Our first movie of this weekend is Christmas in Vienna. There was ALOT of buzz about this one. Probably because it cost a fortune to film on location there. But, I appreciate the thought of doing a “destination Christmas movie once a year though. Let’s get into it though, shall we?
The movie opens on a beautiful Christmas square/market situation. I really would like to go and see it in person.
Then our lead, Jess, plays the violin in a big theatre and then sits for an interview in anticipation of her upcoming Christmas Eve concert. The interviewer asks if music is her life. She says it allows her to live in a magic world She tells the interviewer she has two weeks in Vienna and she plans to eat her way through the town. GET IT GIRL. The interviewer says there is no Christmas like Christmas in Vienna. I don’t doubt you there, sir.
Mark, our other lead approaches some…familiar people at an outdoor winter Christmas market. His business partner, maybe his assistant (?)t brings them cookies. Oh, these are his children and their…nanny? maybe. They are doing some crafts. This CHRISTMAS MARKET. Then, He and Jess stand next to each other at the market’s outdoor advent ceremony. Jess turns to him and asks if he speaks English. He does! He’s American. He explains what is happening at the ceremony. This week, they are lighting the “JOY” candle. He asks if she is a tourist. She says yes, but doesn’t say why she is really in Vienna; alone…at Christmas. He imagines this single spinster might like to see the Children’s section of the market and tells her where to go.
So, it turns out that Jess’s old roommate, Tori is Mark’s nanny. She does not have an accent AT ALL. Nor does she seem old enough to have ever been at college at the same time as Jess. Jess meets all of Mark’s kids, who are really involved in this market. Summer has a solo! Then Tori decides to abandon these children in the middle of a busy Christmas market in a large city because JESS NEEDS SOME APPLE STRUDEL. I’m getting some strong Winter in Vail vibes. Tori talks about her cousin, Mark and how she “watches” his children. Tori could have also easily played his daughter. What is happening. Also, if she is from here, why doesn’t she have any accent? Mark is a diplomat who works in Austria. And his deceased wife is from Vienna. Jess tells Tori that she is struggling to find the heart of her music. Then Tori suggests they go get chocolate cake. Who cares about those kids, anyway? But we just had strudel? Wouldn’t deter me! Then, Tori says, “welcome to Vienna.” So is that how we are to view Vienna? Just dessert after dessert? If so, I will be the first flight out of here.
Tori must have realized she could not abandon the children further, so later at a a hotel restaurant, Jess makes the waiter uncomfortable while she sits alone and orders a chocolate cake for herself. The restaurant is BEAUTIFULLY DECORATED. Jess decides to practice in her room but HATES IT THE WHOLE TIME.
IS THAT MARK’S HOUSE. Tori is just making ornaments for days. She does sell them in a little Etsy shop though. She wants to sell at the market but can never get a booth. Oh boy. Tori, let’s not put all our ornaments in one basket. Mark’s assistant’s (Vincent) tells Tori that his mom has a bakery booth at the market. She might be willing to share it! Everyone, even Mark, is stoked about that.
Later that night, Jess is at a fancy party making small talk. The rest of her quartet arrives next week. Then, she sees Mark from across the room! They have an awkward exchange. Jess gives some history of the Viennese Waltz. Oh Jess. Bless her heart. Jess asks Mark to dance. He is like, no I don’t like dancing. Then he says he has to leave. Oh Jess. You did YOUR BEST, GF. Screw that guy.
The next day, Jess arrives at Mark’s house. Jess tells Tori about how she put herself out there and how he rejected her. And how we all died inside. Then Tori asks Jess to help her babysit so she can sell her ornaments at the Christmas market. WHAT NOW. Before Jess can like, recover from the shock of being asked something so outrageous, Tori DRAGS her into Mark’s office. Well, what do you know. It’s MARK. GUYS. I would hardly agree to watch my close friends’ children IN TOWN. FOR ONE NIGHT. And I HAVE KIDS. If I was a single 40 year old woman, I would have NO interest in hanging out with strange children ON MY GD VACATION. For heaven’s sake TORI!!!! Also, I just want to reiterate that Tori and Jess CANNOT possibly be the same age and also have Jess be interested in Mark.
