You speak a word or you write a card,
And think perhaps that they have no effect,
The same clichés by triteness marred
That lead to an “Aww,” then most likely neglect.
But none can know where their kindness ends
And where a larger design can begin,
Where welcomed strangers grow into friends
And holiday spirit makes room at the inn.
You might send a hundred clichés someone’s way.
A heartfelt word may brighten more than their day.
MPAA rating: Not Rated (definitely G)
I’m sorry I’m getting into the Christmas spirit a little late this year. I thought about compiling a top Christmas movie list, but it would be the same old popular favorites for the most part (A Christmas Story, Home Alone, etc.). Instead, I decided to turn over the holiday reins to my VC, who is fond of this little Hallmark movie that I gave her as a Christmas gift a couple years back.
While it’s perfect for the holidays, The Christmas Card is far from the best Hallmark has to offer. It starts out in Afghanistan, where Sgt. Cody Cullen (John Newton) receives an encouraging Christmas card from a woman out west. When a comrade is killed in action and Cody visits his widow on leave, it turns out that she lives conveniently in the same town as the woman who sent him the card. That would be Faith Spelman (Alice Evans), who conveniently has the same tastes as he does and attends the same church he visits. Conveniently, she has a father (Ed Asner) who takes an instant liking to the handsome soldier and would like nothing more than to fix him up with his daughter. Then, of course, there’s her jealous fiancé and split affections and, well, you see where this is going. While the plot is wholly predictable romantic novel stuff, it’s still rather sweet and enjoyable, though that’s largely due to the scenery.
The Christmas Card always fills my VC with drooling envy, thanks to its setting. The Spelmans live in the quaint mountain town of Nevada City, California, a beautiful hamlet brimming with holiday spirit and warm small-town hospitality. Not only is it the kind of town that could lure my earthquake-phobic VC to California, but the Spelman’s home looks like an HGTV dream house, a palatial but cozy log cabin with a roaring fireplace and a Christmas tree that stands above the rafters. Just looking at this snug residence is enough to put us in the Christmas spirit, perhaps to wrap in a blanket and sip hot chocolate. While the environment keeps my VC’s attention, Alice Evans keeps mine, with her sweatered loveliness and charm holding the affections of two jealous men, though I’m surprised half the town isn’t after her. It’s also cool to recognize her as the younger Eloise Hawking on Lost.
The Christmas Card is nothing deep. John Newton is particularly wooden as the stoic veteran, and neither the acting nor the script is great, though Ed Asner did get an Emmy nomination for his role as the buoyant matchmaker father. While its technical merit is low, it nevertheless rings with Christmas warmth and generosity and brings attention to the soldiers who are away from their families during the holidays. There are better Christmas movies out there, but we keep coming back to The Christmas Card. Merry Christmas to all!
Best line: (Cody, upon meeting Faith’s father Luke) “It’s a real honor to meet you, sir.” (Luke Spelman) “Honor? I guess you haven’t caught wind of my reputation.”
Rank: List Runner-Up
© 2015 S. G. Liput
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