My cold grinch heart seems to be melting this holiday season thanks to all of the holiday movies. I am not guaranteeing that it won’t freeze again by January, but for now, I am living for all of the goodness that Hallmarks Countdown To Christmas is giving me.
Christmas has felt all sorts of weird and out of sorts lately due to the pandemic. It has felt like it just hasn’t been happening, because we’ve all spent so much time alone that getting back into the swing of tradition seems a little hard to do.
Change isn’t an easy thing. But the thing about change is that it is an important part of life. Hallmark has definitely, changed. They’ve gone beyond what their normal is this year and pushed the envelope on some of their movies. They’ve taken the criticism that they have faced and they’ve aimed to improve.
And I can give credit where credit is due.
In Christmas At Castle Hart, Brooke and Margo have just been fired from their job and life is pretty tough. It’s the holiday season and New York feels a little overwhelming. Margo suggests that they use the money that their father left them for a rainy day and go to Ireland.
Their father had been adopted and found out that he had family in Ireland. They didn’t know where they were, only a last name, O’Reilly. That’s such a common name that it seems to be next to impossible to find anyone.
But being in Ireland is exciting to them. They can be anyone, do anything. They are able to reinvent themselves and not be unemployed waitresses from New York. So, the first time that they have to to introduce themselves, Margo lies and says that they are event planners.
After all, it has always been their dream.
But as with any movie or television show, lies are a catalyst for the drama. There will always be the struggle with them and the moment that the lies are exposed.
Margo and Brooke make an impression on a man at a bar – a man that most of the small town in Ireland that they are in – hates. He’s not been present and has been running around the world from job to job, avoiding being in Ireland? Why? Because the pressure that comes along with being who he is? And who is he?
An earl. He of course doesn’t tell the girls, they find out when they show up at the Castle for a private tour and through Margo’s lies, they end up being hired as event planners for the gala that the castle throws. But the worst part is that Margo tells the people at the Castle that her sister is Paige Monahan, an internationally renowned event planner.
Here’s the thing about lies in a Hallmark movie, is that someone will always know someone and the lie will always make a turn and slap you in the face.
As Brooke (as Paige) plans the party, she is running up against thing after thing going wrong. It’s the season of parties, so the chances of finding things available are really hard. But Brooke (as Paige) isn’t giving up and her sister is protecting her from everything.
But even as she’s working hard on the gala, Brooke (as Paige) is getting a lot of fun time in. She’s spending a lot of time with the Earl – Aiden. Aiden is played by Stuart Townsend, who is charismatic as fuck. I think we can all agree on that. He’s one of those people that walk onto the screen and you’re thinking about all of the reasons that you could fall in love with an Irish Earl.
The way that Townsend and Chabert laugh and play on the screen, you can’t help but smile. It’s also the fact that this is movie is set in Ireland and hey, there is that. Who wouldn’t want to be in Ireland?
Maybe it’s the dream that little girls have – well at least the dream that I always had – to move to a far away land and become royalty. Well, that was until we all saw what Meghan Markle has gone through. But hey, this is the movies and when we’re talking about the movies.
The Earl and Brooke (as Paige) have a chemistry. And they are falling for each other. You see it in every move that they make, the secrets that they share, the way that they movie in sync. And it’s always fun and heartwarming to watch people bring the best out of others. Especially when it’s something that feels so innocent and natural.
I will say that what feels like Hallmark got this season was casting. They understood the assignment. Townsend paired with a Hallmark staple makes his role work more. If he had been cast with someone less experienced in bringing the holiday spirit out of a movie.
Though Townsend and Chabert shine, every scene that has Margo and the Duchess have together is amazing. The Duchess is one of the best parts of this movie. She reminds me of living in a small town and them all knowing way to much information about our lives. All the old women in town know all the business.
But as we all know there is good with making friends with the old biddies in town. Margo and The Duchess have become close and when all the lies are exposed The Duchess is the person that will be there for them.
And she was.
When the lies do come out, there is pain. Brooke wanted to tell Aiden the truth, and she was almost there. But of course the real Paige shows up. And hey, Aiden is broken because he was lied to. It feels like all hope is gone. But the truth is that there is always hope.
And it’s nice to be reminded of that – even if you have to be reminded from other people that lies weren’t malicious.
They were in order to help.
Lacey Chabert and Stuart Townsend are the reason that Christmas at Castle Hart succeeds. That and the scenic backdrop of Ireland. It’s a good movie with an ending that brings so much joy. Love and family – does it get any better than that?