WHAT! Why would Jess agree to babysit! She is a professional violinist who has stuff to do! This is ridiculous. Jess is just supposed to take these kids with her everywhere? And find time to practice for like, the biggest performance of her life?! YOU. GUYS. Tori gives Jess the rundown and compares the children to Gremlins. SHE’S NOT WRONG. I am still so annoyed on Jess’s behalf.
Jess overhears Summer practicing. Summer is panicking. SUMMER’S ROOM. It’s so insane. Jess gives Summer some advice on singing. The boy (I never catch his name) hasn’t unpacked his boxes yet from their move here a year ago. Jess goes to check on Isla. I think she has the best room of all. Okay DO THESE KIDS HAVE ACCENTS?
Jess and the kids head out to see the sights. Jess gives them some musical history along the way. They’re like oh, yes we definitely never heard any of this from our VIENNESE MOTHER. They head into a cathedral and get some more history lessons from Jess. SUCHA FUN TIME. They ask her to climb the tower. I would have told them to have at it and I would meet them later. The kids tell Jess that their mom used to take them to the tower when they came to visit. Then, they head into a chocolate shop and vow to try everything. HERE FOR THAT.
They walk along the street that night (WHAT TIME IS IT!) and Jess shares how much she likes to stop and listen to live music. The streets are so pretty. I just love how some European cities decorate their streets for Christmas. (hair flip). They stop to listen to a cellist on the street. They dig out some money to give her. The cellist seems to be more interested in her music than Jess is these days. I suppose she has a lot of thinking to do in the coming days.
Then they play a song my mom DOES NOT HATE, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. They meet up at a tree lot for yet ANOTHER TREE. And the kids immediately tattle about all the sugar they got to eat. Jess awkwardly plans to leave but Mark realizes she has nothing to do so he invites her join them to pick a tree. Mark tells Jess that he’s lived all over the place. His parents were in the army so he is mostly used to moving. So that’s what his kids are getting as well. What accents do these kids have?
The family get to decorating. Poor Vincent tries to head home for the day but Mark makes him stay and decorate the tree. He and Tori chat. Okay we’re supposed to believe these people are all the same age? Jess shares that she’s from Philadelphia. Philly is the “Vienna” of the US. Did you know?
Mark tells Tori he’ll make dinner. So he makes the kids grilled cheese. Tori gives Jess a “hey girl” look. Then Jess says she’s planning to leave the orchestra. Her heart isn’t in it anymore. Tori is like, I would rather talk about you and my cousin.
Poor Jess has to practice for this HUGE CONCERT at Mark’s house while she babysits. The boy is stoked to hang with Jess today. Isla is wearing an adorable sweater. Oh is someone going to do this poor girl’s hair? Jess lets her hold and use her violin. She give Isla a little awkward girl pep talk.
At the market, Summer has pageant rehearsal. Summer is stressing pretty hard about her solo. Jess gives her a nice pep talk. ALL BETTER. Mark shows up and invites Jess to go ice skating with them.
THAT SKATING RINK. And what do you know; Jess can’t ice skate. Summer is great at ice skating. Mark gives Jess a lesson. She falls forward and he catches her. Then, they get the CUTEST MUGS of hot chocolate. Who is watching the kids?
Mark shares that he wants to be an ambassador someday. Jess says she has always wanted to be a professional violinist. She shares some of her struggles. Playing feels like a chore now. It’s not fun. She tells him she is quitting the orchestra after this concert. Then, an old lady comes by and says they’re sitting under mistletoe in German. So, Mark, a gentleman, kisses her hand. THESE TWO.
The next morning, Jess gives Isla another lesson on the violin. Mark overhears. Deadbeat Tori comes down the hall with a box of her ornaments. Mark worries that the kids are getting too attached. Tori gives him some advice and then flees her responsibilities. Mark comes in and tells poor mixed up Isla she’s doing a good job on the violin. Jess shirks her own real job to go to the Christmas Market for the 100th time. They make wreaths there. Mark and his kids take a family pic. And then the kids ask Jess to join them in a photo. Not awkward! Then they decorate gingerbread cookies. ALL AT THIS LOVELY MARKET. That looks fun.
