Cinema Slueth – Christmas with Holly

For all movies released by Hallmark Channels, go here.

Stars: 4.5 / 5

Recommendation: A sweet, poignant and heartfelt Christmas movie with an incredible cast makes this a gem of a movie in Hallmark’s hat.

Christmas with Holly is a 2012 America made-for-TV romantic drama released as part of Hallmark Hall of Fame series. It was Directed by Allan Arkush, Produced by a plethora of producers as these movies go; and released by Hallmark. It stars Sean Faris, Eloise Mumford, Alex Paxton-Beesley and Josie and Lucy Gallina in the lead.

The film is based on the 2010 novel Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas, the first of a 5-book series. The story focuses on Holly Nagle (portrayed by twins Josie and Lucy Gallina) who hasn’t spoken since her mother’s tragic accident and is now with her three uncles – Mark Nagle (portrayed by Sean Faris), Alex Nagle (portrayed by Daniel Eric Gold) and Scott Nagle (portrayed by Dana Watkins) – who share the responsibility to raise her on the island town of Friday Harbor. Maggie Conway (portrayed by Eloise Mumford) moves to the island, and opens a toy store. She connects with Holly and eventually to Sean.

I had seen Sean Faris and Eloise Mumford in the 2018 holiday romantic movie by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel, A Veteran’s Christmas, long before I watched this film. As I mentioned in that film, they clearly have amazing chemistry since their very first film. Too bad they only acted in only two movies so far. Would love to see them in more movies together.

Sean Faris returned to Hallmark with this film. He starred in an earlier movie in 2011 again made by Hallmark Hall of Fame, The Lost Valentine. We get to see the amazing Betty White and her acting prowess in that romantic drama. Of course we also get to see the gorgeous Jennifer Love Hewitt acting along-side Sean in that film. He has a very Tom Cruise sort of look.

Interestingly enough Holly is played by twin sisters, Lucy Gallina and Josie Gallina. With minimal dialogues and only facial expressions, she has done a marvelous job. I wonder where this kid is 13 years later.

This is a story of lost souls who discover themselves and each other while they try to have the lives they had dreamed of. Brothers bonding again over the little girl, Mark trying to find his role as Dad, Holly getting over a trauma and Maggie building her courage up to settle her life again.

As much as we enjoy all these Christmas themed Hallmark movies on their three channels that we get to see, I always feel sorry for the cast. They are seen wearing Fall / Winter clothing when the weather outside is 90 degrees or up, since all these films are made sometime in Spring / Summer to be ready to release by Fall and Christmas. We see same thing happening here.

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.

The movie shows real problems that the characters try to get over, deal with and find a closure to move forward. The core movie revolves around the little girl Holly. But it shows how she touches and binds every other character together.

Having not read any of Lisa Kleypas’s books, it does make me want to at least read a few of her books. A sweet, poignant and heartfelt Christmas movie with an incredible cast makes this a gem of a movie in Hallmark’s hat.

Spoiler Alerts:

Movie Trivia:

  1. The coffee house that Sean Faris’ Mark owns, “T.A.N. Coffee”, is an actual café in Nova Scotia which operates by the same name.

2. The fairy house that Eloise Mumford’s Maggie has in her toy store is exactly what I always dreamed of having. If I had a bigger house I might have got one of that kind. 🙂

Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

  1. When Mark is driving his truck off the fairy, & right after, the bed posts are clearly two different heights. Once they are on the road, they are all the same height.
  2. While supposedly on Friday Harbor (an island in Washington State), there is an announcement that the ferry is leaving for Bellingham (WA). The ferry from Friday Harbor to the mainland goes to Anacortes, not Bellingham.
  3. While Mark and Maggie reconcile on the dock, with Holly and her uncles in the background, Mark is on Maggie’s left. In the opposite shot, he is suddenly standing on her right.

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