Yes, it is very much post-Christmas, but I promised the whole Countdown to Christmas so you’re getting them. Hallmark is still showing them films on its station so I’m sort of in the clear. I’ll just tell myself that. Let’s run through Reunited at Christmas, aired during the Thanksgiving blitz. I held off on this one because I recall it being boring.
Samantha Murphy’s beloved grandmother plots from beyond the grave to bring the family together for one more hometown Christmas, during which everyone is reminded of the importance of family, love and second chances. When Samantha’s boyfriend, Simon, proposes marriage and she accepts in front of her entire family, Simon is forced to play out an uncomfortable charade when Samantha admits she spoke too soon. Starring Nikki DeLoach and Mike Faiola.
Nikki DeLoach has been in multiple Hallmark films, so it was only a matter of time for her to be in one.
A young girl runs over to her Nana to hear a Christmas story. Nana blows her off and instead tells her to put up the Christmas star. It’s a magical piece that even YOU can buy in the bargain bin of Michael’s. Nana also tells her granddaughter that this will be her inheritance when she dies.
The little girl is our heroine, Sam. She’s all grown up and heading to an office for a big meeting about a new book. They loved her last one and want her to do a Christmas-themed novel. Sam isn’t confident in her ability to write one, but if she wants to pay the bills, that’s what she’s gotta do.
She discusses the meeting and her Christmas history with her boyfriend, Simon. Sam’s grandmother is dead, her parents are divorced so Christmas was all over the place, and now dad is selling Nana’s home. Toss in a political divide and this sounds like a good reason to not be overly enthused by the holiday season.
Sam receives a letter in the mail from her dead grandmother. Nana has invited all of the family members to spend one more Christmas in her home. She and her dad discuss this with a twinge of delight. Most people would cry or think this is creepy, but an invitation from a dead person is just regular stuff.
She breaks the dead Nana house news to Simon. He’s supportive as usual even though his plan to go to Aspen with Sam is upended. Hopefully, he didn’t book anything because hotels can be nightmares when it comes to cancellations. He offers to join her for Christmas.
The couple makes it to Nana’s house after picking up a bottle of eggnog from the local diner. Mom and Dad haven’t spent much time together since the divorce so they’re a bit too formal with one another. Must have been an acrimonious split.
The sisters have a heart to heart about their lives. Sam pretty much says that she and Simon aren’t getting married anytime soon so sis should put that bridal plan away. The family gathers together to read a note from the dead grandmother that gives them a list of Christmas traditions they need to do. Nana is bossing her family around from the grave.
Sam takes a breather outside to let the ghost demands sink in when Simon comes over. He’s nervous, in love, and takes the opportunity to propose. Sam is visibly distressed. The family rushes out onto the porch to congratulate them before anything is secured. This scares Sam into saying yes. Her face, however, communicates a different response.
The next morning, Mom and Dad have an awkward conversation. Looks like they never went to a marriage therapist because there’s some deep-set anger bubbling up. Sam has her own awkward conversation with Simon. It appears she wants to take back the proposal, but chickens out.
Post-the-breakfasting-hour, the family decorates trees. There’s a main event tree, but there’s a lot of excess tree running around the house. Mom and Dad have another argument which puts everyone off the festive season.
The family decides to gloss over the strained parental relationship to go ice skating. Sam unloads on Simon. She’s worried about everything and takes back the proposal. Simon is gob smacked.
The next day, Simon takes out his frustration by chopping wood. He’s a man, after all. Sam approaches with the olive branch of a cup of lukewarm cider. She wants to go back to the way things were, but Sam ain’t about it. He’s going to finish a news story he was working on in town and then go home for Christmas to a family that loves him. Sam is shocked because she’s fine with him staying for Christmas, but can you blame Simon? He just got rejected and is with a strange family that is taking orders from a ghost.
Sam has gotten nowhere with her book, so she puts it off even more by having a chat with her sister. She tells sis that the relationship may be over which takes the sister aback. Basically, Sam has baggage from her previous relationship and was scarred from the parents’ divorce. Commitment of the marriage type just isn’t her style.
