SLIDER

The Christmas Secret (2014)

 
Since rebranding the Hallmark Movie Channel has snagged a couple of Christmas titles for the holiday season. The first was Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas the second is this. Heartwarming and turns out, is genuinely one of my favorite this season.  

Life is anything but easy for single mom, Christine Eisley (Bethany Joy Lenz). Since her divorce, she’s been juggling work and making sure her kids are well cared for. Unfortunately, being a mom first has put her on notice at the diner where she works and today, it’s about to take her job. Running late to work, Christine witnesses a woman crashing her car, a woman who seems to be experiencing a heart attack. Calling 911 and waiting with her until she is taken to the hospital, Christine is fired for being late. This makes her life more difficult and provides her ex with a chance to file for full custody of the kids.  

Jason (John Reardon) returns home to help his grandparents (Susan Hogan, Michael Hogan) with their family-run Christmas store, only he promises to find out who saved his grandpa's wife. Searches turn up no clues as to her whereabouts, but a family heirloom locket just may turn out to be what brings them all together.  

For all its good intentions, this script does fall into some common clichés that really aren’t hard to decipher. (Saying what they are would spoil it, so I’ll just say this: you have to watch to find out!) I liked most of the relationships in spite of this and was especially fond of the romance that blossoms – particularly so since (cute) misunderstandings govern it. It opens doors for some sassy scenes without the pressures of really knowing who the person is, something that is a nice change of pace. Plus, this eliminates the standard break-up-before-the-credits-roll and you know how annoying that always comes across!  

Kids being part of the story always opens new possibilities and adds some sparkle. This story is no different. First, the actors who play Christine’s children are darling and I loved their characterization. It’s quite good and for stars so young, they do an excellent job carrying off the roles. The scenes between them and the adults are precious and I particularly liked the scenes between John’s character and Christine’s son. Really, everyone is well cast though jumping to a scene closer to the end; I didn’t think the emotions were running as high as they should have been. My reasoning for this is that the scene between Christine and the woman she save was really what the entire film hinged on her finding Christine, and it played flat.  

Minor complaints aside, I did so enjoy The Christmas Secret. It’s one I’ll snag for my still-growing collection should it be released to DVD next year. It’s certainly a great way to end the new productions on the recently rebranded Hallmark Movies and Mysteries line – it’s one secret that shouldn’t be kept.  

Catch the premiere of The Christmas Secret tonight on Hallmark Movie Channel.  

10 comments

  1. I hadn't heard of this movie, but you make it sound pretty good! Cliches are always annoying, but I love good child actors - it's always so impressive to see little kids convincingly taking on someone else's persona. And I'm glad to hear you liked their characterization - it can be easy to gloss over younger characters' personalities, but they deserve to be fleshed out too. :)

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    1. I agree, Emily! In the case of this film, I just loved how fun the kids were and that they had some acting skills too - they weren't "stiff" like some child actors can be - or maybe nervous is a better term. They seemed to be having fun and acted as kids should. It's always refreshing. :)

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  2. It sounds like its based on the book by the same name. By the same author who wrote The Christmas Shoes.

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    1. Really? That's awesome if it is. I didn't know if it was based off a book or not. Though if it is the same author, this one is much happier. :)

      Thanks for visiting and commenting, Carissa.

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  3. I just finished this one and loved it! I agree with much of what you said - the kids were adorable and the plot just enough cliche and unexpected-ness to be fresh. It's probably one of my favorites from this year, too!

    So I saw on Twitter that the actor who played Jason was also on When Calls The Heart. Refresh my memory, who was he on that show?

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    1. I'm so glad, Courtney! That's awesome that you liked it too. Like you, this is one of my 2014 favorites and I liked so much about the story. It did seem more "fresh" vs. cliché and I loved that.

      If memory serves me right, John played a "villain." He was someone that Elizabeth's sister crushed on...? Does that sound familiar. I'm going off memory here.

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    2. Ahh! Yes, he was a member of some gang, I believe. Thanks for jogging my memory!

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    3. Yes, that's right. He was the guy Julie (I think that was Elizabeth's sister's name..!) fell for him and maybe she even hid him for a short period of time. :)

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  4. I really just want to watch this one because of Bethany Joy Lenz. I love her so much. Although I don't think I can see her in anything without thinking she's Haley from One Tree Hill! <3 Anyways, great review Rissi! :)

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    1. Haven't seen One Tree Hill, but there are actors on that one who I like, so... you know maybe someday. Plus, watching them now vs. when they were current; MARATHON potential. ;)

      Thanks for reading, Bekah.

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