You know what they say: home is where the heart is. Unless you’re A Country Christmas Harmony part of “It’s a Wonderful Lifetime” on the Lifetime channel. Then home is where you were born. It doesn’t matter if you leave. It doesn’t matter if your family leaves, too. Frankly, it doesn’t matter if only three people you’ve ever met remain in your home town. It still is your home, and you’re an uppity jerk for not coming back regularly to…soak in the…atmosphere? Or something?
It’s definitely not the usual message you get from your annual Christmas movie fare. And maybe it’s just not a message that resonates with me because my family moved around enough when I was growing up that home was always about people and not places. That said, I know there are people who pour vials of dirt from their home state under their hospital beds if they have to give birth out of state so the newest member of their family is “born over Texas soil.” (You knew I was talking about Texas before I even said it, right? Of course you did.) So I guess there are people who will really, really, really relate to the movie.
With the exception of in every other respect, A Country Christmas Harmony hits all the usual beats we expect – and even depend on – in our holiday fare. Chrissy Kessler (Brooke Elliott) is a country music star who’s lost touch with her own “voice.” With her record sales plummeting, her manager convinces her to return to her home town to host a Christmas concert. Taking along her personal assistant/best friend, Eugene (Danny Pintauro), who has the most understanding husband ever (Giancarlo Sabogal).
To say that Chrissy’s reluctant to return to her roots is underselling it. It takes the complete loss of her record label contract to convince her. Not that she thinks there’s much left for her in the small town where she grew up. Her parents don’t live there anymore; they’ve also relocated to another state. Most of her friends seem to have moved on, too. However, it turns out that a few ghosts from her past stayed behind. Most notably her former singer-songwriter partner, Luke Covington (Brandon Quinn). The man she long ago left via a “Dear John” letter. On Christmas. Ouch.
Of course, the two get trapped in a storm together, and it forces them to reconnect and realize they need each other’s help if they’re going to make it through the holidays. I don’t know if it’s the spirit of the Christmas season or the power of convenient writing, but all it takes is a single apology and “I had to leave you via a letter…on Christmas…and then ghost you forever…because I knew if I talked to you, I’d never leave at all!” excuse for Luke to decide bygones are bygones and maybe they should pick things up where they left off, all those years ago.
I know, I know. It’s a Christmas movie. We aren’t here for depth or intricate plotting. That said…come on. Even for feel-good Christmas fare, this was a little too easy. And pushes the writing into a corner later on in the movie. Because the wounds from the past are so easily glossed over and forgiven, when the writers need the final conflict to be resolved, they have to rely on another ex from Chrissy’s past: Brad Love (Bradley Dodds).
He’s the kind of guy who refers to himself in the third person (because his name is his “brand”). And when he touches her, Chrissy reacts like she threw up a little in her mouth and a little spilled onto her hair. So of course Luke gets jealous and upset and storms out, leaving her to have a “We are never getting back together” heart-to-heart with her ex. Before begging him for a ride because, yeah, Luke kinda stranded her there.
She forgives his momentary pique as easily as he forgave as he earlier forgave her abandonment. They’re finally on the same page! They belong together! In Nashville!
Yes, after an entire movie of “this is your home, even if you left, so you’re kinda awful for not having every inch of it memorized anymore,” A Country Christmas Harmony reverses course. Home is, in fact, with the people you love. So suck it, small town! Nashville, here we come!
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of A Country Christmas Harmony? Share with us in the comments below!