Alright, Picture a Perfect Christmas premiered on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, November 9. I am going to put this title up there as one of the more terrible Hallmark movie titles this year. But it actually also makes sense as the title. Doesn’t make me hate it less.
The movie begins with a truly picture perfect family opening presents on Christmas. We quickly realize it is a photo shoot and Sophie, our lead, is the photographer. They’ve got all they need so she’s done. She gets a call from her agent that this ski company wants to book her for a shoot in the Alps after the New Year! But what is she going to do in the meantime? She’s usually so busy photographing over the holidays. Her agent tells her to enjoy Christmas and hang out with her boyfriend. Well, that’s going to be a problem isn’t it? This poor unassuming soul doesn’t know he’s in the beginning of a Hallmark movie and he won’t make it out alive…or as Sophie’s boyfriend or whatever.
They are meeting for dinner. Brent just got back from some crazy photo shoot and just got booked on another one! But he’s going to miss Christmas! He’s like, since when do you care? You only have one Christmas tree and one sad strand of garland on your mantel. You don’t even care about Christmas.
Next we meet David and Troy. Looks like a dad and his son at the coffee shop. They are trying to find a nanny or babysitter to watch Troy during Christmas break. Thy can’t ask Mrs. Griffiths, their elderly next door neighbor, because she hurt her foot and can’t walk on it. But Troy really likes her. They are stuck that evening though, so Troy goes over there. He helps her with some decorating and her dog, Riggs. He sees a picture of Mrs. Griffiths with Sophie! He asks who it is, and she says it’s her granddaughter. And then we learn that David is Troy’s uncle.
Back at her house, Sophie gets her lone box of Christmas decorations out to spite Brent and feels nostalgic. She calls her grandma and learns she has a broken foot! Since she has the time, she decides to go out to Bainbridge, Washington for Christmas and to help her grandma.
She tells her agent this and the agent is like, you’re helping with a pageant? I didn’t think those were real. Well, guess what girl? They’re not real. You’re in a Hallmark movie. Ain’t nobody got time for pageants out here in the real world.
When Sophie gets to Bainbridge it’s snowing. And I just don’t think it snows much in Bainbridge, WA. Unless Bainbridge is different than Bainbridge Island. And no, I’m not going to bother to do any research. I’ve got Hallmark movies to watch and judge! I don’t have time to fact check.
David is waiting for the prospective nanny he is going to interview. She is late. Grandma Louise tells Sophie she’ll just need some help around the house and driving her to the Christmas pageant planning meetings. Oh! Troy, the next door neighbor, left his hat here. Can you just take it over there real quick Sophie? He NEEDS it. GRANDMA LOUISE DOESN’T TAKE A SECOND OFF. Even on her broken foot. She is GETTING WORK DONE.
David is very huffy when Sophie arrives. He asks her if she’s CPR certified and if she likes kids and way too many more questions before Sophie tells him she’s just here to drop off a hat. Troy recognizes her from the picture. Sophie immediately starts trolling David and it’s great. Troy wants to help walk Riggs, the dog. Sophie says he can come along and asks David for his number. Love truth telling scenes like this. Sophie continues to tease David for grilling her like a nanny. Sophie goes all in and gives him her business card too. HOPE SHE GOT A GOOD DEAL ON VISTA PRINT.
They go on their walk and see a flyer for the pageant. They decide to stop by. Sophie is snapping pictures as they go. At the pageant venue, they meet a nice older man, Simon, who is helping out with the pageant. He encourages Troy to audition for the pageant.
The prospective nanny shows up and she is hilariously the worst. She says the reason she is late is “cars.” But also, it’s Seattle so that is actually a great way to explain herself. David politely shuts the door in her face.
When Sophie and Troy get home, Sophie asks if Troy can stay and help them do even MORE Christmas decorating. David is so appreciative.
Sophie and Louise talk about her current boyfriend. Louise has basically already made up her mind about Sophie’s future so she doesn’t really care to hear about Brent. Louise shares a little about her life with her now deceased husband. And that’s kind of nice. She also gives Sophie some background on Troy and David. David’s brother and sister-in-law died in a car accident. They’ve had a rough few years since then. David comes back to pick up Troy. He says he has to take Troy to work tomorrow because the nanny didn’t work out. Sophie asks David to talk outside and she offers to watch Troy. What else is she going to do? Hang out with her boring, crippled Grandma? I didn’t even see a TV in that house. David finally agrees to accept her offer of free child care.
