Another day before Halloween, another recap of a Christmas movie. This was the third one I watched and I was just so happy to be on the couch, polishing off a bag of Twix Popcorn while I watched this movie. But you’re not here for that, so let’s get into it.
Margot is a famous classic pianist and she is on the phone with her sister while her sister is trying to load up the car to head to wherever they’re going for Christmas. So, Kate, the sister is just chit chatting away while they’re trying to get going. My husband would be (and frankly, has been) SO THRILLED if I was doing that while we were trying to get out the door. But Margot is obsessing about a review she received that said she had no heart in her performance. Also, she’s a busy workaholic pianist and so she can’t make it for the big family Christmas gathering.
Then Margot heads to piano practice at the theatre. The lights literally start exploding and then water starts pouring through the roof. So maybe she won’t be playing there.
At a hotel that is at once incredibly fancy and wintry, old college buds Jackson and Adam meet up. Adam is the PR manager at the hotel and is scrambling to salvage the hotel’s; excuse me, the Chateau’s Christmas concert. So far, the director quit and so did most of the performers for various reasons. So, he needs his old college pal and now current music professor to help! Jackson is like, so busy at the college during what must be winter break, but Adam twists his arm.
Kate and Margot’s mother ask Kate’s daughter what to get her mom for Christmas. Bless this simple girl’s heart, she suggests a pony. She is TOO OLD to suggest a pony for her mother, okay? The fam is all having a lovely lunch at the Chateau. Margot makes it! Since her theater practically burned down with her inside it, all her concerts got cancelled. So she is ready to celebrate Christmas with her family. I hope there is room for one more! The pianist playing in the lobby or dining area or whatever that is sees her, stops playing, and immediately rushes over to introduce himself. He is a huge fan. He then invites her to play the piano instead. I don’t know much about playing piano in hotel lobbies, but I just feel like it doesn’t work that way. Nevertheless, soon she’s over there playing.
Jackson and Adam are having a lovely power lunch when they hear the piano. Who is that playing? Adam is like, I don’t know. I just work here. They walk over and immediately all recognize each other. They all went to college together! Even though Margot is clearly ten years younger than them. No matter. They briefly catch up and Margot brings them over to say hello to her family. Jackson accidentally spills they are exes. DRAMA!
Later, Margot is playing piano with her niece in…wait, is that their hotel room at this Chateau? With approximately 25 lit Christmas trees and other decorations? I gotta tell you, this takes me back to my early Hallmark watching days. My family and I spent many a Christmas in similar suites at the Sleep Inn in Minot, North Dakota. I wonder if this Chateau is connected to the town shopping mall?
Anyway, Margot admits to her sister that the critic was right about her-she has lost her passion for playing.
The concert bros face another dilemma. Their star vocal performer now has laryngitis. They are in a real pickle now. Adam finally wonders whether they shouldn’t ask Margot. Jackson is very against that of course. You know, because of “their history.”
Later, without changing out of that sweater, he has a meeting with his boss at the college about the Music Department Chair job. She says they have a lot of great candidates and they will let him know. He tells her he is organizing a concert at the Chateau on Christmas…Day? Eve? Anyway, she is intrigued.
So, now with those stakes raised, Jackson decides to bribe Margot into performing. He gets her a hot chocolate and a box of chocolates. Jackson, you’re alright! And he thinks maybe it would give her the joy she once had performing. It doesn’t work though. 9 days is not enough time to prepare for heaven’s sake!! And now, I just want to be clear about something…her family is already here…at this hotel. Staying in that suite…for an additional NINE DAYS. Yes, I did just capitalize and italicize those words. Because it’s all hitting me right now. They are essentially having an upwards of $10,000 staycation? In this economy?
Back in that suite, her whole family is like, no you should definitely perform at the concert. She continues to obsess over the review. Even her brother in law, who has about 5 lines total, pipes in to say she should do it. But Margot’s mom knows there’s more to it than no prep time. So they get into what happened between Margot and Jackson all those years ago.
The mom pep talk must have worked because the next morning, those concert boyz are just giddy about being back in business.
Margot arrives at practice to discover she is the ONLY performer. Well that isn’t going to work because despite her planning to play a bunch of solo Christmas concerts over the next few weeks, she only has one song prepared. So she and Jackson start to strategize about how to get more performers. Then they kind of rehash their relationship and Jackson wonders if Margot feels like she owes him. She does not. Oh. Regardless of all that, Jackson offers to give Margot a ride back to the Chateau. They realize they both have similar errands to run later so they agree to do them together.
