Lindsay Rogers (played by Eloise Mumford) has to make a tough decision: stay in her small town hometown and marry longtime beau and coffee shop owner Jason Stewart (Michael Stahl David), or accept a once in a lifetime job offer, teaching at an Ivy League college thousand of miles away. Fortunately, a magical messenger (William Shatner) gives her a priceless Christmastime gift.[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWKYnKGN8OA[/embedyt]
Permit me to begin by sharing the two main reasons I was initially enthusiastic about this film. First of all, the concept of time travel has always fascinated me. In fact, time travel stories were the earliest kinds of science fiction tales I appreciated. Add in a bit of Yuletide magic, and I’m sold.
Secondly, I was marvelously elated to watch a film with William Shatner. Now, this would be peculiar if you knew my background. I grew up being “forced” to watch Star Trek. I admit that I absolutely abhorred the show, and I avoided it when I could. I even went to see a couple Star Trek films in the theater, and back then, the only character I remotely favored was Spock. Yes, I should have fancied Captain Kirk, and once I become an adult, I viewed Star Trek through a modified lens. I now thoroughly delight in Star Trek, and thanks to some of my actor friends, I’m even a mild science fiction enthusiast. And so seeing William Shatner in this film was an absolute joy.
In the role of the modest but significantly memorable Coachman who is responsible for the astonishing journey upon which our heroine embarks, William Shatner is as phenomenal as one would expect. As the consummate professional, he immerses himself impeccably in the role and entices the viewers to believe every word that comes out of his mouth. With William in this pivotal role, the viewers can count on a magical jaunt that is spearheaded by Hallmark and propelled by this veteran spinner and portrayer of tales.
From the moment I saw the character Grandpa Bob, I recognized the actor but couldn’t place him. Fortunately, once I studied his resume, I immediately made the connection with his Back to the Future character, and this simply made the movie all that more pleasurable. For example, when his character mentions time travel, the comedy of that line is not wasted on the viewers. Furthermore, seeing him in a film where time travel is the key ingredient endows this film the utter charm that ensures an esteemed and long-lasting bond with the viewers.
As Grandpa Bob, Christopher is perfectly extraordinary. In his portrayal of this beloved character, it is evident that Christopher has not lost the spark of enthusiasm he brings to every role. He gives an effortlessly commanding performance that causes the viewer to only want the best for his character at all times. Seeing him in this cherished role ensures the viewers that Christopher has not lost his knack to connect with an audience and engender the kind of devotion and support that practically guarantees an abiding viewership.
I was thrilled to recognize two amazing actresses I have had the pleasure of reviewing fairly recently. First off, Christina often seems to be typecast as the “mean lady” or the “scary lady,” and keeping with tradition, she plays the crabby Mrs. Jamison. When caught in the time travel bubble or even back in “real” time, Mrs. Jamison is one of the ladies who can undoubtedly “rain on anyone’s parade.” And it just seems that Christina always plays these parts effortlessly and to perfection. Though a small part, I can promise you that her interpretation of Mrs. Jamison will capture your attention with a vengeance.
I also recognized this lady instantly. Lucia has a stupendous assembly of credits to her name (Ties That Bind, Driven Underground), and no matter the role she plays, her expertise always shines through. Dean Jackman could be viewed as a kind of unexpected villain (she doesn’t intend to be hostile, but she does force our heroine into a crisis of belief), but in actuality, she is merely a professional who observes talent and aspires to exploit it in the best way possible. Lucia is the consummate actress who is often in supporting roles that could easily be overlooked if it weren’t for her skillful depictions. No matter the role, Lucia always rises to the challenge of portraying the character she is given with authenticity and unparalleled skill.
At the heart of this story is this engaging and intriguing couple–Jason and Lindsay. Although I was unfamiliar with either actor, I can now state that I will always remember Michael and Eloise from this particular film as they were both impeccably cast. Both have a variety of credits to their names, and maybe we will see more of them in the future on this network.
While the chemistry they have is sometimes sultry, I was pleased to see that they never took the physical too far. Additionally, it is clear that the love between their respective characters is based on so much more than just appearance and typical focus on the physical. Jason and Lindsay complement each other, but it is the journey to that discovery and eventual admittance that comprise the gentle tale that their story tells.
As the time travel segment unfolds, it appears that whatever love that was growing between them has expired. Notwithstanding, it is evident that there are still smoldering embers embedded within their souls, and they both find it quite difficult to conceal those emotions. All the other characters can perceive the impassioned love and devotion they have for each other, and in denying that bond, they nearly destroy themselves.
Michael and Eloise infuse delightful humor and uneasy interactions (when the situation is warranted). While we must remember this is Hallmark and “happy endings” are typically a foregone conclusion, the path to true love is often bumpy, arduous, and sometimes fraught with danger. No matter what is encountered, we are certain of the placement of their hearts long before they acknowledge it. I sincerely hope to see both of these gifted actors in another Hallmark film soon (how about a sequel?).
No matter what occurs in the world, there is one constant with respect to Hallmark. This is a network that consistently features handsome leading men with exemplary talent who typically deliver credible performances. In the case of Michael, we have all that and more. Although Michael lends his rugged features to the character Jason, he has injected so much more into this simple, broken-hearted man who attempts to move on after the love of his life has rejected him. Michael has a nonchalance about him that easily shines through every scene in which he appears. Because of his mild but proficient way of portraying this character, the viewers never question his veracity. There is no doubt whatsoever that Jason is wildly in love with Lindsay, and he is doing everything he can to secure their fairy tale ending. It is difficult for the audience to imagine that any woman would forsake a guy like Jason, and we have the capable Michael to praise for what we see in this amiable gentleman who never appears artificial nor overdone. Michael guarantees that his character never misplaces the ingenuousness that makes his character so doggone appealing.
From the moment Eliose graced the screen of this film, I fell violently in love with her effervescent smile. Eliose has such a quick smile that often leads to a darling giggle that can slice through any tension or pessimism. Thankfully, Eloise infuses this joi de vivre into her character, Lindsay, but in spite of her sunny outlook, Lindsay has an uphill battle. Not only is she compelled to choose between two seemingly beneficial possibilities, but she is suddenly thrust into a world in which three years have passed, and she has no recollection of those “lost years.” When it comes to time travel films, one of the most important things an actor can do is certify that he/she has convinced the viewers that what is typically assumed to be impossible is a genuine possibility (especially at Christmastime, right?). And as far as I’m concerned, Eloise has done just that. I never found myself questioning the verity of what I was witnessing on the screen since Eloise absorbs herself wholly in this film. That may be a difficult task under normal circumstances, but seeing the sincere way Eloise defines her character produces true sympathy for her character’s plight. And her natural charisma prompts me to focus on her character most of the time when she is on the screen. Indeed, Eloise is a true professional who has not lost the ability to laugh nor even be silly without appearing childish or amateurish.
While much of this film follows the typical Hallmark format, the unique plot twists and inclusion of time travel set this apart in the world of family holiday entertaining. I found myself smiling from ear to ear throughout the vast majority of the film, and while this is somewhat of a light, romantic comedy, this story and pleasant cast are not to be overlooked.
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