Holly Nagle is a girl who has lost her mom and now doesn’t talk. Fortunately for her, her mom made sure that one of Holly’s uncles would be there to look out for her and love her no matter what in this Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Christmas With Holly.
Once the administration at Holly’s Seattle school gets tired of having to tend to quiet but uncommunicative Holly, even suggesting drugs to snap her out of it, her guardian uncle, Mark (Sean Faris) takes her back to the nearby island community where he grew up and where he has a business. He finds a home with his brothers Scott and Alex at Scott’s being-renovated house.
Meanwhile, Maggie Conway (Eloise Mumford), after being left at the altar, leaves Seattle for the island — which she visited every summer while growing up — to open her own toy store. On the ferry to the island, she first meets Mark and Holly.
What helps separate this movie from most other quiet romances are the three Nagle brothers. They are friends but have never lost that childhood competitiveness. More strikingly, they come across as regular guys. Not jerks. Not some romance novel ideal. Just guys.
Most of the movie is a gently growing romance between Mark and Maggie. This is helped considerably by the fact that Maggie has a great rapport with Holly, even coaxing out of her the first spoken words since Holly’s mother died. With prompting from her well-meaning sister to get a life, and surviving the minor obstacle of Mark’s not-ready-for-mom-time girlfriend, it’s only a matter of time before she is willing to join the obviously interested Mark in possibly making a life together.
As with all HHF movies, this is a well-made, affecting story. Other than Mark’s obviously parenting-averse girlfriend, there was no part of the movie that wasn’t pleasant to watch. That said, I do have one problem: despite the title, whether or not Christmas was included was completely beside the point. Even though it was part of nearly a fourth of the movie, it was pretty incidental. For that reason, this being a holiday movie review, I’ll have to mark down the otherwise fine story.
Like most Hallmark Hall of Fame movies, I’ll be happy to sit and watch Christmas With Holly any time I come across it. It respects both the audience and the characters and gives a family-oriented story without pandering. It may not be filled with Christmas magic, but it’s certainly still worth watching.
|3.75 of 5|