Well we’re back with week 2 of Christmas movies. I had no expectations for this movie, but I was hoping it would be better than last year’s Royal Movie, which was straight up nonsense from T to B.
We begin with a cartoon intro… It makes no sense. There is no reason for it…other than, whimsy? I suppose? There is never a call back to this whatsoever. So that all fades away and we’re in a cute Christmas store. Our lead Anna, is getting all her Christmas shopping done and tells a complete stranger that she will be away from home for two weeks.
Next we see Prince James and Queen Gabriella at a fancy event. I think they are donating money to a hospital. The King was treated there a few years ago and they said he was treated very well so they are donating a lot of money.
At the hospital, Anna is finishing up a shift as a nurse. Her friend and coworker is like, you should go to the fundraiser. You heal everyone’s hearts but you need to heal your own. Yes, she did say that. Like 5 minutes in. Anna is like, no I won’t do that. I’ll just keep all my feelings bottled up inside and live like the WASP I was born to be. A patient’s spouse comes up to her with a big tin of Christmas popcorn as a thank you for being so nice to her husband. At home, she adds that popcorn tin to like 20 other popcorn tins she’s placed under her own tree. So, if gratitude is measured in Christmas popcorn tins, people are pretty grateful for ol Anna.
Anna decorated her apartment to the gills, including TWO Christmas trees. She has so much fun eating her popcorn that she falls out of her chair. It could happen to anyone, I suppose. Not me. But, other people I guess. My dog, for sure.
In the morning, Anna’s wearing a cute driving sweater. She calls her dad to let him know she’s on her way home. But she’s already tired so she decides to stop for coffee. I mean, great, but who needs that as an excuse to stop for coffee at the beginning of a road trip?
James and the Queen are headed out too. Queen Gabby hounds James about his Christmas Speech. He tells her he’s all set, THANKSSOMUCHMUM. She is cold in their car, so instead of asking their driver to turn up the heat, she asks if they can stop for tea. SO BRITISH; I mean..so TINY UNKNOWN EUROPEAN COUNTRY. The best their driver can do is “Donny’s Donuts.” The prince himself decides to run in and get their tea.
Anna is at the register and orders a Christmas Kruller…cruller? And guess what, it’s buy one get one free. Anna’s like, I only want one though? And I personally don’t understand. But, she graciously offers to give it to the person behind her in line…who is of course, Prince James. And he is like, horrified at the thought of eating an American donut. He says, well I only like the Galickwan Yule cake. And then describes the exact donut Anna is eating which, you guys IS NOT A KRULLER. It is basically a chocolate eclair. I even looked it up to make sure it wasn’t a regional thing. But a cruller is like an egg based twisty round donut and I really love them. She was eating something between a chocolate eclair and a Boston Cream style donut. So let’s just ALL stop calling it a cruller or a yule cake.
So then, James is like, oh I don’t take food from strangers. And Anna, I SWEAR to you, LICKS the frosting off her fingers and extends her hand to shake his. Even pre-covid, I would be clutching my pearls at this. Then James’ staff person comes in along with the Queen and we all learn their plane is grounded. Anna interjects herself into their convo and gets the Queen to try the donut. She has no qualms about taking food from unusually perky strangers and dives in. Guess what it tastes like? Galwickien chocolate donuts.
The royal crew continue to discuss their dilemma. They can’t go to the airport and they are going to find a hotel. Anna continues to eavesdrop and offers her family’s Inn in Cantberry…Canterberry? I didn’t quite catch it. It’s only an hour away! The Queen is super on board and just up for adventure apparently. James and Christopher, their lone staffer, are having mini panic attacks.
Their driver is apparently done for the day in light of the weather and is unwilling to drive them further… which is just NOT how it would work at all. That person would be like, a State Trooper and they would be in a vehicle meant to handle pretty inclement weather. They would be getting home to Galwick. But that would mean no one in this little universe would get to experience One Royal Holiday so here we are.
