“The Christmas Note” Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Review

By Ruth on December 2, 2015 in Christmas, Holidays, movie, review, television
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Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives.

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor’s sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they’re no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives.


First of all, while this film is predictable and even somewhat conventional, this does not mean that it is tedious nor unpleasant. On the contrary, it is superb in both acting and storytelling alike. I don’t often find myself crying during films, but this is one that caused me to well with emotion. The ending was so stirring that I couldn’t help but become enmeshed in the sentiment. The story is refreshing, and the actors all work together to create a rousing story filled with warmth and light, especially appropriate in a time of such darkness in this world of ours.

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Leah Gibson, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Leah Gibson as Melissa McCreary, Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Gretchen Daniels Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

At the center of the story are these two ladies, Melissa and Gretchen, as played by Leah and Jamie-Lynn. While I am familiar with Leah’s work, Jamie-Lynn is a newer face for me (though I have probably seen her here or there based on her resume). While both characters are somewhat reticent at first to meet and interact, before long, they are working to disentangle a mystery that takes them on a journey overflowing with pitfalls, impasses, and disappointments. But fortunately, neither one gives up. There is a common bond concerning the attempt to reach the conclusion of the expedition with some sort of incident that will give Melissa the closure she needs.

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Leah Gibson, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Leah Gibson, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Concerning the actresses who portray these amateur sleuths, I cannot praise them highly enough. Both Leah and Jamie-Lynn depict their characters with authenticity and ardent conviction. The progression of their friendship develops speedily out of necessity, but then ultimately because they have a common goal which has inexorably intertwined their lives. And there is no doubt that these two are flawlessly cast.

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Dylan Kingwell, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Photo: Dylan Kingwell, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

With the addition of Gretchen’s son Ethan, as played by Dylan, we have an unusual reunion in the film. I had the distinct privilege of viewing most of the first (and only) season of The Returned when it aired on cable in the U.S.  When I saw both Dylan and Leah, I knew I recognized them, and when I discovered both had been in The Returned, it was a moment of true ecstasy for me. I recalled the eerily captivating way Dylan played the unusual boy in that show–indeed it was a highlight. Albeit, this role is decidedly dissimilar. Add Leah, who was wholly notable in every episode of that show in which she appeared–it was like a mini-Returned reunion.

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Kingwell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Kingwell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

To see the genuine interactions between all members in the cast is a delectation, but in so many ways, Dylan steals the show as Ethan, the boy who ceaselessly believes against all odds that his Christmas wish to Santa will become actualized. And, of course, with the pathos of the military father who gave all for his country (with the exception of his life), Greg does an exceptional job of depicting the recuperating hero who may not be able to come home until after Christmas, thus shattering his family’s anticipatory plans.  I am always grateful to Hallmark for infusing the love of country through the military personnel they often feature on their shows and films as they always give those courageous men and women the true honor they deserve when it is sometimes is overlooked in this day and age. And at Christmastime, can there truly be a dry eye when that which was impossible becomes the most auspicious moment for the family and the town (no spoilers–this is Hallmark. Was there ever a doubt regarding the ending?).

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Dylan Kingwell, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Dylan Kingwell, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Kingwell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Kingwell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Kingwell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Kingwell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Kingwell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Greg Vaughan, Dylan Kingwell Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Barclay Hope, Dylan Kingwell, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Photo: Lochlyn Munro as Robert, Dylan Kingwell, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

A joyous surprise for me is the appearance of this well-known actor–Lochlyn Munro. The moment I saw his character Robert appear, I knew he was familiar, and I began to scan the vast and uncharted “files” in my brain. I am exceedingly proud to report that I recognized this man and remembered his name! I had most recently seen him in Driven Underground, and as much as I fancied him in that role, I was unequivocally enchanted with his role in this film.

Having just moved back to her hometown without her serviceman husband but with her young son, Gretchen Daniels finds her life in disarray as Christmas approaches. But she discovers new purpose when she helps to deliver a message to her neighbor, Melissa, which makes her an ally in the quest to find the neighbor's sibling she never knew she had. The women become bonded not only by the search, but by the understanding that being there for each other means they're no longer alone. This friendship becomes the greatest Christmas gift of their lives. Photo: Barclay Hope, Dylan Kingwell, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Lochlyn Munro, Dylan Kingwell, Jamie-Lynn Sigler Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

I have seen Lochlyn in an extensive variety of roles over the past few years, and all too often, the characters which the powers that be bestow upon him (through no fault of his own), have been two-dimensional at best. While Lochlyn is an amiable guy, I don’t tend to delight in his roles. However, as Robert, the lawyer who is instrumental in providing the jubilant conclusion for all parties, I fell in love with his character at first sight.  It was sheer rapture to watch as this master actor infused his most excellent qualities into this imposing attorney who is benevolence personified. I cannot say enough about this tremendous actor, and I truly hope to witness more roles where his prowess and distinguished presence can be manifested in all its glory. Lochlyn deserves roles where he can demonstrate his notable talent and stunning capabilities.

Iris Quinn, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Leah Gibson Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

Iris Quinn, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Leah Gibson Credit: Copyright 2015 Crown Media United States, LLC/Photographer: Bettina Strauss

So what is my consensus? While this film is conservative and predictable (this is Hallmark, after all), the story is sincerely gratifying and at times poignant. While I wasn’t  obscured by droves of tears, at the denouement, a tear or two escaped my eye. Military and adoption themes are often emotional instigators for me, and the fact that the story was written with such tenderness and compassion unquestionably consumed my very heart and soul. Additionally, each actor portrayed his/her character with credibility and reverence, and I can guarantee this is a must-see film this holiday season. Furthermore, I was relieved to not see a hackneyed love story. In fact, the focus of the film reminds us of the significant values (especially at Christmastime): family, love, forgiveness, and charity.  While this is not the absolute foremost film of the holiday season, it is worth the time to watch and connect with the story and talented actors.

For more information:

http://www.hallmarkmoviesandmysteries.com/the-christmas-note

 

 

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth
42-year-old single mother of an active 13-year-old girl Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA Entertainment Writer Available For Interviews and Reviews Substitute Teacher

4 Comments

  1. CarolT August 19, 2016 Reply

    I saw this movie last year and loved it. I too loved the lawyer and yesterday I was watching an old JAG rerun from 9/21/99 and continued 9/28/99 – the smile looked familiar and I wracked my brain to remember where I had seen him before. He did one turn of his head and flashed a smile and I delved deeper in my brain and the light went off! I looked up the Jag cast and it was Lochlyn Munro! Loved the movie and loved the way he went through the story of how he came up with who the sibling was! Sweet!

    • Author
      Ruth August 19, 2016 Reply

      Don’t you just love that? It’s the best when that happens. Lochlyn is one of those actors who pops up when you least expect him. Loved that he played a good guy for a change!

  2. Curious December 3, 2016 Reply

    Love this movie! Do you know who sings the song in this movie?

    • Author
      Ruth December 3, 2016 Reply

      Oh my I am afraid I have no idea. It Is sometimes tough to find music from Hallmark movies

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