathise with the character because she has to basically grow up over night, and she sacrifices a lot to make her little sister’s childhood be untarnished by their mother’s actions. Very admirable indeed. She is also portrayed as a very loving and supportive daughter. But when it comes to her job she is extremely passionate about it, and you don’t want to cross her.

A Nashville Christmas Carol is a fun, rocking, country Christmas music extravaganza with performances from RaeLynn and Amanda Baker. Their voices melded together so perfectly it was amazing. It made the hair on my arms stand up to hear their rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”

Scram and co-star Wes Brown’s easy-going, natural style endeared us to their relationship development and you got to give it up for Hallmark and their seemingly endless Christmas decoration budget for always providing the right atmosphere and back drops to add to the season. This one will make your heart sing and crave a good ole country Christmas celebration!

Alice Claus’s Score: 7 out of 10

The Angel Tree

Plot: Writer Rebecca seeks the identity of the “Angel,” a mysterious individual who grants wishes that are placed upon a tree at Christmas time in her hometown of Pine Grove. In the process she reconnects with a childhood friend and the Christmas love sparks begin to fly.

The more that I watch these Hallmark Christmas movies the more that I find myself craving to live in a small town just to experience these over-the-top holiday-themed community celebrations. The concept reminds me of those Secret Santa gift exchange games but, in this case, you never know the identity of the gift giver. This one really brings in the true Spirit of Christmas which is giving and not looking to receive anything in return. What I liked was that most of the requests were not superficial in nature. For instance, (minor spoiler here) one family just needed the money to pay for their beloved dog’s cancer treatment. And yes, that wish was happily granted.

The story was really about doing for others just to see the happy smiles on their faces and trust me, that feeling lasts a lifetime. Jill Wagner and Lucas Bryant were an excellent pairing, and it was great to see their characters start to develop and move away from their fears and doubts. Sometimes nobody knows you better than a childhood friend who can not only call you on your crap, but stand by you when you need the support.

So, what wish would you put on the Angel Tree this Christmas?

Alice Claus’s Score: 8 out of 10

The Christmas House

Plot: Mike Mitchell (Robert Buckley) is the star of a TV show called Handsome Justice. However, upon wrapping up his current season, he finds out that it is in grave danger of being cancelled. At the same time his parents call to invite him back home for the holidays to experience a long-lost tradition for one last time. However, upon his return he realises that something is different about his parents and he discovers that his childhood sweetheart Andi (Ana Ayora) is now divorced and has moved back in with her mother bringing, her young son in tow.

Review: You cannot get more traditionally Christmas than this one. Again, we cannot keep up with Hallmark and their Christmas décor and this one’s a little winter wonderland house-style. Not a room is spared! But to a Christmas junkie like myself, it was sheer enjoyment and brilliance. If I had the money and space…man, the holidays would never be the same.

However, one must note that there is a melancholic tone to the movie when you meet Mike’s parents. Phyliss (Sharon Lawrence) and Bill (Treat Williams) seek to ground us to the reality of a couple married for a long time that has just drifted apart due to major life changes. Bill was the first to retire and become engulfed with his friends and different sporting activities to occupy the free time. However, his wife was still working, and this gap made them slightly drift apart so that when it came time for Phyliss to retire, she basically felt as though she didn’t fit into her husband’s life anymore. It is extremely sad when this happens, and we must never become so absentminded in our relationships, especially when you have been together for so long. There is a reason that it worked so well for those years. A marriage is constant work and upkeep because it takes two.

As a close-knit family, you collect a lot of stuff over the years and we all have our moments when said object would trigger a memory or two. A birthday here, an anniversary there, and even sadly a death. But the movie shows us that it is important to hold unto those memories and cherish them because it is what gives us the strength and courage to open new doors and create traditions for future generations to enjoy.

A lovely movie that you are definitely going to need a box of tissues for (happy tears of course). Because a Hallmark Christmas movie never ends on a sad note, at least that we can be assured of.

Alice Claus’s Score: 9 out of 10

For part 2 of Hallmark Christmas Presents you can click here

39AFB96D-4DEF-4DED-8DFE-3400E758CE9B Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.

I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.