*There were two I didn’t/couldn’t finish and there is another coming out next week (A California Christmas)
So here is a short review of nearly every Christmas Romance movie on Netflix. We’ll do some bests, some honourable mentions, some worsts, and the rest.
Best of the Best
Knight Before Christmas
Totally offbeat, hits a lot of the tropes, huge amounts of fun, NO TRAGIC MISUNDERSTANDING, diverse cast, silly and sweet. Good for a night in by yourself or a watch party with friends.
Midnight at the Magnolia
Apart from a couple of pause-because-of-the-awkward moments this movie was just plain lovely. It had some misunderstandings, but they weren’t absurd, it moved at the right pace and just felt cosy and warm the whole way.
A double-bill of radio themed movies! I really enjoyed this, it was lots of fun. I liked that it took the “entitled family” issue we see in a number of movies but shows people actively working on themselves to readjust. Wholesome and lovely.
A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
If you like wanting to punch side-characters in the face, this is the one for you. Another completely wacky story (though no time travel this time) which took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. Fun and cute, would probably re-watch.
A Christmas Prince (series)
These movies are satire and you can prise that take from my cold dead hands. I will get around to finishing up my article on them being satire but in the meantime, enjoy the fun, the silliness, try not to think too hard about it, and laugh at Richard.
The Princess Switch
Only the first one. Again we’ve got full-blown silly premise, but it’s cute, it’s charming, it’s easy-watching.
Worst of the Worst
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
This movie is a hot mess. I didn’t realise it was gonna be an Actual Musical with Actual Stage Type Dancing, for starters. I didn’t expect that one of the key couples was going to be a couple who own a baby-store but can’t have kids. Or that a little girl lost her mum in a car crash and that’s why her dad hates our Scrooge-lady. Or that that little girl and her dad would be in a car crash visiting the grave of her mum. Or that even though they talked about science Dolly’s angel magic would actually impregnate the woman and fix the kid’s brain. Oh, and none of the songs were even good. It’s been a week and I’m still mad I watched this film.
I’ll Be Home for Christmas
Something in the ilk of “A Perfect Christmas List” in which the child is unreasonable for having anything but unending love and forgiveness for their parent. I did finish this one but it made me angry a lot. Other people might enjoy it if they don’t have the parent issues I do but there are better movies out there.
A New York Christmas Wedding
I don’t know where to start with this one in brief but I can’t in good conscience recommend it. I want to support more LGBTQIAA+ movies, more movies with diverse casts, but 2 of the 2 Queer Christmas Movies I’ve watched have been… rubbish. It’s just sad and tragic and then all of that gets retconned by time travel but it’s not clear if the person who went back to a previous point in time knew everything and that’s why they made a different decision or just… what. Just start making some Christmas Pride and Prejudice type movies with queer characters! I would watch the shit out of them.
The Rest (Alphabetically)
A Perfect Christmas List (Not Watched)
I’ll go more into it in the “Movies I Won’t Be Watching” review but basically, I don’t agree with perpetuating the nonsense that is “You should just figure it out, she’s your mother”. And I wasn’t about to watch a whole movie where “doing things together brings people together” when actually some people need therapy and some people need space.
A Wish for Christmas
Lacey Chabert makes a wish to a Real Santa to find more gumption and stand up for herself. I watched it last year (I think?) and it was sweet, and fun, watching her find her feet and do things for her. Would probably re-watch.
Another a riff on the “entitled rich girl gets stuck in the country and succumbs to its charms” trope. But it was pretty enjoyable. Silly of course, but cute enough to watch alone or fun with friends.
OK, so this one, the side characters made me SUPER mad. It’s always a busy city-person moving back to the country and have to decide whether to give into the small town charms or stick with their old life. But I’ve never watched a movie where the disdain the townspeople have for the person’s previous life is so overt. The male romantic lead actually said “Shall I throw some trash bags around to remind you of New York?” This movie had no idea how these sorts of movies are supposed to go. Don’t bother.
Christmas Made to Order
This was just a bit blah. Like, yes many Christmas movies are drawn from the same well, and you know that going in, but often people try to spice it up, or they at least make it worth your while to watch another version of the same thing. This one, not so much.
Christmas Wedding Planner
Oh my god, so… forced? cliche? rubbish? Not like, notably bad but just… naff. No re-watch it, and you shouldn’t watch it.
Christmas with a View
This movie doesn’t know how to be a romance movie. They were snogging half an hour in and so we needed some wilful misunderstandings to force the tension back in. It could be done like this, and done well (Looking at you A Song for Christmas), but this was not it. No re-watch, and you shouldn’t watch it.
Christmas with the Coopers (Not Watched)
Just too damn tedious. There was a narrator who over-narrated everything and everyone was tedious. There were so many characters whose relationships weren’t entirely clear and none of them were particularly interesting. It’s hard to say what makes a movie bad and what makes it unwatchable but Hannah and I couldn’t finish this one. We got 20 minutes, still had 1.5 hours to go (aka too long for a Christmas film) and gave up.
Hits all the right beats, knows its pacing, does everything right, doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but cute enough. Not re-watch worthy, but watchable.
Definitely off-beat take on a romance film, not too cheesy but a bit cringey at times. But quite fun. More fun to watch with friends I think. Not a re-watch, but fun if you’ve got a gang and you’re all down for some laughs.
Holiday in the Wild
I mean, elephants are the best am I right? Another one where there’s some manufactured outrage when actually they could have either taken the love story element slower or just had them be in love – the pacing was off but it was sweet nonetheless. Probably no re-watch, but definitely a cosy night in movie.
My Christmas Inn
There is an art to cheeky, playful, snippy, yet subtly flirty banter. This movie has no art. The romantic leads, especially the woman, just start off at each other’s throats and it’s just tedious. We all know “they will”, but it’s fun to pretend there’s a “will they/won’t they” thing going on. This is one of those movies where “if they act like that they absolutely will not”. And that’s not how you do romance. Don’t bother.
Operation Christmas Drop
So I didn’t realise that Operation Christmas Drop was a real thing. I’m not going to go into the politics of it because I’m a white girl in Britain. It probably does a lot of good? But maybe not as much good as could be done? Either way this movie was fun until you think it’s maybe a propaganda movie backed by the US Department of Defence. Oh, and the bit where there are women wearing grass skirts and regular t-shirts, doing their shop and the female romantic lead gives a little girl her handbag “to keep her sea shells in”. There’s some poor taste comments going on. If you want to be an ethical consumer, don’t watch. If you want to watch anyway, there’s some really crass stereotyping going on; don’t watch.
Completely weird take on a simple premise. Goes extra weird towards the end. Definitely a movie for watching with friends to laugh at. For watching on your own, don’t bother. Unless you want to be completely enchanted by Pep, the elf girl. She’s almost worth watching the whole movie for.
I’m not going to go into it, you know, and I know, this film is excellent. It’s only not on the best list because it would be unfair to the other movies.
The Holiday Calendar
It’s been two years since I watched it but I remember it being cute and warm and cosy. No big challenges plus, we need more movies with Actors of Colour. I could probably rewatch and it’s definitely watchable.
The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again
Just totally absurd. Nonsense, from start to finish. Another one for a “let’s watch bad movies with friends” night but I can’t imagine enjoying it on my own.
So there you have it, things to watch, maybe watch, and definitely not watch!