With the holidays almost upon us (where has the time gone?), I figured this would be an excellent moment to review a Christmas film. This is one that a very dear friend sent to me last weekend (Read her guest review of the film Daniel’s Daughter here.) Up to that point, I had only seen a part of this movie on youtube. (Okay, just don’t bother. The picture quality was horrendous, and halfway through, it froze and refused to play.) I realize this is a somewhat difficult film to procure, but the hunt will be worth it.
Oh, that’s right. I never told you what the name of the film was. I am talking about none other than Eve’s Christmas. This has the distinction of being the first Christmas film I’ve watched this year. And that’s saying something special about this film because usually I choose a classic Christmas film for that distinction. But not this year. This year has certainly been different but in a very good way.
Oh, did I forget to mention why I am reviewing this film? Well, if you have not guessed the reason (uh, just go check out my twitter feed and you might have an indication), this is yet another Sebastian Spence film. Now before you decide that this blogger is thoroughly obsessed with this actor (guilty as charged), please give this review a chance. I can sincerely tell you that this is the perfect movie to instantly put you in the holiday spirit. Not to mention that the story is endearing, and the leading man is pretty magnificent himself (yes, this is a biased review, but I promise it is a fair review.)
Before I review this film, of course, I have to tell you a story. I had heard about this film for quite some time, and all my fellow sisters in the unofficial Sebastian Spence fan club continued to tell me I had to see this movie. I looked it up, and I was so disappointed to see that it was out of print and only available from private sellers. I decided to wait on this one though I was longing to see it (Just so you know, dear reader, that is my normal response to any of his films.)
Well, one night, a group of us were online chatting with Sebastian, and one of my friends mentioned that she had watched Eve’s Christmas and had enjoyed it. He then jokingly apologized for the karaoke scene in the film. Immediately, all of my friends (they had already seen the film, probably more than once), began telling him that it wasn’t that bad. And I do mean all the other girls were saying this.
Now, of course, I had not seen the film and had no idea what they were talking about. I will admit to sometimes taking the opposing view just to stir things up. And this was my opportunity. Add to this the fact that I was a music teacher, and I could not resist. So I jumped in and said that the music teacher would have to decide. And since I was the only one taking the opposing view, well, I would say that Sebastian appreciated the joke. He said that he was nervous and counting on my compassion. Furthermore, when the topic came up again later and my friend said that Eve’s Christmas would be arriving in the mail, he remembered my response from earlier and said that he was in trouble since I would be critiquing his singing. (What he didn’t know is that I had already seen that part of the film.)
Honestly, this story makes the movie even dearer to my heart. After all, how many people have the opportunity to share a joke with the lead actor of a film? I would venture to say very few and far between. Therefore, every time I even see this title, this is the story that will always come to mind. And for that delightful memory, this man has my undying gratitude. (There are definitely other reasons for this gratitude, but that is beside the point.)
A wealthy and successful career woman gets a second chance in life when a magical wish transports her back in time eight years to when she walked away from her fiance to lead a business life in New York.
From the opening scene, I was intrigued with this magical film. Eve Simon (played brilliantly by Elisa Donovan) is extremely convincing in the role of the career woman who supposedly has it all. I know that so many women find themselves in exactly her position–giving up true love in the pursuit of what society tells you is important. But looking at this poor character, you know that she is unhappy and is truly in need of a miracle. I never questioned the veracity of Elisa’s portrayal of this character, and I made the comment more than once how stunning she was in the role.
Now, I realize that time travel (even at Christmastime) is impossible. But this movie gives a nod to two classics: A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life. How many of us would take the opportunity to go back for a second chance at happiness? Actually, I’m not sure I would want to . I’d probably complicate my life even further. But at Christmastime, these kinds of stories are truly enchanting. At Christmas, anything is indeed possible.
Once the movie reverts back to 1996, I found myself chuckling at how many things were not even around in 1996. That year doesn’t seem so long ago, but so much has changed. There was no Pilates, “special diets,” and the online shopping marketplace was only in its infancy. Really? You know, I didn’t even have an e-mail address back then. I didn’t have cable television, and I was living in Florida. And I was just beginning my career as a teacher. What a year that was. Apologies for this nostalgic walk down memory lane, dear reader, but you may find yourself doing the same thing if you watch it. Back to the review.
If you notice, I have not even mentioned Sebastian in the review until now. He plays Scot Gustafson, the real love of Eve’s life. And permit me to say, he really looks so amazingly dashing in this film. I truly could not take my eyes of him (okay, so that’s my normal response). But he looked exceptionally impressive in this film, and he played his part superbly. I realize he plays the “nice guy” role yet again, but when Sebastian plays any role, he always throws his entire heart and soul into it. You forget that he is Sebastian Spence, the actor. You believe that he truly is whatever role he embraces.
Let me just be personal for a moment (yes, so unlike me, I know). As I have come to know and understand who Sebastian Spence is, when I watch one of his films, it is just like spending time with a friend. That may sound strange, but I’ve come to discover the man behind the actor. And let me assure you, dear reader, he is so believable in the “nice guy” roles (yes, he is convincing in any role) because he is that–a nice guy. Why am I so certain? I could wax eloquent on this topic for a long time (and I usually do), but suffice it to say I just know. In the same way I know that in the Pacific Northwest, most days will be overcast in the calendar year, so I know Sebastian Spence is a nice guy.
The way in which the story unfolds is so clever and spellbinding. Even my mom watched till the end (This film was a bit cheesy for her, but she did like Sebastian in his role). Actually, one of my favorite scenes is right at the end. I can’t exactly tell you what happens–that would spoil the story. But I will say that it involves a toilet flushing. If you’ve seen the movie, you know exactly what I mean.
So, is this my favorite of his movies? No, I can’t say it’s my favorite. I prefer movies where he gets more of a chance to act. However, this movie has risen in the ranks to be one of my top holiday favorites. And as much as I love Sebastian, the film wouldn’t have been as amazing without his co-star. As my mom said just the other day, Elisa was so cute and funny in the story that you didn’t find yourself getting bored (She said this after watching a similar Hallmark film that was really boring).
Oh, goodness, how could I forget? The karaoke scene! (Well, of course, I didn’t forget. This is what one might call planned anticipation.) So what did the music teacher think of the karaoke scene. Well, first of all, it was very smart for there to be a “singer” before him who was totally off-key. I’m not putting anyone down, but that was the role. There is nothing like a really bad act to make anyone look good.
That being said, when it was time for Sebastian’s karaoke scene, I set everything aside, and I was expecting the worst. Something tells me that he somewhat set me up for this to be much worse than it was. I’m sure he did cringe when he saw this part–I understand. I absolutely hate watching videos of myself singing, and I’m a singer. So what was my take? He was on pitch virtually 100 percent of the time (that is the most important thing about singing), and he even put expression into it–his heart and soul as he always does. Do I think he should become a singer? Uh, probably not. Now, the music teacher in me says that if he really worked at it, he probably could do fairly well. At least he has an ear for music. But something tells me that at this point, acting is where is heart is, not singing. Well, acting amongst other things–he is multi-talented, but I’m not going to list his many gifts here. You’ll have to discover those for yourself, dear reader. My take on this scene is that is was a darling part of the movie, and he played it well. I was so relieved he could carry a tune! (But I beg you, Sebastian, please don’t record a CD.)
In conclusion, if you are looking for a heart-warming holiday film with a classically unique storyline that the entire family can watch, you can’t go wrong with this film. I highly recommend it. (So are there any of his films that I wouldn’t recommend? Only time will tell.)
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