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.