So Anna, unconcerned about the fact that these people seem VERY fancy and have British accents is like, just come along with me strangers! I’ll take you. The Queen is again, just up for anything and James and Christopher are certain they’re all about to be murdered. Christopher tries to announce that she’s talking to royalty but James prevents him from doing so. James tries to sit in the back with his mom and Christopher but there’s no room, so he has to sit up front.
Anna makes him hold a tin of popcorn on the drive. And James is pretty jumpy. He thinks she’s driving too fast and eventually, the popcorn spills everywhere when she hits a pothole. Anna is like, have you never sat in the front seat?
The Queen is just SO HERE for all of this. The town looks like a postcard. She’s just so pleased about the whole experience. Anna shares about their big Christmas Event-the Pajama Ball. Everyone in town gets together on Christmas Eve and wears their pajamas. So that’s kind of cute. James is horrified because, if I may be so bold, he is proving to be a bit of the stick in the mud.
Anna’s dad comes out to greet the crew. And it’s that guy from Heavyweights and…I feel like he was on Everybody Loves Raymond and a few other 90s sitcoms so I’m stoked he’s here. Christopher desperately wants to formally introduce the Queen and Prince but they shut him down again. They tell him they want to leave in the AM and then Christopher cannot chill out about them being royal and he lets it slip. Ed has no chill either and has a mini freak out. They continue to stand outside in the cold. Anna has inexplicably ducked inside. She comes back out without a jacket to chat some more…because that is where everyone wants to stand in the middle of winter. James relents and tells Anna they are royalty but they don’t want anyone else to know. She does NOT believe them. And you guys, after observing how they travel, I would actually not either. They have no security, no contingency plans for weather…they seem to be just bopping around, letting the wind take them. Finally Anna wants to talk to her dad inside. THESE POOR ROYALS continue to wait OUTSIDE in the COLD. For heaven’s sake can we move this whole thing indoors? Ed calms Anna down and they finally bring them inside.
James asks for a bellman for their things and Anna and Ed are like, oh that’s us. And James LETS ANNA carry their stuff in. Inside, James thinks better of that and carries his own luggage upstairs. Ed shows them all their rooms and lets them know when dinner starts. James wants a room service menu and we all have a good laugh about that. You silly fancy person.
Anna’s BFF and also the town mayor shows up. She walks Anna through all the town Christmas events. And it sounds like the Inn is Christmas Central. James comes down for a pillow menu. And well, look, I have stayed at some fancy hotels in my day. I have NEVER heard of a pillow menu. IS THAT A REAL THING? Anyway, Ed is like James, you are a silly goose, but I am going to write that idea down.
Sarah immediately recognizes the royals and becomes our third character with zero chill. Anna tells James he is very brave to sleep with whatever pillow is on the bed. I really appreciated that part. Sarah eyes Christopher and just when I thought she couldn’t BE any less chill, she just freaks all over again about how cute he is. He seemingly feels the same. He wants to talk with her about security. I don’t think anything related to the safety of the royals ever comes from that conversation.
James comes downstairs for dinner wearing…a zoot suit? There are some SERIOUS pinstripes happening. Anna is practicing with the town carolers. Anna is like, so dinner is “casual.” And James is like, this IS my casual. So, are pinstripes casual? I didn’t think so. This reminds of this time I went to visit my sister and I hadn’t changed my clothes from my flight. She said the restaurant we were going for dinner was casual so I didn’t need to change out of my leggings before we left. Except the guy sitting at the table next to us was WEARING A SUIT JACKET and I was in a workout top and leggings. So that was fun.
They have a sad little buffet set out for everyone. James is obviously only accustomed to fine dining. He wonders where his place card is. They have lobster mac and cheese though! So that should be fancy enough for ol James. They share they have both lost parents and Anna gives him some encouragement.
Then he gets an urgent call from the Prime Minister and that really stresses him out. The Queen, of course, is all in on this little buffet dinner and helps herself to a bread bowl. So we’ve got soup, bread bowls and lobster mac and cheese. So everyone will be in a nice food coma in no time. James is outside being a grump about his phone call. Anna tries to coax him back inside but he refuses.
