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Christmas on the Bayou (2013)


Television movies that feature an actor with a familiar name makes me curious, when it’s a Christmas movie, I’m double interested. Part of Lifetime’s Christmas programming, this one starred Hilarie Burton in an all-too-familiar plot yet even still, it was a pleasant one full of warmth and sense of family. The story follows the workaholic Katherine (Burton) whose world is consumed by earning a promotion at the expense of her 7-year-old, Zach (Brody Rose). With a tough school year for Zach, Katherine decides a change of pace and scenery might be just what they need so leaving the hustle-bustle of New York behind, she returns home to her Southern roots where her mother (Markie Post) still lives… and a part of her heart may still belong. 

Any television script that steps away from the normal earns points and that is just what this movie does – albeit in subtle ways. The romance component was an interesting one. It never drifted into the cliché territory of the predictability of an unspoken relationship (the kind that has the couple “dating” without really talking about where they’re heading) which left the cute romantics more room to blossom. Katherine’s reluctance is made clear from the beginning and Caleb’s persistence in winning her over was charming in a perfect Southern kind of way – there is an adorable scene of banter between the two that just sparkled and of course, while the ending was too abrupt for its own good, it was nothing if not happy… and fulfilling. I admired that this film didn’t pack in every opportunity it could have to be “characteristic,” such as pushing an additional romance or a promised “miracle” coming to fruition; it had its own brand of sentiment and Christmas on the Bayou had enough good going for it without cluttering the script up with such unnecessary material.  

The acting was full of life and emotion. Hilarie Burton was wonderful and it was fun to see her play such an opposite role of what she plays in White Collar – and I might add, play it well. I liked her playing off of Tyler Hilton, as a daughter and mother, each side of her personality she played well and the entire cast was equally good, especially Zach. It’s rare that a strong cast be found in television film scripts however this movie was the exception. Its progression was really well executed and the story flowed nicely (save for maybe the two-minute opening which felt a bit… unpolished in comparison) and of course, I adored the setting because it was so different than the rest of its peers – i.e., a setting full of the white stuff or magic of the North Pole. Seeing characters in t-shirts and shorts may not put you in the Christmas spirit as easily but not to worry, the movie has plenty of cheer.

If you haven’t seen this one, read up on it. In my listing of Christmas favorites, it’s easily among them; if you can’t find showings on Lifetime (it airs tonight, December 24th and early on December 25th), you can get it on iTunes or Amazon via instant video and it’s worth a look.  

What about all of you… do you like Christmas movies that aren’t “traditional”?
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Rissi
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4 comments:

  1. Sounds good. And is that Randy Travis? Love him.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed it is, Juju! He had a minor role, but I liked his character; hope you enjoy if you can see it. :)

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  2. I enjoyed this movie. Was pleasantly surprised that such a young actor as Rose was excellent in his performance. For one so young, he carried his role strongly throughout the movie.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed he did, Anon. The entire cast was really good and that's huge in a television movie; this is certainly one of my favorite Christmas flicks. :)

      Thanks for stopping by.

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