Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries get me, they really get me. Not only do they premiere over 20 new Christmas movies every year, but they start to air them in late October! This is the stuff that my dreams are made of. I actually like to credit Hallmark with the fact that stores and people seem to be decorating for Christmas earlier every year.
My mother and I devotedly watch every premiere Hallmark Christmas movie every year. It is a highlight of our year in fact. A personal dream of ours is to one day appear in a Hallmark Christmas movie, even if only as an extra. These movies transport us to a different place. They are like two hours of living in a mug of hot chocolate or a human-size gingerbread house. The coziness is unparalleled. I love the fact that the actors are most of the time familiar faces from previous years’ Christmas movies. It all creates such a feeling of home, comfort, warmth and joy.
I’ve decided this year to write up my own recaps and reviews of the movies as I watch them. I have to admit, I’m a bit behind but I have the seven that have aired so far on my DVR and so will catch up quickly. I will be honest in these reviews. If I don’t particularly like one of the movies, I will say it. (Hello, “Christmas Festival of Ice” from last year.)
My first review will be of the first movie to air this season, “Christmas at Pemberley Manor”. Ok, so let’s just start with the fact that not only is this a Hallmark Christmas movie but it is a Hallmark Christmas movie roughly based on Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice”. I mean how much better could anything get?!?! The movie is set around the small town of Lambdon, Connecticut’s annual Christmas Fair. (After watching this movie, I want my town to start a Christmas Fair. Gonna see what I can do about that for next year :)). The newly minted town mayor calls in his old friend and still-crush, Elizabeth Bennett to organize the Fair. She works for an event planning company. Mr. William Darcy just so happens to be arriving back in Lambdon to sell his uncle’s family home, Pemberley Manor. The town doesn’t want Pemberley sold but Mr. Darcy is a bottom-line kind of guy, committed to pretty much only his work and is going to go ahead with the sale. Pemberley Manor is a character in this story. The location scouts picked an absolute stunning and very authentically New England-looking home for it.
One thing I especially appreciate about this movie is that the initial friction and combativeness that most heroines and heroes start out with in romantic movies wasn’t really there in this one. There was a moment of it but it was soft and the characters were still kind and respectful and for most of the movie, there was only genuine warmth and kindness between them. A lot of that is due to the superb performance by Michael Rady. His Mr. Darcy could have gone either way. He could have chosen to say the same lines as an aloof and unfeeling man but he infused his dialogue with a true warmth and goodness. His eyes alone conveyed and held so much emotion. He was so like-able and really made this movie for me. (Side note: He was also excellent in “A Joyous Christmas” last year on Hallmark).
The drama that was created to create a barrier to the two protagonists getting together was handled well, it wasn’t too far-fetched or ridiculous as it sometimes can be. I give really high marks to this movie. It is a really beautiful, sweet story. Hallmark started its Christmas season off with a bang. I’m hoping there’ll be a sequel to “Christmas at Pemberley Manor” next year where we get to see what Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have done with the house. In my mind they live there year-round and Elizabeth runs her own event planning business out of the home!
Stay tuned for my next review!