The Queen loved her food and wants to thank the “Chef.” Duh, it’s cheese and bread? What’s not to like? Anyway, it’s just Diane, you silly goose. But Diane is just so flattered the Queen liked the food. It’s actually very sweet. And then we see that maybe Ed and Diane kind of like each other.
The next morning, Anna’s sweater is fine. I do hope to see some better ones this weekend. The royal crew comes down with all their luggage, only to learn they are totally snowed in. And the plows only plan to take care of main street since everyone can just walk there. THAT ADDS UP. James is pretty panicked about that but Anna has some helpful news. Now they can watch the Christmas parade! Isn’t that the silver lining here? Totally.
James says he’s a very busy business royal person and he has so much work to do. Anna is like Oh, what do royals do all day? James has no good answers but he does say they have elaborate picnics. JOKES.
It’s parade time! They load up toy donations on sleds to take to the parade. James has his “water proof” shoes on. Anna is like, girl you’re not going to make it in those. Apparently there is no winter in Galwick despite them saying…I think that it’s in Northern Europe? But he only packed impractical fancy clothes.
As they walk, everyone says hi to Anna and everyone thinks James is her boyfriend. How could they possibly make that mistake? When they get to their seats, Ed gets hot chocolate for everyone. They call it hot cocoa, but I am ignoring that. Apparently Ed was not getting hot chocolate for Anna and James though because they get their own. And then Anna wonders why a man in his thirties is not excited to see a man in a Santa costume.
After the parade, James admits Anna was right about his shoes. She suggests he takes a carriage ride home. All of a sudden, James LIFTS her up in to the carriage because he can’t ride alone…But wow. So many boundaries crossed…I don’t care how good looking you are…you may not attempt to lift me in a carriage. Speaking of good looking, I can’t believe I’ve made it this far without mentioning James’ hair. It is…something. It’s very long. And he either drenches it in hair product or it’s time to invest in some dry shampoo. Ultimately, I think I am undecided about it, but I definitely don’t want to touch it.
Anyway, Anna doesn’t seem to mind having her personal space violated in such a way…but we must remember she licked her hand before offering it to shake so her bubble must be smaller than mine. Once inside the carriage, she makes sure James’ feet are all tucked into a blanket so he doesn’t lose his toes. James notices that she likes to take care of people. He talks about his dad. She suggests he show more of his “real self” to his country in his speech.
Christopher and Sarah are walking arm and arm back to the Inn and James is certain that Christopher will make fun of him for getting a ride. Unfortunately, this must all take place in private. James and Christopher are long time best bros and now he works for the family. I’m sure that isn’t uncomfortable ever.
Inside, Anna suggests James wear some fuzzy Christmas socks. We learn they will likely be able to fly out tomorrow. GOOD. But Ed has some bad news about the pajama ball. The snow has destroyed the roof at the venue. It doesn’t sound like there are any other good spots in town. Sarah is TOTALLY up to speed about building codes, etc… That’s why she’s mayor! I think she campaigned on putting together a good Christmas festival and having all the building codes memorized. They wonder about having it at the Inn. I actually thought that’s where they were having it anyway…but they wonder if it will be big enough. But let’s put a pin in that, shall we? It’s time to decorate the Christmas Tree. The royals have never decorated one so Ed coaxes them into participating. They all sing Deck the Halls because it’s in the public domain and have a jolly good time.
The Queen tells them all about their royal events. They would have the kids in one room in their pajamas and the adults would all dress up. They wonder if maybe they shouldn’t do that this year? The kids could all be in that sad little dining room. How about the kids all go to bed for heaven’s sake.
Anna doesn’t like this idea though because it is not TRADITION. Her dad is like, actually yes it is but you were so exhausting as a child that your mom didn’t feel like dressing up on Christmas Eve. They don’t say this is a Balsam Hill tree, but they do use a remote to turn it on so…it might be?