The next morning, Sophie has a quick phone call with her boyfriend before he runs off on a helicopter. I’m pretty sure she is still in her pajamas when David drops Troy off in the morning. Poor David has on two different shoes. But they are tan and black so he must be really delusional.
He seems slightly late for work, but his bro Ross has him covered. He brought “Christmas” danishes to work. David mentions Sophie and Ross asks if she’s cute. Are you 12? He asks. Ross replies, sometimes! So Ross is all of us.
It’s pageant audition time. Louise meets Simon. Are there going to be TWO love stories in one movie? Troy auditions but is very shy and nervous. Sophie and Louise cheer emphatically for him. They call David. Troy was cast as Reindeer #5 and he couldn’t be happier. They are going to buy some toys for the toy drive and David wants to come! They all head to the toy store. David and Sophie bond while they shop. They talk about their careers and it’s really great.
Troy and Grandma Louise tag in and out, working as a TEAM for these two. She ends up getting roped in to getting a tree with the boys the next day. They realize what Grandma and Troy are doing and they dismiss the idea of them dating. Okay guys.
So the next morning, Sophie and her grandma talk more about Brent and how there’s nothing happening with David. But she will still go tree shopping. Just lower your expectations, Grandma!
They head out to the tree farm. Sophie knows a weird amount about trees. After selecting the tree, they speak my love language and decide to get hot chocolate and donuts. Troy downs his hot chocolate and asks for more. Sure, I’ve got money to burn on coffee shop hot chocolate! Here’s $10. Go buy more hot chocolate in a glass mug. Sophie and David have another great conversation. Boy, they’re really bonding aren’t they?
But then, David’s old girlfriend shows up? She’s so happy to see David. They should catch up! And it is from this angle that I really see David’s haircut for the first time and I am…undecided. Are the 90s back for men? Or what is happening with that shaggy poofy look?
As soon as they get home, Sophie sees she has a voicemail and her agent texted her that it is good news. David is so excited for her, he makes her listen to it right there. Surprise, surprise. She got the alps job! David is genuinely so happy for her and they hug. But, who just so happens to show up right then? Brent. He comes over and is actually really nice but obviously territorial and pees on David’s car. But then, he offers to help him take the tree inside. Sophie reminds him that he can’t pee on trees once they’re in the house.
They all eat dinner together and Brent chats away. He’s got all kind of stories. After dinner, he tells Sophie he has ANOTHER JOB after this one. Sophie realizes that’s not what she wants and ends things. WHAT! We’ve got an hour left! This is unconventional. She sends him out into the cold, dark night. Then she and her grandma have another lovely chat about relationships.
The next morning, Ross is over at David’s house. Sophie stops by to pick up Reindeer #5. Ross shares with us that David was Seattle’s Best Business Bachelor a few years ago. And he did a photo shoot and everything. Is this really something towns are categorizing? How many industries select their best single guy?
At practice, a fellow mom asks which boy is Sophie’s. She claims Troy as her own. They get hot chocolate after practice and just laughing it up. Her agent calls. What if Sophie stays in Bainbridge?
Back at home, David doesn’t want to ask Sophie to babysit for lunch the next day because it is a personal lunch. Oh, he’s asked ol Jodi to get together eh? What an idiot. They are going to decorate David and Troy’s tree. David and Sophie go up to find the tree decorations box. It is in a room that still hasn’t been unpacked. It is too hard for him to go through his brother’s stuff. And he has a Charles Dickens Christmas collection. How many Christmas stories did Charles Dickens write? I’m 90% sure it was just that one book. Again, I am not going to bother looking it up. They have an emotional moment looking in the box. David says he benefited from Toy Drives as a kid. Troy finally yells up at them, wondering what is taking so long. And now it’s time for a Christmas tree decorating montage.
Sophie is using the flash on her camera and is blinding Troy and David right and left. For some reason, the dog is over there too.
They flash the exterior of the house and I realize there is a GIANT GOLD NUTCRACKER on Grandma Louise’s porch. What is going on with that? How on earth did she get that put out? Where does she store it? Where did she buy it? I definitely am going to get one. Troy is over at their house frosting cookies. With a paintbrush. He is doing a terrible job, but the finished ones look perfect. Sophie has a cute half apron on. Sophie and Louise talk about how David is not on a date right now.
At lunch, Jodi tells David she is engaged. And then she really puts him in his place about their relationship from before. She seemingly waits until they are all done eating and all they have left is a cupcake each to break this news to him. She then asks about Sophie and doesn’t believe him when he says there’s nothing going on.
