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Christmas in Homestead (2016) – Small Town Charms Meets Hollywood


With close to thirty original films airing over the course of two months, there’s sure to be a Hallmark film to suit everyone. Whether it be a film about a heavenly being finding the path to rescuing herself or a woman being granted a gift of courage, there’s plenty of swoons to go round. One of their latest additions is, in my opinion, also one of their best.

As an actress known for her leading role in a popular fantasy series, Jessica McEllis (Taylor Cole) is ready for the next stepping stone. She’s about to leave California for her latest movie shoot. Not only is she playing the lead role in the film, she’s also pulling double duty and risking everything to produce the film.

Upon her arrival in Iowa, Jessica expects anything save for what she discovers. Her biggest fan lives in Iowa in the form of 10-year-old Sophie (Brooklyn Rae Silzer). A precocious girl Jessica finds herself unexpectedly bonding with. Along with Sophie and her aunt, Zoe (Katrina Norman), Jessica also finds herself drawn to Sophie’s widowed dad, the inn keeper and mayor, Matt (Michael Rady).


If there’s one thing I like more than a cute Christmas movie, it’s one with plenty of modern fairy tale elements. This script does boast just such a premise. True no one is actually a royal, but there is something of a fairy tale notion that takes root. We experience it in the Hollywood royal finding her home and heart in the homegrown Iowa town, and the good, but ordinary guy who wins her heart.

When I read the synopsis of this one, I’ll confess I had an “Oh, no! Not again!” reaction. Why, you may ask? Well, oftentimes I’m so weary of the a.) girl-comes-to-small-town ploy and b.) actress-comes-to-small-town ploy. So, yep, this one was a double whammy that, upon first impressions, didn’t impress. But I was determined to watch this one if given the chance because its leading man is none other than Michael Rady, my crush from the short-lived Emily Owens, M.D. Needless to say, up until now, I’ve been game to see Rady in anything to help soothe the whole Emily dissing him situation.


Happily, this little gem proved me wrong in so many ways. The acting is, of course, charming. Michael’s leading man is wonderful, and I respected the way he loved not only his daughter, but comes to cherish Jessica. Or at least in as much as can be accomplished in 90 minutes. Also a sweet part of the script was Matt and Zoe’s relationship. I haven’t seen such an easy-going or genuine brother/sister friendship in a film for a while. Their teasing banter and comfortable ease with each other is a testament to the actors playing the roles. Though she looks different, our leading lady, Taylor Cole will be remembered from Hallmark’s Appetite for Love. Taylor is the perfect actress for the role; she has the elegant looks to pull off a popular Hollywood star.

It didn’t take long for this script to rope me into its Christmas-y mementos, and accomplish its task which is to thoroughly enchant. I watched this one over the Thanksgiving holiday with my mother, and both of us were smiling big before ten minutes were gone. Between the cuteness of Matt’s daughter, Sophie (don't kids always make a story cuter!?) to the unique characters identifiers, this one is not to be missed. The fact that the story, though familiar in a comforting way, goes in the opposite way of clichés, is reason alone to enjoy this one. At the risk of contradicting myself, the setting also assisted in the cozy feeling of warmth and joyful shenanigans. 

In short, Christmas in Homestead is like a treasured Christmas ornament. Something you look forward to seeing on the tree year after year.

Photos: Hallmark  

14 comments

  1. Micah Mouse! We love Emily Owens at our house too! We are still upset it only ran for one season. We've been watching Hallmark Christmas movies but haven't made it to this one yet. Thanks for the review.

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    1. I'm right there with you, Brittaney. Why 'Emily' only ran for a season is beyond me! I binge-watched it one year (not sure which one) and fell head over heels for Rady's character. *sigh* Too bad Emily was so hung up on the dude who never cared about her (in a romantic sense).

      Hope you enjoy this one if/when you see it! Do you have any favorite Hallmark's this year?

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  2. I wasn't sure about this one either, but now I can't wait see it! Your lovely reviews always inspire me to write more of my own. :)

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Eowyn. I have (too much!?) fun writing these, and I appreciate you being a reader. :) Hope you enjoy this one if you do see it!

