Sunday, May 8, 2016

Crown for Christmas (2015) [TV-G] ***+

A film review by Rissi JC for on Nov. 28, 2015. Click this link for the on-line version of the review.

 Crown for Christmas, is more than a little bit cute, primarily because a familiar British face shows up in the role of leading man – and he’s a king, no less!

Life for the Evans family has never been easy. But this Christmas, life for them is going to get a little tougher. The eldest sister, Allie (Danica McKellar) and her sister both lose their jobs as hotel maids following Allie’s disagreement with their boss.

Fortunately for Allie, Fergus (Pavel Douglas), impressed by her prompt return of a valuable lost watch, and in need of a temporary governess, overhears her dismissal. This prompts a job offer as a governess working for royalty. King Maximillian (Persuasion‘s Rupert Penry-Jones) is in need of yet another nanny to corral his precocious daughter, Theodora (Ellie Botterill). Allie seems the ideal choice, at least to get the king through the holiday season. But the more Allie gets to know him and Theodora, the more comfortable she becomes in this life with a red-headed princess and her widower father.

As adorable as Crown for Christmas is, however, the fact that the entire story takes place over a matter of a few days will leave some viewers feeling uncomfortable. I personally feel this adorable, contemporary fairy tale film could have been strengthened if there had been a longer space of time between Allie’s arrival and the eventual conclusion. True, this is a fairy tale and as such starts out reaching for the stars as is, however, selling the angst and character emotions would have been more believable had the timeline been altered just a little.

With that out of the way, this new film is as smashing as any of its Hallmark peers. The Cinderella fairy tale storyline is something I never tire of whether it’s set in the contemporary or historical world. For the most part, the cast of Crown for Christmas is fantastic, and in particular, the young actress who plays the princess was delightful. This says nothing of the addition of British star Rupert Penry-Jones as the leading man. Seeing him in this will be great fun for those of you fellow period drama aficionados who will recognize Rupert as Wentworth from Persuasion and also the adaptation of The 39 Steps.

Even these many years later, one of my most favored TV Christmas movies (or one of them, for there are many) is A Princess for Christmas (starring Outlander’s Sam Heughan and Merlin’s Katie McGrath). This one doesn’t quite take its place but as with anything you sit down to watch this time of year, this is full of twinkle lights and fabulous holiday cheer. One thing I am sure of, no matter where this one falls in your personal rankings of Hallmark’s originals, this is sure to leave you with a smile.

[Blogger’s comment: Crown for Christmas is a typical Hallmark reworking of the story of wealthy/titled/royalty falling for commoner/nanny/governess, which we’ve seen countless times, from Roman Holiday (1953), The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) and The Sound of Music (1965), to Pretty Woman (1990), Titanic (1997), Notting Hill (1999), Maid in Manhattan (2002), What a Girl Wants (2003), The Notebook (2004) and The Prince and Me (2004), to name just a few. This Hallmark version washes all the tension out of the story and we’re left with a sweet fantasy, which rarely reflects what happens in real life (example: Charles and Diana). Is Allie (Danica McKellar) really going to leave her younger sister and brother, move from New York City to the tiny Western European principality of Winshire, marry its widowed monarch and live happily ever after in a huge fairy-tale castle? Oh, sure!]

Labels: Christmas, comedy, romance

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