Friday, November 04, 2011
Hallmark movies are unapologetically sentimental and schmaltzy and this one was no exception. We have a couple (John Corbett plays the dad) who are struggling as their daughter has cancer - they also have a son and balancing a marriage and caring for a sick child and keeping things "normal" for the healthy kid is really tough. Then we have Jess, the neighbour, played by Sam Elliott, and his wife, who lost their son in an accident when he was 13. The movie is all about the two families connecting and making the holidays special for a very sick little girl. Yep - schmaltz abounds.
You could even say it's cheesy, but it's very, very good cheese, you see. At one point I was crying so hard I had to lean forward so gravity would help my nose unplug and I could actually blow it. It pulls on every single heartstring in happy and sad ways. Sam Elliot is so awesome (as usual). Tough and gruff, tender and gentle and strong as an oak. Just as you would expect him to be. It's set in a small town, so you have that close-knit down home feeling that warms the cockles of your heart (yes, cliches abound, sue me). He promises the little girl that she'll be home for Christmas, but her treatment isn't going well. When they have to stop it until she gets stronger and send her home, things don't look so good.
But as the family drives home (in November, hence the title), they see Jess's house lit up with Christmas lights. And then they drive through town and the WHOLE TOWN is decorated and lit up for the holidays. See? Unapologetically schmaltzy but it's so good you don't care. And they get to the house and all the main players from the town are there waiting for them to get home and give that family a November Christmas.
Truthfully? Some people will dismiss this kind of movie the same way they dismiss genre fiction as predictable, cliche, and stupid. But for me - this is the kind of movie that touches your heart and makes you realize that the world really isn't always a bad place. I cried buckets but cried them at tender loving moments as well as dark ones (and emptied the tissue box as my husband laughed at me).
It's also the kind of story that I'd love to be able to write someday. Deeply emotional, small-town rallying around kind of story. You can check out a trailer and more facts about the basis for it HERE.
So what are your thoughts? Do you ever watch Hallmark movies/made for TV movies like this? Love 'em or hate 'em?