Cinema Slueth – A Veteran’s Christmas

For all movies released by Hallmark Channels, go here.

Stars: 4.5 / 5

Recommendation: A little too perfect, and a bit perkier, but the chemistry and timing of comedy makes up for it specially when real issues are addressed with the right amount of emotions.

A Veteran’s Christmas is a 2018 holiday romantic movie by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel as part of their 2018 Miracles of Christmas line-up. Eloise Mumford, Sean Faris, Mary Long, Amanda Lisman, Jacob Blair and Jenna Weir are the primary cast of the film. Witten and Directed by Mark Jean and produced by a plethora of producers as these movies go.

Honorably discharged from the Marines, Captain Grace Garland (portrayed by Eloise Mumford) heads to her next assignment in Cincinnati to live as a civilian. However enroute her jeep breaks down causing a brief accident right in front of Rivers Crossing’s municipal judge, Judge Joe Peterson (portrayed by Sean Faris). As she stays in Rivers Crossing while her jeep is getting repaired both Grace and Joe fall for each other. Can Joe make her stay in Rivers Crossing permanently? Can Grace fall head over heels in love with someone whom she met only days before?

Sean Faris and Eloise Mumford have worked together before in the 2012 holiday family drama Christmas with Holly, a good 6 years prior to this film. So the chemistry between them seems easy since they have known each others abilities. However, it is more natural than one would expect. They are cute and charming as a couple together.

As I mentioned in my earlier review of 2022 romantic drama film Presence of Love, you don’t see Eloise when she plays her character but the character. And so we see how Captain Grace Garland would be if she was a real person in the acting of Eloise.

Sean Faris is the funny uncle and lovable town judge as Joe Peterson. There were a few dialogues that he delivered with more gusto than needed, but they didn’t do anything less for his character.

Jenna Weir plays the part of Addison, Joe’s niece in the film. But if you listen closely you can connect her to the voice of Samantha Mulberry in the Clifford the Big Red Dog TV series from 2019 – 2021.

With this movie, Hallmark delves into the life of veterans, that too a woman, after they try to get back into civilian life. Granted that the gory and sad part of it or the struggles the veterans face is not shown here considering it is a Hallmark movie. However, we see the real struggle that Grace Garland faces in being apart from her K-9 partner who had been more than just a dog.

It also shows how the military active or veterans may be confident in their duty but when moving on to civilians they take baby steps, feel shy and unconfident before they settle in. The doubts and struggles they have are also briefly touched upon.

Again Hallmark moves a little away from it’s standard formula. There is no big city heroine returning to her home town to fix something or help someone or take shelter from a problem in the big city, meet an old flame making her consider her current relationships, have an almost kiss, an accidental misunderstanding, and get it all resolved by the last 5 minutes of the movie.

It was a little too perfect, and a bit perkier, but I can ignore that when I see the perfect chemistry, timing of comedy and the right amount of emotions and real issues addressed in the story. It makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you want be part of their lives – a little exuberant and a little perky but a lot more genuine and thoroughly in love.

Spoiler Alerts:

Movie Trivia:

  1. The bus that Grace boards actually does belong to Tisdale Bus Lines (as it says on the bus).

2. Joe makes Triple Cheese Double Baked eggs for Grace one night for diner. I did try one of the recipes when I first saw this movie. Now I cant seem to find any pictures of it or the recipe I tried. 😦

Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

  1. How did Grace get a new license plate to her car that she bought at the used car dealer in Washington since she had just come back to the States from her active duty?
  2. The movie is supposed to be set in US. However you can see the URLs on the storefront showing them ending in “.ca” specifying Canada.

3. In te beginning of the film, when Grace is driving in the Judge’s car, she passes The Nutty Chocolatier store on her driver’s side. But moments later when she pulled over by the police officer, the store is now on her passenger’s side without even making a turn.

4. In the scene where Grace is pulled over by the police officer, moments later when Sean and his mother Fran stop by, Fran addresses the police officer as “Cooper”. Then in the following scene when Joe is talking about her buddy “Coop” she doesn’t connect the dots until she sees Cooper step into the house. Shouldn’t she have been able to connect the dots already instead of being surprised at that moment?

5. The town name is spelt Rivers Crossing at the beginning of the film. However the subtitles display the name as “River’s Crossing”.

6. During the street decorating scene, we see the ornaments appear and disappear on the side Joe is decorating.

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