Angels and Ornaments is a familiar and enjoyable tale of an angel meddling in romance to get the two people who are perfect for one another to see that for themselves.
Corrine Nelson (Jessalyn Gilsig) is a Christmas enthusiast, singer, and just a generally good person. Dave Sheridan (Graham Abbey) is her childhood friend, owner of the music store where they both work, and is a pretty decent guy. Corrine is aching from her breakup from “bad boy” boyfriend Tim, and Dave comforts himself that even though Corrine doesn’t see him as anything more than a friend, that’s good enough for him. Still, she makes a wish over an ornament that was made by her grandfather as an expression of true love. What could happen?
Enter Harold (Sergio Di Zio), an angel who is out of time in more ways than one. His handler angel guides Harold through this last mission to earn his wings, while also dressing and acting as a man from an earlier age — fedora included. He guides, meddles, and cajoles both Corrine and Dave to put in the little bit of effort necessary for romance to ensue.
The twist is that Harold is actually Corrine’s long-passed grandfather, the love of her grandmother’s life, who died in the war. They each eventually come to realize their connection, though it cannot be confirmed (darn those arbitrary celestial rules).
In the end, Corrine and Dave couple up, and Harrold and his beloved are also reunited.
Although this romance of nice people is clearly inspired by Christmas Magic and similar stories, such as It’s a Wonderful Life, (the writer here also co-wrote Christmas Magic), it not only stands on its own, but fixes some of the earlier movie’s flaws.
Though he is somewhat anachronistic, Harold fits right into this story as both a contemporary and a person who has seen his fair share of life. It’s telegraphed pretty early that he’s actually Corrine’s long-lost grandfather, but that doesn’t matter because the characters don’t know. Harold is only hiding the fact that he’s an angel. He isn’t walking on eggshells trying to foil Corrine finding him out. In fact, she doesn’t suspect until it’s time for her to.
The ex-boyfriend, whom I referred to in my notes as “Stalker Tim”, wasn’t anything exceptional. While he was clearly an emotional manipulator/abuser, Corrine was sufficiently armed to reject him when the smooth talk broke out. In fact, Stalker Tim was even honest enough to immediately admit that the ornament Corrine thought was from him, wasn’t. She then wasted no time in calling the whole thing off…but nicely.
While some of the story machinations were a little convenient, nothing was so far in left field as to make the viewer question their suspension of disbelief.
The music was appropriate and done well. But beyond that, I have to give kudos to everyone involved in the sound editing. Even in exposition-heavy talking-head scenes, there was always background noise: sometimes barely audible music/score, sometimes traffic sounds, and so forth. The atmosphere was never dead. It’s a subtle thing, but shows the attention to craft applied to this movie.
Major props for the climax and denouement. THIS is how to wrap up a story in a satisfyingly big and floppy bow. Happy endings all around, loose ends tied up, and none of it rushed. If you are a sucker for emotional endings, have some tissues nearby.
My only real quibbles are that: the story is familiar; and the actors were too often focused on something other than the person they were speaking to. It may just be their off-screen attention point for the camera was slightly off. That’s pretty much it — and I’m digging even for those.
Angels and Ornaments is one of those movies I look forward to: a quiet, well-crafted holiday romance, with just enough fantastical elements to add some all important Christmas spirit. If you like romance, or meddling angels, or have ever wondered “if only” about the person who could have been “the one” but for some reason wasn’t — or might have been had you only been nudged — then this is a movie you want to seek out and watch.
|4.25 of 5|
For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies
Photo Credit: Copyright 2014 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Christos Kalohoridis