Dr. Lauren Brunell (Bure) has her whole life planned out. As a third year surgery resident, she is counting on being accepted into a prestigious hospital fellowship to follow in the footsteps of her supportive father, Henry (Pine). But when those plans quickly fall apart, and Lauren is put on the wait list, she must take the only other opening available: a head doctor position in the small, remote town of Garland, Alaska. Convincing herself it is only temporary, Lauren moves to Garland where she is immediately charmed by Andy (O’Donnell), a handsome local who soon starts to show her the importance of living in the moment and enjoying her unexpected adventure. As Lauren excels as Garland’s trusted doctor, she warms up to the friendly town. But Andy’s father, Frank (Doyle-Murray), is hiding something from her in his top-secret shipping warehouse. Just as Lauren decides to get to the bottom of her suspicions, she receives news that will force her to make a life-changing decision, while knowing for certain that the Christmas season will never be the same.
First of all, I am a massive Candace Cameron Bure fan. I loved her in Full House, and it was so exciting to see her get married and declare her faith so openly. She has never wavered from that, and I fully support her. Not only that, but she if a fantastic actress. She is the “real deal.”
From the opening of the film, I was enraptured with this film. Candace was just the perfectly believable doctor. I sensed every emotion, disappointment and new experience right along with her. I knew nothing about Alaska, but it was quite entertaining to see her character adjust to such a diverse way of living. The proverbial city girl trying to fit into a small town in the middle of nowhere.
Amazingly, her character truly begins to connect with everyone in the town. And they get used to her being there. Her character’s plans of going back to big-city Boston begin to sound negative to her rather than positive. Maybe she should stay?
Part of her character’s issues and confusion are due to the character of Andy (played by David O’Donnell). He is charming to be sure, and his father has a striking resemblance to Santa Claus. Candace’s character and his seem to make the perfect couple, and I found myself never questioning the chemistry and fun between them.
While the story is a typical “Hallmark” story, the acting is outstanding, and there are a few twists and turns along the way. It is an excellent reminder about of what is important in this world. In fact, my only complaint is the very last few minutes. For me, reality was really strained. I would have preferred an ending that left more to the imagination. I’m sure many would disagree. But if that’s my only complaint, that’s not too bad.
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