Having your holiday ride home bail on you at the last minute is one of the small nightmares of college life. It’s only right, then, when someone comes to your rescue that you return the favor in kind…even if it takes ten years.
Freshman Maggie Chalke (Brooke Nevin) was in danger of missing her family Christmas when college radio DJ Mitch O’Grady (Robin Dunne) comes to her rescue. When weather complicates their journey, Mitch detours and uses his love of Christmas to help ensure Maggie has a good holiday. Sparks are clearly igniting some flames when he drops her off in time for Christmas before finishing his own trip. Maggie hoped to see what might develop, but Mitch never returned to school.
Ten years later, Maggie still works as a writer at her local paper instead of at one of the storied pillars of journalism. That paper is being bought by a media corporation and she’s told in veiled terms that she better write great stories or otherwise start writing a great resume.
Coincidentally, Mitch is the new morning host of “Good Morning with Mitch” at the local radio station — dropping from having done a similar show in Los Angeles. The years have wrested from him the joy of Christmas to the point of refusing to play holiday music on his show. This turnaround confuses Maggie.
Trying to rekindle the spark from their youth, Maggie engages on a crusade to cheer Mitch up by sending him twelve small gifts in the days leading up to Christmas as his “Secret Santa”. This soon catches the attention of Rita, the radio station’s program director, which prompts Maggie’s editor to give her the assignment of writing about it, creating a great conflict of interest in the reporter who wants to keep her job.
As the gifts continue and the series of stories gets written, Maggie’s star rises to the point where the big Chicago paper, the Telegraph Gazette offers her a job. Unfortunately, Mitch finds out who his gifter is and feels used — sapping him of his newly gained Christmas spirit. Fortunately, neither wants it all to end and they work it out. Ending with a kiss.
This was a surprisingly engaging holiday romance. The chemistry between the leads was helped by good pacing and judicious restraint with artificial complications. That isn’t to say that some of the payoffs weren’t telegraphed, but their resolutions were deftly handled.
Fortunately, the antagonists were kept under control. The minor one was the corporate VP who was the black cloud for Maggie’s paper. Having more than one firsthand experience with this sort of situation, I can say that it was done fairly accurately. Best of all, it wasn’t belabored. The other complication was with Yoga business owner Brianna, who was desperate to get her claws into Mitch. The story didn’t make her character more prominent than needed and shunted her aside no later than necessary.
The denouement was rather brief, but it did wrap everything thing up satisfyingly. As for the score…I didn’t notice it nor note its absence, which means it was pretty much exactly right.
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas isn’t likely going to be the first movie that comes to mind as a must-watch movie. It will, however, be one of those movie that you find yourself constantly finishing watching because you passed by a TV with it on and you wanted to watch that scene you like. And the next one. And the next one. The power of this movie is its series of engaging scenes. Overall, a very solid film that will be one I’ll happily return to.
|3.75 of 5|
For more movies, go to the list at: Watching the Holiday Movies
Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Ben Mark Holzberg