Guys, they really did it again this year. They really made a FOURTH TIME FOR SOMEONE TO COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS MOVIE. Why? Honestly though, I don’t think I’ve hated any of the versions I’ve seen. Well, maybe last year’s. I can’t remember. I think last year the “mystery” was just boring. I am just angry on principle at this point. But you know what? I didn’t hate this iteration AT ALL. In fact, I found it to be kind of a lovely road trip movie with a surprise Allison Sweeney cameo. (Spoiler alert: I was delighted to find out that she married the guy from her movie and also that she just said “croissant” the American way.) Okay let’s dive in.
The movie begins with our leading lady (who we later discover is named “Rebecca”) sitting alone at a diner with her suitcase. She looks sadly at a newspaper clipping and has a sad piece of pie by herself. After that, she starts walking in the blustery snow towards her hotel. It seems like she is straight up walking in the middle of the street on a bridge so it’s a surprise to no one that a car hits her and she…falls over the bridge into the water?! I mean that is a pretty intense fall to survive! Anyway, when she wakes up in the hospital she has NO memory of who she is. This is an interesting case of amnesia because she seems to remember things like social norms (later she knows she’s not married because she’s not wearing a ring) but has no personal memories whatsoever.
Meanwhile, our leading man, Paul, is dealing with his own thing, including listening to a voicemail from his brother in his car. He offers to cover the rest of his co workers’ shift and then she and another pal offer to cover the week of Christmas so he can go home. Anyway, I think because he stays, he ends up helping out with Rebecca’s situation. Several days pass and nothing seems to jog her memory. No one seems to be looking for her either. The only lead they have is the newspaper clipping, which she left at the diner. The clipping advertises a Tree Lighting in Charleston, South Carolina. Her current location is Maine.
After a week of no memories coming back and no leads about who she might be, Rebecca asks to be released from the hospital. Honestly with no insurance or identification, wouldn’t they have kicked her out as soon as she was stable? However here, no one wants her to leave because she doesn’t have anywhere to go and no way to get anywhere. Luckily? Paul offers to drive her to Charleston on his way to see his family in Georgia. No one has any objections so that is all settled. The nurses put together a care package for Rebecca which is so sweet. They give her clothes and money. Also, since no one knows her name at this point, everyone is calling her Jane.
They hit the road and Paul has the whole thing mapped out. Is anyone surprised when Blake Shelton’s “It’s Time for Me to Come Home for Christmas” comes on the radio? Paul turns it off because he said it hits too close to home for him. Rebecca gets to snooping and opens his glove box. Inside is a gift for Paul’s brother, Ben of voicemail fame. Instead of staying at the nearest hotel to a freeway exit, they decide to stay at a nearly empty Bed and Breakfast their first night. Rebecca looks through the items the nurses gave her and discovers a cute pair of snowflake earrings. This causes her to have her first memory! A flash to arguing with someone named Mark as she storms out of a house. They end up watching a Christmas movie together.
The next morning, Paul wants to hit the road right away. However, they decide they better help this poor B&B owner decorate her tree instead. This is why you stay in a hotel! This woman was feeling sad this year because her husband recently passed away. So, I guess it’s a good thing they were there.
Paul is having a really hard time finding a place for them to stay the second night. Instead of just going to hotels.com or kayak or any number of websites that show you every hotel in town, Paul is asking local townsfolk for “leads.” What year is it!? And where are they eating lunch? Why aren’t they driving through McDonalds or Subway like normal people on a roadtrip? Anyway, Paul finally decides to ask his cousin if he can stay with him. He seems to be reluctant to do so.
When they arrive, Paul’s cousin says some weird things to him like, “I understand why you did what you did. Nobody blames you for it.” What now? And his wife thinks Paul and Rebecca are a couple. I don’t know what time they arrived but they are there in time for dinner and they are also there in time for a CASUAL CAMPBELL SOUP AD. The ad continues at dinner when everyone is just losing their minds over the scalloped potatoes. Rebecca just opened the can! I mean, I am probably going look up that recipe so who am I to make fun? It worked didn’t it? Then, the conversation turns somber when we realize that Paul’s brother Ben died earlier that year. Paul didn’t make it home for Christmas last year because he didn’t want to see his brother like that. And he’s felt guilty ever since. Paul’s cousin and his pregnant wife plan to name their son after him. I do feel like maybe they should let Paul have the opportunity to do that but obviously Paul is years away from such a possibility and we can’t just save names forever.
