Guys, I have a REAL TREAT for you all today. A REAL TREAT. I did not write this movie’s review. In fact, my dear friend Jesse asked to write it for me in her spare time. In the spare time she has from RUNNING A MULTI MILLION DOLLAR COMPANY that she started from the ground up. So when she asked to guest star on this little blog of mine, I was just elated. Yes, Jesse McKinney, CEO of Red Aspen, maker of the best mascara and press on nails in the biz, is sharing her thoughts on Open by Christmas. We don’t have a SECOND to waste. Oh and she says some nice things about me but like, how could I delete the words she wrote? So we all just have to deal with it, Okay?
Hello and Merry Christmas to all! My name is Jesse McKinney. I’m a long time follower, first time contributor to @hallmarksthespot. I have the distinct privilege of reviewing the cinematic marvel that is Open by Christmas, but before I get started I want to give a big shout out to Cally, the owner of this blog. Cally and I go way back to the halls of Skyview High School, and oddly enough, as I watched this movie I thought a lot about her. Open by Christmas has a strong undercurrent of many high school memories, which seemed fitting as Cally (aka my editor!) and I collaborated on this project. Cally, I hope you know how proud I am of you, and I think the high school version of you would be proud of the woman you are today. (BTW, Jesse, the high school versions of us would have just DIED hearing all you’ve accomplished and seeing the woman you are today! And then we would have laughed and laughed upon learning that we both became boy moms.) On that note, enough with the sappiness and on with the review!
Open by Christmas stars Alison Sweeny, the First Lady of daytime soap television. Sweeny’s character, Nicky, is a talented executive consultant living in NYC. Her career is booming and she’s wickedly smart (she was the valedictorian of her high school class!), but her self confidence wanes when she finds herself home in small-town USA helping her parents downsize and move into a new home. While packing up the house she comes across an old text book. As she pages through the book an anonymous Christmas card / love letter falls out taking her by total surprise. She’s shocked at the realization that someone could have felt this way about her. After all, she was the biggest nerd on the planet back then, and smart girls are weirdos, right? <Insert subtle sarcastic eye roll here.> Without delving too deep into the plotline and ruining the ending for all of you, I’ll simply say that Nicky, with the help of her parents and best friend Simone, embark on a mission to find the high school flame that wrote the card. They narrow down the playing field using an old high school yearbook (they think he was on the basketball team) and set out to casually bump into a few former high school basketball players that are now far past their b-ball prime. Spoiler alert: Nicky doesn’t intentionally find him, but does find self confidence along the journey. She ultimately does find the card’s author, and romance ensues.
I’ll be blunt- I was expecting Open by Christmas to be filled with extra unrealistic Holiday cheese, and I wasn’t wrong. For example, Simone owns a flower shop called Best Buds Boutique (cheese). Jeremy, Simone’s finance, secretly buys her a multi million dollar house as a surprise Christmas gift, because after all, she wouldn’t want to be a part of the decision making process as it relates to the biggest investment of their lives, right? (cheese). Derrick, Nicki’s parents realtor and Jeremy’s good friend, is a Christmas decoration expert and can tell you the history of specific ornaments from every respective decade from the last 200 years (cheese, cheese, cheese).
But here’s the thing, among all the cheese were some really sweet, special moments that I think anyone can easily understand because, well, we’ve all been there. When Nicky and Derrick share their most embarrassing high school memories, I could relate. When Simone mourns the fact that her son, Anthony, isn’t a baby anymore and doesnt need her as much, I could relate. When Nicky states that she is afraid of rejection, I could relate. I thought the film did a great job balancing all the cheese with genuine human connection and relatable emotion.
I’m pleased to give Open by Christmas four out five gingerbread men. It was relatable on a human level with just the right amount of excess holiday cheer that you expect from the Hallmark brand, but at times the film played into stereotypes creating a contrived experience for the audience. Would I recommend this film to a friend? Absolutely! Go give it a watch- you won’t regret it. Happy Holidays!
What did you think?