Jess tells Mark says her parents used to dance to Silent Night. Mark says you’re not supposed to dance to Christmas carols. Is that a thing? Mark says her parents sound lovely. They’re not dead though, right? Then, Mark gets an urgent message and has to bail. Jess takes the kids to the theatre.
They meet the conductor of the “Vienna Philharmonic.” So, I thought for sure this was fake. I was just livid at the lack of originality. But it turns out I need to take this up with like SO MANY CITIES’ lack of creativity because there actually is a Vienna Philharmonic. So uncultured Ol Cal got taken to task a little. The conductor asks her if she will open the concert with a speech. That seems appropriate. Just have a random violinist emcee the whole thing? Jess tells Summer about her good luck…”heart” charm. It is a necklace from her parents and she wears it for every performance. Meanwhile, the boy sits alone on the stage. Jess asks him why he’s learning German. He says it reminds him of his mom. She reminds him there are a lot of different ways to hang his hat.
That night, Tori tells Jess that Mark was offered a job promotion in Zurich. Jess is a little bummed on behalf of the kids. Tori scampers off to focus on ornament making. Mark wonders why Jess isn’t stoked about his promotion opportunity. She doesn’t want to share her opinion. He pushes her to share her opinion and she says he shouldn’t move. He doesn’t take it well. Even though he BEGGED HER to tell him. Don’t be such a baby MARK.
The next morning, Jess is at the house because Tori continues to shirk her responsibilities to focus on her ornament hobby. Mark is still a little put out about Jess giving her opinion after he asked so Jess pokes a little fun at him being so tightly wound. Oh no! A snow storm is coming.
Later, Mark talks to Vincent about the promotion. He apparently would have to move a week from now. Vincent says it’s a great opportunity. The last stop before Ambassador. Dude, you just need to make a big donation to the winning presidential candidate to become an Ambassador.
Jess and Tori have a heart to heart about Mark and his…mood swings. She’s like, he is just a nonstop drama queen and I can’t deal with that. They end up standing next to each other at the advent ceremony again. Mark pretends he doesn’t know what is going on. FUNNY BIT, MARK. He apologizes in a round about way. He says he felt a little too convicted after hearing her opinion about his job possibilities. Then Mark invites her to get some kind of Viennese spiced wine. They walk around the market drinking it out of boot shaped cups. What is this, Vegas?
Mark asks Jess if she’s done all her Christmas shopping. Jess shares she has impossibly high expectations about receiving gifts. She is horrified that Mark buys socks and gift certificates as gifts. They part ways and Lena, the conductor calls. Jess has a huge favor to ask her.
That night, Jess shares that the Opera House has agreed to host the pageant before the concert. Mark is appreciative. Then Mark says he has a gift for Jess. It’s a monogrammed stocking so she can spend Christmas with them. Well that’s REALLY NICE. She says it’s the perfect present. But it’s not a Peloton, so I don’t understand. Yes, that’s right. A year later and I still don’t have one.
Sometime later, Jess is back over at Mark’s house talking to Tori. WHO IS DEFINITELY OLD ENOUGH TO BE HER COLLEGE ROOMMATE. Jess says she might not quit being a violinist now. Tori is so glad for her.
That night, Jess does some practicing and seems to like it this time.
Wait, so now is it the NEXT night? Mark plops down and interrupts Jess and Tori talking. He says that even though he “brokers peace deals” (what, between the US and Austria? What year is it?) but the most difficult thing is bed time. AMEN BROTHER. Tori plays wingman and suggest the two of them go out for a drink. So Tori has an accent now?
They go to that hotel restaurant where Jess ate alone before. She says she’s enjoyed playing more since she’s been in Vienna. They get a TINY piece of cake and are supposed to be sharing it. Oof. It breaks my heart. GET YOUR OWN PIECE, MARK.
They stroll around the street and Jess finally shares that she was engaged and it ended. Mark opens up a little bit about himself as well. They sneak into some fancy building so they can see Vienna at night. And then they hear Silent Night playing. He asks her to dance. JUST LIKE HER PARENTS. He insists that you’re not supposed to dance to Christmas Carols. Is that right? And then it starts snowing. But then they DON’T KISS.
Jess does some practice at the Opera House. The conductor invites her to join the Vienna Philharmonic. She is so shocked! Backstage, Jess sees the boy chatting in German with new pals. She hears Isla playing and says she’s doing a good job.
At Mark’s house, Jess wraps all her gifts. This poor woman doesn’t get any time to herself! Tori is planning to take the kids sledding (Doing her job for once!!) So Mark offers to take her to A DIFFERENT MARKET. Then he says, “euro” for your thoughts. So, now the price of a thought has gone up from 1 penny to 1.5 US DOLLARS. Jess has another little beret and a great coat. Jess says she likes the touristy places better than the local outdoor market. So, Mark has another place to show her- a FERRIS WHEEL. I’m good, thanks. ARE THEY INSIDE THE LITTLE CART? They have champagne even. Mark asks if she would ever come back to Vienna. Why doesn’t she tell him about the job? He wants her to stay. She’s like, well you should stay too. But they DON’T KISS. Then Mark says the wrong thing. That he might one day be able to love again. She’s like, wait, you don’t love me after 3 days of knowing me? So then, she decides to bolt.
Tori gabs to Jess about Vincent and his mom. She may even be going into business with Vincent’s mom! Great idea! Then Tori makes a dumb joke about Mark rejecting her again. Why are they EVEN FRIENDS. Jess is like, dude shut it. And then she tells Tori about the Vienna Philharmonic.
Vincent says ZURICH NEEDS HIS ANSWER TODAY. Mark says he’s going to take the job! Come on!
Despite all the constant awkwardness between Jess and Mark, she is still babysitting these GD kids. So, downstairs, Jess gets the kids all organized to bake in the dining room. She lets Isla, the youngest, crack the eggs. Mark walks by and sees what they’re up to. He walks away. Jess heads after him and asks what’s going on. He tells her he took the job. He is all stern and no nonsense with her. Jess says she thinks he made the easy choice and that he’s running away. He says, TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE MISSY! She’s like, GIRL GET WITH IT OKAY. Oh no. They overhear Jess blab about the move. Oooh.
Later, Mark does some damage control with his kids. He asks their opinion about moving to Zurich. They all say they want to stay in Vienna. WHY DOES ONLY THE LITTLE GIRL HAVE AN ACCENT.
Jess practices again at the theatre. Her playing is terrible again. Lena is like GIRL, GET IT TOGETHER. The Board is Coming to the performance and they’ll never let you in to the Vienna Philharmonic if you play like that.
The kids are getting ready to leave for the pageant and Tori says there are gifts from Jess they have to open. Summer gets a special necklace charm. The boy gets a hat hook. And ISLA GETS A GD VIOLIN. Totally the same. Oh and then Mark gets a blanket so he can be alone in front of the fire.
At the concert, right before it’s about to start, the kids all rush backstage and thank Jess for their gifts. And they tell her they aren’t moving! Oh, and Summer isn’t going to sing Ava Maria anymore. She’s going to sing Silent Night and she wants Jess to play for her. Mark is like, I’m way different now too, Jess!
Jess kicks off the concert with a speech about the true meaning of Christmas and Vienna. So she is the violinist and the emcee for the night. That seems appropriate. Okay so the whole dang family is singing Silent Night in German and English. And poor little Isla is playing the violin too. Wait, we’re not even going to hear Jess’s song?
Tori is back to child rearing and takes the kids back home. Mark is waiting on the stage for Jess with a single rose. They have a nice chat about how they are both silly gooses. And then THEY KISS. And that’s it.
So, I love the European Christmas vibes. But I had a lot of head scratching moments throughout this movie. I mean, it was perfectly fine. I felt like these characters were just like so awkward with each other but were like, should I really be this picky? At my age? Plus have you seen his HOUSE? So that’s I think why they ended up together. But overall, it’s still probably better than Christmas in Rome. 10/10 as far as Christmas Markets go, at the very least. Let’s rate this bad boy. So, 7/20. Pretty standard, I guess.
- Single Parent
- Clumsy Meet Cute (THIS WHOLE MOVIE IS ONE GIANT AWKWARD MEET CUTE)
- Christmas Pageant (Well there was certainly a lot of talk about one; though one round of Silent Night should hardly count)
- Christmas Festival
- Christmas Baking
- Winter Athletics
- A sassy (not wise) best friend