      (Apologies for the reply delay.)

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  3. This was one of my favs that I've seen this year (I cannot really find any that match the ones we like from decades ago though like Christmas Card and The Most Wonderful Time of the Year).

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    1. For me too, Livia. I've not seen all of the newbies from this year, but this is ranking high. Although I will confess I think the level of quality this year has been impressive. Hopefully Hallmark will continue to maintain this through the rest of their premieres.

      (Apologies for the reply delay.)

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  4. I have been a fan of Michael Rady ever since Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, so I fully admit to squealing a little when I saw that this film is the first 2016 Hallmark Christmas Movie you've chosen to review. I also just watched it myself a few nights ago, and completely fell in love!

    While I would have liked to have witnessed a bit more romance between Matt and Jessica, everything about this story was charming and pleasantly surprising, especially the absolutely ADORABLE friendship that springs up between Sophie and Jessica's body-guard, and the fact that Jessica's ex-boyfriend is, surprise surprise, not a total jerk. The beginnings of something between Zoe and the paparazzi guy Ian was also enjoyable to watch, and I 100% agree with your opinion on her relationship with Matt; it was actually the first scene featuring the two of them that had me going "I think I'm going to love this movie." Another scene which really impressed me was the one where Sophie and Jessica are talking on Sophie's bed; the raw and genuine emotion they conveyed effortlessly was just brilliant.

    All in all, another fun and heart-warming winner for Hallmark; can't wait to see what else they have in store for us!

    God Bless
    Eleanor Rose

    PS: I recently also watched Finding Father Christmas, and was totally blown-away by how wonderful it is; I would highly recommend seeing it if you haven't already. As a bonus, it is based on a duology by Robin Jones Gunn!

    PPS: Love Always, Santa is another one of my top favorites of Hallmark's 2016 Christmas line-up; I would love to know what you think if you've seen it!

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    1. YES! I don't know WHY, but I always forget Michael was also in 'Sisterhood.' But I loved him in those too. :)

      Eleanor, as always, you put this story (film) in the most eloquent of words. Well said. (You really should think about blogging someday.) The body guard story was adorable; I neglected to mention Jessica's ex, but I too appreciated he wasn't a jerk (points to Hallmark!); also, that scene with Jessica and Sophie was indeed precious. Of course, I was also a fan of the romance (both of them!), so basically, I loved everything!

      I did *just* see 'Father Christmas' (Saturday, maybe!?) and am reviewing it later this week. Cannot wait. Haven't seen Love Always, Santa, but I'll have to make a point to see it now you recommend it. I'm sure it'll re-air over this month. :)

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by, Eleanor. Always glad to chat with you. :)

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    2. Thank you so much; it's funny you should mention it, because I have actually been thinking a lot lately about starting my own blog, and your semi-recent series on what's involved with the set up and maintenance of a good blog will come in very handy :)

      I'm excited to read your thoughts on Finding Father Christmas, and hope you enjoy Love Always, Santa as much as I did!

      God Bless
      Eleanor Rose

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    3. Hi, Eleanor! Apologies for the reply delay. Blogger switched my dashboard with a new design, so know my "comments in moderation" section is hidden. :)

      Anyway, if you do start a blog, do let me know. I would love to revisit my blogger series, but well, everyone seems to be busy so I lack contributors. Hopefully you'll find some helpful things if you decide to move forward with a blog.

      Thanks! I hope my review will be reposted here tomorrow. Or that's the plan. :)

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  5. What a beautiful town it was filmed in. Dahlonega I believe, shame they don't mention it. Glad I was able to recognize some

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    1. Hallmark always films in quaint little towns, which makes these films all the more festive. :)

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  6. Your glowing review convinces me that I must give this one a chance! (I reacted much as you when I first heard about it. :)

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    1. I think it was the cliche plot line (that is somewhat cliche) that made me feel so-so about this one, but it's actually SUPER cute. I like that the actress isn't "stuck" up and the characters are genuinely fun so there is that too. Plus, Michael Rady stars... so yeah, there's that too. ;)

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