Featured DVD Review: A Princess for Christmas
October 13th, 2012
A Princess for Christmas is a TV movie made for the Hallmark Channel that first aired in December of last year. TV movies in general tend to be low quality and Hallmark Channel has a reputation for being schmaltzy when it comes to romance. Then again, sometimes all you want is a schmaltzy romance. Is that the case here? And does it work for what it is trying to do?
We are first introduced to Jules Daly as a narrator tells us that as a young girl living in Buffalo she dreamed of traveling to faraway places. When she grew up, she still has dreams of traveling, but she still lives in Buffalo. She works in an antique store as a saleswoman. She's good at her job, but business is down and she's fired at the end of the day. This is especially bad, as last Christmas her sister and brother-in-law died and Jules was made the guardian of her neice, Maddie (Leilah de Meza), and nephew, Milo (Travis Turner) Huntington. The pair of them have been getting into trouble. This day alone, Maddie accidentally floods the laundry room while Milo gets caught shoplifting a game from a video store. Milo also ripped the head off Maddie's doll because she told Milo off for leaving the house and he also glued the babysitter's purse to a chair. This is the last straw for the babysitter, who quits. Milo's been acting up, because Christmas just reminds him of his parents dying.
Jules doesn't have a lot of time deal with losing her job and Milo acting up, because Paisley Winterbottom shows up at their door. Mr. Winterbottom works for Maddie and Milo's grandfather, Edward Duke of Castlebury. The Duke isn't well liked, because when his son married Jules' sister, he cut them off, as Jules' sister wasn't upper class enough to marry a Duke's son. Now he's hoping to make amends and has invited the three of them to spend Christmas with them at Castlebury. Jules is having none of it, until Mr. Winterbottom lets it slip that the Duke is not well and this might be the last time to see his grandchildren. As they are settling into Castlebury Manor, Jules bumps into Ashton (Sam Heughan) and there's an instant spark. On the other hand, Duke Edward is a little more chilly to his guests. Not mean, but grumpy. It's understandable. He did lose his son last Christmas, so the holiday is hard on him. But even so, he's dragging down everyone else to his level of misery.
Jules decides that she and the kids are going to have a merry Christmas, no matter what Duke Edward thinks, and begins setting up decorations, including a tree. Her spirit is infectious, especially to Ashton. However, while the two get closer, there is a problem, namely, Lady Arabella Marchand du Belmont (Charlotte Salt), Ashton's fiancée, or soon to be fiancée.
A Princess for Christmas is exactly what I thought it would be. It's charming and heartwarming, but it is also unchallenging and predicable. You know right from the moment Jules and Ashton meet that they are going to fall in love and get married. You know that while Duke Edward starts out of a grump, he is going to come around in the end. You know Lady Arabella is going to be an obstacle to Jules and Ashton, but one that will be quickly brushed aside in the end. The film is charming, as is Katie McGrath. Roger Moore handles his role like the pro he is. Much of the supporting cast is good, including Leilah de Meza, who really only needs to be adorable. Not all of the acting is great, which is a bit of an issue, as some of the characters are called on to carry too much emotional weight. On the other hand, it is on par with most TV movies.
The only extra on the DVD is a four-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.
A Princess for Christmas is your typical Hallmark Channel original movie. This is either a compliment or an insult, depending on your point of view. Personally, I like romantic comedies and the film works, even if it borrows heavily from the pool of RomCom clichés. The DVD doesn't have a lot of extras, but it only costs $11, which is a reasonable price for this type of movie.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge