If I’d ordered a perfect Christmas movie, the end result might have been The Knight Before Christmas, and no, that’s not even hyperbole.
What makes a perfect holiday movie? The answer isn’t really as complicated as the year 2019 might make us believe, with movies like Last Christmas making us cry all over. A perfect Christmas movie must be cheesy but heartfelt, over-the-top but not so much that we can’t believe it, romantic yet not all about romance, and oh, yes, it must remind us of the magic of the season.
The last part being the most important one.
Because Christmas movies aren’t about plot, or even about the visuals (though I will be the first one to say I’m a sucker for the snow and the beautifully decorated Christmas trees), they’re about a feeling of goodness, of companionship …of love. They’re about this sense that, at Christmas, anything is possible.
Which is why The Knight Before Christmas succeeds.
Look, the plot doesn’t make much sense. A medieval knight from who knows when transported to the future by who knows what means who somehow ends up on this tiny town for reasons and science? Far-fetched, at best. And yet, this movie works not just because its heart is in the right place, but because it’s leads totally buy into it.
Now, as someone who watched and enjoyed The Princess Switch, I’m not exactly surprised Vanessa Hudgens can sell Brooke. I mean Vanessa Hudgens managed to sell Gabriela Montez, Blondie and Rizzo, so clearly girl can do it all. I’m, however, a little more surprised at how adorable I found Josh Whitehouse in the role of Sir Cole Christopher Frederick Lyons.
Quite a mouthful, right?
Typically, we watch these Christmas movies and we fall in love with the leading lady. We go on the journey with her, and we hope she gets her happily ever after, which, considering the diversity issues these movies have, will likely be a straight white male. But very rarely do we end up caring about said white male.
Enter The Knight Before Christmas and Sir Cole Christopher Frederick Lyons.
Josh Whitehouse is clearly a charming guy, and he and Vanessa Hudgens have the perfect kind of chemistry for this type of movie, sorta like what she and Zac Efron managed in the first High School Musical. But that’s not why Sir Cole works, no. He works because writer Cara J. Russell seems to understand that the only way for us to also root for the leading man, is for us to get to know the leading man.
So, we spend some time with Sir Cole – in fact, the movie opens with him, somewhere in medieval times. We hear a lot about his quest, about his desire to be a knight, about what that means to him. We also hear a lot more about his family than these movies ever afford a guy who doesn’t have kids.
We see him try to adapt to our modern world – and technology. And we see him do that with a smile on his face and a determination to do better the next time, because that’s what knights do: they dust themselves off and they continue trying.
Ironic how, in 2019, this message is as necessary as ever. We don’t need a leading man who knows everything, or one who will rescue the damsel in distress. We just need one who tries, one who listens, and one who is willing to be a partner and a friend.
And sure, Cole can indeed bake and he does end up rescuing Claire and her friend, but those things are about HIS journey, not Broke’s. He wants to be a knight because being one, for him, represents doing good. He doesn’t want to be a knight to impress Brooke, and I’m pretty sure she is actually more impressed with the baking than with the sword.
Now, I will be the first one to admit that when I heard about this movie I thought: a medieval knight? How can that make for the kind of movie we need these days? Well, I’m a big girl, and I can admit when I was wrong, and eat my words accordingly.
This is the perfect movie for 2019, and the perfect movie for Christmas. In fact, it might just be (okay, it is) my favorite Christmas movie of the year.
Whatever it is you’re looking for, The Knight Before Christmas will provide.
Cheese? In spades.
Tropes? Of course.
A tiny dollop of easily resolved angst? You got it.
Happily ever after? Absolutely.
Christmas magic? You betcha.
OUR ‘SO BAD IT’S GOOD’ RATING 10/10
REALISM FACTOR: 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄
DOESN’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT REALISM FACTOR: 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄
CHEESE FACTOR: 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄
ROMANCE FACTOR: 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄
TROPEY-NESS FACTOR: 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄
The Knight Before Christmas is available to stream on Netflix now.