The next morning, Rebecca offers to drive and has she gleefully opens the door, she has another memory! I think this is another one of her arguing with “Mark” but I can’t quite remember myself! This jars her and she decides to let Paul continue driving. On the drive, she tells Paul she remembers about this person named Mark, but she doesn’t know who he is to her.
Also, despite being in a hurry, these people stop at a Christmas festival for lunch. They have time to fully sit down and chat and then DANCE to CHRISTMAS MUSIC. Geez Louise people let’s just get there already. Unfortunately, when they get to the car, it won’t start. I was just starting to think how lovely it was that nothing was really going wrong. The mechanic is reluctant to take a look at the car because it’s Christmas Eve. They plead with him and he agrees. He tells them to come back in an hour. Outside, they see a dog! Upon delivering the dog to its house, we learn he belongs to none other than Allison Sweeney. I forget what her character’s name is. But it’s nice to know that these stories all belong in the Blake Shelton Cinematic Universe. She is so grateful that they’ve returned her dog that she gives them some croissants and she doesn’t even pronounce them in a pretentious way. It is such a relief.
Meanwhile, the sheriff in Covington, Maine is still trying to track down some information for Rebecca. They eventually find her suitcase and inside is her laptop and a little girl’s sweater. Rebecca is shocked by this. Like, how could she forget if she was a mother? (Her thoughts, not mine.) While they wait, Paul hands her the beautifully wrapped tin of croissants. Seeing the ribbon gives her another memory. All of her memories seem to be from the same evening. This time, she is happily arriving at Mark’s house with a gift and he calls her “Rebecca.” She is elated to remember her name! But she and Paul both wonder if this Mark person is her “special friend.” Then the auto shop calls. These silly gooses. It was just the battery! Wow they could have saved so much time. Anyway, they are back on the road again.
Paul’s car must be capable of bending space and time because they actually make it to the tree lighting in Charleston in time. Paul promises to wait for her for a little bit. Mark approaches her and is so glad to see her. He hugs her. Then a little girl approaches and hugs her. Paul sees this and thinks it’s a happy little family reunion and leaves. Then, a sassy woman approaches and is like, HOW DARE YOU.
Suddenly all of Rebecca’s memories come back. The angry woman is her sister Annie. Mark is Annie’s husband and Casey is her daughter. She runs to find Paul but he’s gone. Then we get to see the whole memory Rebecca was seeing flashes of. She and her sister had a huge fight last Christmas about Rebecca quitting her job to write full time. Annie wanted to make sure they could split the cost of their parents’ care. I’m not sure what is wrong with her parents but they seem to be in poor health and are not part of the memories or Christmas or anything. Rebecca was still mad at her sister and was not planning to see them but Mark invited her to just show up at the tree lighting behind Annie’s back. Instead, Rebecca was going to spend Christmas alone in Maine. The girls eventually make up. Back up in her room, Rebecca finds a card from Paul so she decides to go find him.
Paul meanwhile has made it to see his sister-in-law and his brother’s grave. Both are touching moments that I won’t relay in extensive detail here. Anyway, Rebecca finds him at the only hotel in his town and fills him in on everything. He is visibly relieved to learn that Mark is her brother-in-law. So, they KISS and then she invites him to her family’s Christmas party. So at this point, is it STILL CHRISTMAS EVE? Like how far away are they? How is he coming to their Christmas party? How many hours are in a day? Whatever. They make it to the Christmas party and everyone is just so happy about all of it.
Thus ends (hopefully) the “Time for whomstever” to come home series? I mean, let’s just call the movies something else. Let’s call the “Godwink” movies something else too while we’re at it. But I did actually quite enjoy the movie and I felt like the whole “mystery” who she really was paid off! In my opinion, that rarely happens in Hallmark “mystery” movies. So I thought this was a lovely little movie over all. What did you think?