Later, James is just helping himself to a snack in the kitchen. How far he’s come in just two short days. Anna is in cute jammies and has her hair all done. She calls him Captain Von Trap but girl, you’re basically dressed the same way. She suggests he have hot chocolate instead of the…sandwich? He was planning to make himself? Why not both Anna? Sheesh.
They go into the living room and he sits down. Then Anna makes it weird by making him close his eyes and asking if he trusts her…He’s like, well no. What are you doing? But he acquiesces. And…ALL SHE DOES IS RECLINE HIS SEAT FOR HIM. Help me, Rhonda. Surprisingly, he does not spill his hot chocolate all over himself as his seat reclines with his eyes closed.
Then they chat about the Pajama Ball. He thinks she would enjoy getting dressed up and that all the ladies in town probably have a dress they’ve been saving for this occasion. I…just doubt that. She says she is worried she will lose her connection to her mom if they change it. That is actually a fair point. He thinks she’ll feel even more connected to her mom if they change the format so Anna just pats him on the head.
The next morning, the ONLY street into town is closed so they are stuck AGAIN. James seems less annoyed today but they are missing Christmas responsibilities in Galwick. Anna is wearing a cute sweater and skirt today. Anna thinks they should do “Fun” things like having local kids go to the palace to decorate gingerbread houses. I…don’t have time for this. You know my feelings.
Despite putting on a skirt and tights, Anna’s plans for the day involve going up to their attic to see what kind of old Christmas decorations they have. She invites James along. The lighting in this attic scene is a little wild. It looks like someone is just shining a flashlight in James’ face. They decide they need MORE WREATHS and ribbon and head into town. James decides he wants to change first. So just to be clear-in the attic, he wears a suit. For the trip into town, he borrows Chis’s jeans, boots and sweater. Anna, after giving James all that grief last night, is wearing impractical heeled boots for their walk into town.
On their way to the store, she asks James to throw a snowball at her and she’ll hit it with a stick. SO FUN AND QUIRKY. Then they have a nice mini heart to heart and she says he should say all that stuff in his speech. He’s like, oh shoot I just forgot it all.
At the cute Christmas-y store, James eyes an ornament shaped like the Inn. Anna notices. They load up on wreaths and get to decorating. It is Hallmark movie worthy for sure. They have a mini moment and I am again distracted by James’ hair gel situation. They both reveal they have the same favorite Christmas song. Well, guess what, the Christmas Waltz is also MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG. So Anna, do we have to fight over James now or what? Then they dance to the Zooey Deschanel (I think?) version of that song in their head. I prefer the Harry Connick Jr. version, personally.
Poor old Ed ruins their moment. He gives Anna a LOOK. Ed is like Anna, you should think about yourself sometimes. Also, he found her mom’s old fancy dresses if she’d like to take a look!
Now it’s gingerbread house time. It looks like they’re using graham crackers though. While they work, they discover that James’ dad was at the same hospital where Anna works! But she doesn’t recognize the name he was admitted under. Hmm…
Anna gives James the ornament he spotted at the store as a prize for making a surprisingly good gingerbread house. He, pointlessly, majored in architecture in college. He says he’s never used his degree.
That night, the Queen proudly shared the Galwick Yule Cake with their little crew. She made two… surely the recipe makes more than that? Anyway, it looks just like a cheap messy éclair with colored sprinkles on it. No offense to the Queen or anything.
In the morning, everyone is running around the Inn saying, there’s Black Ice! We can’t leave for another WHOLE DAY! And everyone is stoked about it. It’s kind of cute.
Sarah and Anna have a little heart to heart about making it work with men who live in Europe and are kind of stuck there.
That night, they have a candlelight singalong. This is really the only time we get to hear all these Broadway stars sing, which seems like a big waste.
