Holiday Watch: ‘Tis the Season for Love

During the Christmas season, a struggling New York actress returns to the small hometown she once left behind to follow her dreams of performing on Broadway. Feeling that she's failed everyone's expectations, she hides the reality of her difficult life from her former high school friends, until she finds herself opening up to a very special old acquaintance. When they start to fall for each other, she must decide if chasing her dreams in the big city can really compare to the unexpected happiness-and love- she's found right at home.  Photo: Sarah Lancaster, Brendan Penny  Credit:  Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer:  Bettina Strauss

“Never give up.” “Know when to quit and start anew”. “Hold on tight to what you’ve got.” “Keep reaching for a star.” Finding the right path is easy for some, not so easy for others. Beth has found herself on the not-so-easy path and is at a loss for what to do next.

Following the closing of another of Beth’s minor plays, Beth’s roommate, Nicole, springs for tickets so Beth can go back to her hometown to spend the holidays with her mother. It seems it’s her first time back in years since leaving for the lights of Broadway.

She find her ex-boyfriend is now married and a parent. His brother, Dean, however, is quite available and rather smitten. Slowly being drawn into the town’s hominess, Beth allows herself to become smitten as well. Her agent telling her she didn’t get the Mamet play, and then dropping her, makes Beth wonder if settling down is what she’s supposed to do.

Predictably, once they’ve gotten close enough to start talking about the future, Beth gets a call that events have happened to allow her to be a part of the Mamet play — albeit as the understudy for the never-misses-a-performance lead. It takes just one day back in the Big Apple for her to hightail it back home — to Dean, the kids at the school she’s been directing, and setting down roots.

‘Tis the Season… is what happens when you cross previous holiday movies Fir Crazy and The Christmas Pageant. It does little to stand out from the crowd, but, more importantly, it does nothing to drive you away. While the story is fairly predictable (I wrote, “She’ll leave new love when she suddenly gets the Mamet play” very early in my notes), it’s executed well. The score helps a lot. It only becomes noticeable once or twice, but throughout, the lightness of the mood it sets keeps the story bright instead of melancholy. I really appreciated that.

Small kudo to Nicole, the roommate. Though a bit in her own bubble (what…your large NYC apartment doesn’t have a second bedroom so you have to let your adult roommate literally sleep on the couch?), she is a good friend to Beth when Beth needs one the most.

The antagonist is probably the weakest part (that and one little-too-long exposition sequence). It’s Beth’s struggle: not against anything other than herself. In some ways, this actually makes this more personally relevant — after all, not reaching our goals is probably more common than some evil rich dude making our lives miserable because the holidays make them particularly evil. One thing I’m especially thankful for is that the return to NYC was very brief and didn’t take time away from the climax.

It’s fair to say the ‘Tis the Season for Love isn’t the greatest Christmas movie ever made. It does, however, have a sincere heart, and that helps it rise above the merely mediocre. Not every movie has to be loud or dark or obvious or melo-romantic. Sometimes what you need is a decent story told decently. That’s this movie. Just like its characters, it’s just likable. Give it view if you can.

  
Story:★★★¼☆ 
Acting:★★★★☆ 
Antagonist:★★¾☆☆ 
Denouement:★★½ 
Overall:★★★½☆ 
3.5 of 5 

 

For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies

Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

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