Okay, where are they decorating cookies? Is this like a hotel sponsored event? The girls gab about Jackson. Her mom says they were meant for each other. Then Jackson arrives, fully committed to wearing sweaters through this entire film apparently. The girls invite him to stay and decorate but then immediately leave. This is completely unnecessary though, since Margot and Jackson were already planning to spend time together. Also, these ladies just have no chill. Can you guys just be cool?!! Jackson proceeds to get VERY RUNNY red frosting all over himself. I didn’t think someone could be so bad at using frosting and I’ve been frosting sugar cookies with SMALL CHILDREN for the better part of 4 years. They give up on that endeavor and head to wherever they were going to run errands.
They end up at a music shop. The grouchy owner is just jamming out on his violin. Margot recognizes him as a member of the famous classic “Lafayette Quartet.” But, as so many classic bands do, they broke up many years ago and haven’t spoken since. Jackson and Margot try to persuade Sam, the owner to get the gang back together. They go out for coffee and Sam gives them the long sordid history. Fame and greed got the best of them and they lost their way, as so many classical quartets do. Just kidding. Actually Sam and his bandmate Sarah had different goals in life-he wanted to stay out on the road and she wanted to start a family. Hmmm…that hits home a little, doesn’t it MARGOT??!! So Sam is positive that neither Sarah nor their only other living band mate Len will agree to perform. He wishes them the best of luck.
Later, Margot and Jackson rehash their breakup yet again. But it ends up being a nice chat. Margot’s sister is waiting up for her on the couch. Now if that was a pull out couch, it would be like looking back in time to our own Sleep Inn Suite’s pull out couch, were my brother spent many a Christmas break while I was kicked to death by my sister in one of the queen beds.
The next morning, Margot helps herself to the lobby piano to practice. Sure, those are for anyone to play on. Her mom is like, you know, that critic was right. You’re playing just fine but you don’t have any heart in your music. ENCOURAGEMENT!
Jackson shows up and he wants to convince Sarah to get the quartet/trio back together to play. Then Margot’s mom also invites him to go shopping with them later. Jackson is like, oh shopping sounds SO FUN. Thanks.
They just show up on Sarah’s MASSIVE doorstep. She is a little weirded out (understandably) but recognizes Margot so she lets them inside. Inside Sarah’s massive home, I count about 20 Christmas trees in the living room ALONE. They chat about Sam and the gang and Sarah says if they can get Len and Sam on board, she’s in. Oh and did she mention she’s single? So, now they’ve just got to get ol Lenny and they’ve got a stew going.
They inexplicably call Len from a gas station. What, he doesn’t deserve an in person visit? Luckily for them, he’s on board if the other two are. So I think they’re in business. But now they’ve got to circle back to Sam and see if he’s really on board. Instead of immediately going to see Sam, since the clock is still running on this concert, they go shopping at some outdoor Christmas marketplace. Adam calls in a panic. He has to think of something UNIQUE to have at this concert that like…represents the Chateau. Jackson and Margot inadvertently volunteer to take care of that. But he is STOKED to hear they might get the Lafayette Quartet/Trio.. How has everyone heard of this local classical music quartet?!
They finally go back to Sam’s music store and bring in the big guns-SARAH IN PERSON. They are just so happy to see each other. Margot and Jackson creepily stand off to the side during this little reunion. They finally think better of that and decide to give Sam and Sarah some space. They wander around that Christmas market place and then, disappointingly drink apple cider by a fire. If you know me, it’s hot chocolate or it’s NOTHING, okay? Margot says that little reunion has stirred up old feelings, but they don’t get into that. BUT Jackson DOES grab her hand. So things are really HEATING UP! Sam calls to tell Jackson they are officially IN for the concert. So I’d say things are really going well all around.
Okay ARE THEY FOR REAL ALL STAYING IN THIS HOTEL in THIS SUITE FOR 10+ days. They are decorating an additional tree in that room with ornaments seemingly brought from home. WHAT IS HAPPENING. They pause and reminisce over a special ornament that reminds them of their dad. Kate’s husband keeps himself busy in the background. And uh oh…we’ve got a decorating montage! Lots of draping that small child with garland happening here. Margot also announces she has an idea without any context but doesn’t share any further details with her family.