Later, James wants to dance with Anna again. She’s like, it was weird before without any music and so no, I don’t want to do that again. They kind of start to talk about their feelings but James’ phone keeps buzzing! She’s like OMG JUST ANSWER IT ALREADY. So he takes it and it’s not good news. Even though NO ONE in town is supposed to know who they are, someone snapped a picture of James and Anna and posted it on the internet. So, even though it would be the middle of the night in Europe at that time, it’s all over the news in Galwick. This sole picture apparently suggests that James is shirking his royal duties at home to just “hang out” in the US. WHAT A CRISIS.
Anna’s like, okay see? So this is why it will never work out between us. And James is like, what? Okay well bye then.
The next morning, Anna hides in her room while they load up their cars, which is honestly pretty rude because she didn’t say goodbye to anyone else. So, the Queen comes up and says Anna will always be part of their family. Anna is like, whoa it’s a little soon for that isn’t it? And then the Queen says she’s left some nice dresses in her room for Diane to wear to the ball. So that is really nice. James looks up and sees Anna creeping at the window.
Later, Sarah is like, Anna, get over yourself. Christopher and I already have this all figured out even though I’m an elected official in this town and can’t move and he’s an employee of royalty and presumably can’t move either. Anyway, she’s going there for New Year’s Eve!
The Royals walk up to their castle which I think is somewhere near Mordor, judging by the scenery. James is still holding that little ornament. There’s only 10 minutes left now. I just don’t see how these two crazy kids are ever going to make it work. They are just TOO DIFFERENT.
The Queen and James get all set for their big speech. All of a sudden its 1940 and he’s giving a radio address. What in the world.
Back in Connecticut, everyone is bustling around getting ready for the Ball. Diane looks very nice in her new dress and she and Ed have a nice moment. As Anna is walking down to the event, she gets a text from Christopher with a link to James’ speech. It is basically all about Anna so she decides she needs to go straight to the airport or something to see him. I’m not totally sure even Anna knew what her plan would be.
Luckily for her though, James and the WHOLE CREW somehow made it back. I am thinking we may all be expected to do some mental gymnastics for this to make sense. But they’re there.
So she and James talk about wanting to make it all work. No details but love will probably be enough, right? Oh, I forgot to mention, back in Galwick, they found the King’s last speech and apparently he spent most of that speech talking about the hospital in Boston and his nurse, “AJ.” So James is like, that’s you right? But Anna still doesn’t remember his dad. She’s like, I would remember a King, even though they already told her he used a fake name. But then he shows her a picture of him and she was like, YES OKAY. I did sit with him a lot. This is a nice little moment because James gets to hear all the nice things his dad said about him to Anna.
They go inside and dance to the Christmas Waltz and this movie is still not over.
Later, they are opening presents or something and Anna gets everyone fuzzy socks. THANKSSOMUCH they all say. Okay, and here is where things get REALLY REALLY weird. I can barely recount it to you it’s so weird and dumb. I’ll try. James is like, I have a gift for you Anna. She opens the box and he says, they’re royal slippers. She is just…so overwhelmed by this gift for some reason… did I miss something? They’re like straight up house shoes. AND THEN HE PUTS THEM ON HER FEET FOR HER. Ugh. So weird. And she whispers, it’s a perfect fit. And I just immediately throw up. WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE. A weird homage to her being Cinderella on Broadway? Please help me understand. And that’s it! That’s how they end the movie. Ugh.
So this was your pretty standard bad Hallmark movie. It was MUCH BETTER than last year’s Royal movie. But, no part of the Royal story line made any sense whatsoever. It just doesn’t work. But the characters are all pretty dang likeable so even though this is not a good movie, I enjoyed watching it…and isn’t that the whole spirit of Hallmark Christmas Movies? So yeah, go ahead and fold some clothes or clean your kitchen while you watch this. Or put it on while you take down all your Halloween decor and put up your Christmas decorations. It’ll probably be in the bottom tier of my 2020 rankings though. Let’s rank it against our Checklist, shall we? Only 5/20!
- Lead stranded in a small town
- Clumsy meet cute
- Christmas Ball
- They kind of had a snowball fight…should I count this?
- A sassy and wise best friend.