The family continues the dead Nana traditions by decorating cookies. Simon hesitantly joins the session and lies about telling his parents about the engagement. Man, I feel bad for this guy. In an interesting turn, Simon isn’t petulant about the rejection. He’s hurt but doesn’t lash out at Sam and simply wants to take some time to process the relationship. He also doesn’t want to make things awkward for Sam, so he lies to keep the family happy. Both characters have somewhat normal motivations behind their actions. Again, this is interesting because it’s a Hallmark film.
In the diner, Sam’s sister tries to vouch for her. Sam’s previous fiancé pulled a runaway bride on the day of the wedding so that’s pretty dire. It’s also news to Simon.
Next on the ghost of Christmas Nana’s traditions is picking a Christmas tree. Simon runs up to the family. He thinks it’s important he joins. Either my brain has melted from all the Hallmark films or Simon is actually a good guy.
The women go off on their own and mom reveals she’s got a potential new beau. Sam is upset and asks her mom if she misses dad. I’m not sure how long these people have been divorced, but this is not a question I’d expect from a grown woman. Mom basically says that she’s gotta move on.
At home, the family reminisces about happier times over the ornaments. Apparently, Mom and Dad liked each other at one stage. But hold on, folks, Nana’s star is missing. This is probably a ploy of Nana’s to bring the family together. Nana was a Type A ho.
The following morning, Mom and Dad get some of their flirtation on. Old love is still valid love. The family then goes for a Christmas picture together. Everyone is pretty onboard with this whole treasure hunt of family traditions. Simon joins the photo due to a mixture of awkwardness and family guilting. The flashbulb goes off before they show their teeth, so someone should fire the photographer.
It’s breakfast time and Simon is off to do his news work with Sam in tow. The relationship is on the mend! It’s a Christmas miracle. He’s doing a piece on some actors that have difficulty reading more than one line. What makes this couple interesting? They got married on Christmas a year ago. Whatever.
That evening, Simon gives Sam a snow globe that has a replica of the house. It’s a heartwarming gift. Sam hands her gift over. It’s a picture of the two of them at an ice skating rink where they met. Right, this is too nice. They’re falling in love again. That’s the point of this scene. Moving on.
The family continues the never-ending Nana demands with a fancy Christmas charity event. Mom and Dad are falling in love again because she makes his tie and he likes her dress. Dad offers to not sell Nana’s house and suggests that Mom visit every now and then for some sweet bangin’. Upstairs, we get the 20 years younger version of this between Sam and Simon.
After the boring speeches from the charity group, the family toasts and gets on the dance floor. Simon tries to convince Sam that he’s the dude for her. It almost works until the parents butt in with tons of marriage questions. It freaks Sam out. They ruin the vibe enough that Simon jumps ship. He just said he’d always be there, but the parents are unbearable.
Sam comes clean to the family and has her mini-breakdown. The parents console her.
The pep talk amps Sam up to the point that she runs from the party to intercept Simon. She runs through the house to find him…but he’s not there. As she’s ready to cry, she sees him standing at the door. She apologizes but he doesn’t want her to make a rash decision because of the Christmassy feelings. Sam requests a re-proposal and Simon obliges. It’s a happy ending.
Oh yeah, Sam writes her novel (in a day?), Mom and Dad sort of hook up too, they find the Christmas star from that nuisance Nana, and the house isn’t sold. That’s the magic of Christmas.
I think I gave my thoughts on the film. It was far more grounded than I would’ve thought a Hallmark film could be. Simon wasn’t the crappiest man in the world. And while Sam’s reasons for not committing were childish in some ways (the divorce), others (being jilted) were understandable. Yeah, Simon was a bit one note, but he was a supportive dude in a good way. Everyone, I’m wildly conflicted about my feelings on the film. It was a bit boring but that’s ok I guess.
We’re almost at the end of Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas…When Calls the Heart’s Christmas episode is next. It’s a show and I dunno what it’s about so if you’re a fan, sorry.
- Is the diner owner a young man in an old man mask? He’s got an odd look about him.
- “We hang the ornaments with caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare” God, I’m sick of this song.
- Find the rest of the recap/reviews here.