Margot heads to rehearsal. Jackson makes a slightly snippy comment about their suite. Look, we’re all thinking it, okay Margot? She reveals her grand idea and I really hate it. She suggests decorating the event space with the Chateau’s signature snow globes they sell in the gift shop and giving them away as a party favor. I’m fine with that. She also suggests turning it into a dinner. Jackson is like OMG that is an amazing idea. YOU GUYS. If they didn’t have enough time to even PRACTICE for this concert, how are they going to suddenly turn this concert into a dinner? Did they have that much wiggle room in the margins on those tickets that they can suddenly include dinner? No. I’m sorry. Also, all the hotel guests have been listening to Margot play in the lobby for free all week while they eat. So how is this different? Anyway, no one else seems bothered by these issues so I’ve got to let it go.
Then the Lafayette gang show up and they realize they sound TERRIBLE without a cellist. Well, guess what boys, JACKSON IS A CELLIST. Shouldn’t he play with them? No, he is too busy directing the concert’s 2 other performers. No way…alright, twist my arm. They jam out and have a lovely time. Then Margot goes all out and invites Jackson to the tree lighting with her.
Later they stroll through the market or whatever that is and he talks about how he got into teaching.
OKAY NOW THEY ARE MAKING…Yes, MAKING WREATHS IN THEIR SUITE. And we are all just supposed to be okay with this? HOW and WHY did they pack all this stuff? I’m going to lose it. But it gives us a chance to witness a SECOND montage. And this one includes a snowball fight with some of the worst fake snow I’ve seen thus far.
And now it’s tree lighting time. Jackson and Margot have a nice moment but then immediately decide to leave. They talk more about their relationship and then abruptly say goodnight.
Margot then plays the piano in what I can only imagine is the middle of the night and wakes up her whole floor.
Alright, it must now be the day of the show. Or close to it. Adam is elated to share with Jackson that Evelyn March will be there to review it. Oh no. That’s the critic that said Margot didn’t play with heart! Boy, they are really in a pickle now. Jackson decides he has to tell her.
Kate and Margot are leaving the Chateau dining room after breakfast presumably stuffed to the gills. That really takes me back to that first year at the Sleep Inn. There were crockpots FULL of homemade oatmeal and biscuits and gravy, store brand coffee and other homemade classics in their partially finished breakfast nook. I imagine breakfast at the Chateau was very similar.
But then, Margot runs into Evelyn March and her husband. Margot makes it SO AWKWARD for all of them because she quotes Evelyn’s review back to her.
Later, Margot has nice moments with her mom and with Jackson. She and Jackson ultimately decide they’ve had a nice time together but it will never work out. DUMMIES. So now it must be Christmas morning? Is this all the same day? They all exchange gifts. Margot gets the best gift of all-a chocolate piano. And then her niece asks her to play Oh Holy Night, which I forgot to mention is a very special song to their family because her dad used to play it every year.
Now it is CONCERT TIME. Margot looks adorable in her red dress but she forgot her necklace. In a bit of manufactured drama, she runs back upstairs to get it and drama queens Adam and Jackson assume she has bailed on the show. She comes back and is like, can you guys honestly chill? She tells Jackson she is going to play a DIFFERENT SONG THAN WHAT IS IN THE PROGRAM. Oh boy. Jackson trusts her though. Hmmm… I wonder what she is going to play.
So guess what Margot plays? Did you guess O, Holy Night? Well you are spot on, Missy. Did you also guess she would dedicate the song to her dad? Okay, well even I did not suspect that part. Evelyn is so impressed she raises her eyebrow.
After the show, Jackson finds out he got the coveted Music Department Chair job. Evelyn congratulates Margot on finding her heart again. Margot is like, well as long as I just play O, Holy Night for the rest of my life, I should be good there. Then Jackson asks Margot if she’d like to judge a music competition he wants to put together. Surely that wouldn’t be a full time job? No. Not going to be spending 10 days in a Chateau Suite on THAT salary. Then Margot pulls all the stops and says SHE LOVES JACKSON. Now they DO HAVE THE SAME DREAM. They commit to making things work and they KISS. Whew. We did it you guys.
So, overall take-I liked this movie. It was a lot of fun. I like both the lead actors. There was BIG CHRISTMAS ENERGY in this one too. And truly, my mom and I laughed a lot as we reminisced on our days at the Sleep Inn. We spent many great Christmases there, even though we never made any wreaths or brought ornaments from home. I have a feeling this one will check a lot of Checklist boxes too. Let’s see. Alright, we’re at a 7/20. Not bad! Tell me what you thought in the comments!
- Workaholic too busy for Christmas (Yes, she says she always has concerts at Christmas)
- Christmas Pageant…Concert is the same thing right?
- Christmas Tree Lighting
- Christmas baking (or, cookie decorating. close enough!)
- Snowball fight
- I feel like Margot’s mom and sister count as wise friends here.
- Christmas montage