Holiday Watch: The Christmas Card

Cody Cullen is a soldier who returns from his latest tour to find the setting for an anonymous Christmas card he received while in-country. His adventure grows when he’s smitten by Faith Spelman; the woman who, unbeknownst to him, also happens to be the writer and sender of that card. What could go wrong?

Happily, only one part of this movie hits a sour note, and that can easily be passed by if you aren’t watching live. That aspect is the complication of the absentee long-time boyfriend. I’m not complaining about the conflict of having the rival suitor. What I minded was the sort of fellow that was used as our hero’s nemesis. But let me set the scene a bit.

Faith helps at her father’s lumber company. She’s very common-sense, hard-working, and giving. She values family and wants to stay by them. The long-time boyfiend, Paul, is a globe-trotting wine broker who is happiest on the move while enjoying the “fine things” that live has to offer.

My one problem with this movie is that Paul doesn’t fit. Every time he drives up in his compensating-for-something car, it’s like fingernails on a blackboard. It’s all but impossible to see why Faith would have ever given him the time of day, much less moon about him.

The film would have worked completely if the boyfriend made better sense; if the boyfriend was a plausible partner for Faith. This would have given the audience more of a stake. Instead, it’s obvious from the beginning (because it’s italicized, bolded, and underlined) that this is the cliche jerk boyfriend who will be dumped at the last minute. Paul would have fit better in a more comedic film. I don’t blame the actor for this but the screenwriter. It wasn’t an ideal choice.

As I said, that’s really the only flaw of the movie. The Christmas Card is otherwise an adult romance (meaning that people are acting as adults and not lovesick youths) which combines a love a family, of place, of honor, and of love. This is a portrait of America that is very Rockwellian but stays safely away from being a parody. It’s just a really good holiday movie and a lovely portrait of how Americans want to think of themselves.

Except for Paul.

The Christmas Card is on my shortlist of movies that I very much look forward to watching….especially when I have a fast-forward option available for the few times it’s necessary. Ed Asner is realiably Ed Asner-y. Alice Evans and John Newton are well paired as the leads–you can’t help but want to root for them to get together.

3.75 of 5 

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

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