When he gets back, he invites Sophie to go ice skating. Oh, here we go. The ice is covered with Christmas decorations. You can barely skate. She’s got her hand on his arm. And she finally tells him that she broke up with Brent. Then they make all kinds of plans for after Christmas. David invites her to eat dinner with them. A puzzle montage! That’s new. Really hard to make doing a puzzle look interesting. Sophie blinds the boys again with her flash. David puts Troy to bed. Sophie comments on how she likes the song playing and oh no. Oh please don’t. And they’re slow dancing in the living room. I couldn’t feel more awkward if I was standing there in the room with them. They DON’T KISS because David doesn’t keep his phone on silent for some reason. And then he doesn’t even walk her home.
David is still working on an app idea and he thinks he’s come up with something. The next day he shares the idea with Ross. It’s an app that helps connect people that want to give at Christmas with people who need stuff. Remember that Hallmark movie that was based all around a dating app or something like that? I just feel Hallmark doesn’t do a great job coming up with pretend apps. I could have done without knowing much about David’s job. But, I guess we’ve got two hours to fill. Just throw in another Zales commercial, guys!
Oh no. Sophie gets a phone call. They’ve moved up the photo shoot! She has to leave on the December 23! She would miss the pageant! But she agrees to go. Look, there are very few things I would choose over A FREE TRIP TO THE ALPS okay? I’m married with three kids and I might choose that work trip over spending Christmas with them. So anyway, I don’t blame her.
David finds her at the park and he wants to tell her how he feels. She breaks the news to him. They have a nice, mature adult conversation about their time together but both feel sad that it has to end. He is very understanding and supportive of her dreams.
When she gets home, she has a heart to heart with her grandma. Her grandma is like two weeks is definitely long enough to know if someone is “the one” in a Hallmark movie!
Back at David and Troy’s, David is boldly rocking a red sweater. Troy wants to hang with the gals but David says no. He kind of sneaks out and goes next door anyway. Troy and Sophie have a sad little chat. David comes to get him. Sophie’s been wearing a lot of great red sweaters too. I can only afford one Christmas clothing article and now I don’t know what color to choose!! Red or Hunter Green? Or Burgandy!!!
Sophie looks through all her pics and selects some to email David. How did she get his email address?
Sophie is ready to head out and debates whether or not to stop next door first. Taxi shows up so the decision is made for her. Wow, it looks like she’s headed to the private airfield. Dang girl. Yeah I would definitely be choosing the Alps in this scenario. She gets out and sees a big angel on the top of the tree outside the “airport”. It looks just like the angel that David has.
It’s Christmas pageant time. Louise asks David if he saw Sophie’s email. He somehow hasn’t checked his email the entire day. So no, he didn’t get it. He looks at all the pictures right then. Troy tells David he asked for a family for Christmas. David slaps him and says, what am I? Chopped liver?
Ah! Sophie is bailing on the Alps! So surprising. What IS surprising is that her agent is really understanding and nice about it.
The boys decide to make Sophie a card right there at the pageant. For some reason there is a craft table set up in the back. Maybe for loud disruptive kids?
Uh oh. The kid that was supposed to be the lead has a cold. Can Troy step in? What about reindeer #5?! Oh sweet Troy. No one cares about reindeer #5. David gives old, elderly Louise an errand. He asks her to make sure Sophie gets the card. So now she’s got to make a special trip to the post office for you David? You think she has an envelope that size and the appropriate postage? David decides to go step outside because he is having a tough time.
Sophie arrives! Louise gives her the card they made. Troy drew a picture of the three of them in front of a tree. David writes a note inside. The note was clearly written by a female Hallmark employee. Sophie goes outside and leans against the railing next to David. They are so glad and they ALMOST KISS but then Sophie gets a text. They will let her wait until after New Year’s to go to the Alps. David wins an award for most supportive new Hallmark boyfriend. He is so excited for her and then he suggests that maybe he and Troy can come with her. That feels too soon, Sophie says. Just kidding she’s stoked about that. And THEN they kiss.
Inside, the pageant starts. Riggs the dog has filled in for Troy. Troy, how does it feel that your role can be replaced by a dog?! David puts his hand on Sophie’s. Then we see them all though the window on Christmas.
Let’s see how we did on our checklist:
- 2. Workaholic that is too busy for Christmas.
- 4. Single parent
- 6. Clumsy meet cute
- 7. Christmas pageant
- 11. Christmas baking
- 12. Winter athletics
- 20. Christmas montage
Total score: 7/20