The bad thing about having screeners to movies sometimes is that you don’t have anyone to talk to about it. People see you crying and your eyes all puffy and red and you can’t explain to them that you just saw a movie that made your heart bleed.
Time For Him to Come Home for Christmas is that movie that did that for me. It’s a movie that grabbed at my heart and my head and reminded me that I am alive. It reminded me that I am feeling things. It reminded me that the words we leave unspoken are the words that we need to say the most.
The world is this big place, but when it comes down to it, things become intertwined. Lives are meant to be lived with all this love and wonderment, but when it comes down to it it’s the people in our lives that are the things that make this life worth living. It’s these people who drive us, make us grow, and make us feel things.
For Elizabeth and Josh, they’ve known that they can count on each other for anything. Some would say that they are each others lobsters (if you don’t watch Friends, you may not get that reference). They rescue each other, in the big and the small things in life.
Their third best friend, Andrew, is what completes them. But one night changes everything.
Its Christmas and Josh has everyone to his house for the holiday. He overhears Elizabeth and Andrew talking about professing feelings and assumes that Elizabeth is telling Andrew that she has feelings for him and he had just gathered the courage to tell her how he felt.
Josh was heart broken and left to get air. He didn’t know what to do and what was next for him and Elizabeth. Elizabeth goes to find him, when she gets a text from her Mom (whose party she ditched) asking where she was. Josh had promised to take her back to the party, but with him nowhere to be found, Andrew takes her.
That night everything changed.
Fast forward three years to the day and Elizabeth is in the office. She’s doing what she said she would never do, working with her Mom. She’s an executive assistant, when her whole lifes dream was to be a journalist. You see that the calendar says that it’s the date for Andrews memorial and the look of pain in her eyes.
And you know that life didn’t work out the way she intended and it has everything to do with the pain of that night.
One of the thing that I have always found funniest in life is that life has a way of reaching out to you when you least expect it. Elizabeth gets a phone call – one that she had to let go to voice mail because her Mom wouldn’t stop talking. The person on the other end of the line left a voice mail.
And it was a voice mail filled with both pain and hope. The voice was reaching out to a person named Madeline, wanting her to meet him on Christmas Eve. He had thins that he wanted to say. Needed to say.
Now the most unbelievable thing in this whole movie was that Elizabeth listened to a voice mail. Not to sound horrible, but I can’t remember the last time I have done that. I didn’t know anyone did. But that voicemail is what fate handed her and what she needed in order to set on the road to finding what life really was waiting for her.
Most people would have erased the message and not thought twice. But Elizabeth sets out to find the person that left the message and make sure that they know that they left it with the wrong person. But all she knows (by returning the call) is the hotel that they were at when making the call.
And that puts her face to face with Josh. They haven’t seen or spoken in years, but by the look on both their faces you can see that seeing each other is harder than they thought it would be and feelings haven’t gone away. Josh has a look on his face that he wants to protect Elizabeth and as the clerk throws away her note, he goes after her.
I know it’s a movie, but it’s a testament to Holland Roden and Tyler Hynes that they make you believe in these two characters and less than 30 minutes in you are so invested on them finding each other, but also finding out who left that message. Roden shines as Elizabeth, a woman in so much pain and just searching for a way to feel alive again.
Watching the entire movie, I firmly believe that the reason that Elizabeth didn’t erase that message was because she thought that finding who it was intended for and bringing the back together would be redemption for the love that she lost – both friendship and romantic. She felt that she could save someone from feeling as empty as she has been.
I firmly believe that Josh helped Elizabeth with this mission because he needed to hold on in some way to the love that has never left his heart.
Roden and Hynes vibe on the screen and what makes you believe in them is their characters stolen glances, the way they move in sync, but also the commitment to the story. And you can tell that they are committed because they fully become the characters that they play.
The two do everything that they can to find the voice on the other end of the line, but what we’re really seeing is two lost souls finding their way back to each other. There is still a lot of things that need to be said, and even more miscommunications that we need to have cleared up, but you just somehow believe that you’ll get there.
They will get there.
Once they have gone their separate ways, Josh finds the person that voice mail was intended for. And what it leads to is closure for a lot of people.
The person who had left that voice mail was the person who, all those years ago, had gotten into the accident with Andrew and Elizabeth. He’d never been able to forgive himself and he’d been searching for Elizabeth and his ex-girlfriend to make apologies. He needed to let them know that he was sorry.
And the moment that Elizabeth is able to tell him that she’s never blamed him, you see a part of him set free.
Loosing Andrew will always live with them all, but finding a way to move forward, the way Andrew would have wanted them all to, is the best gift that they could have given. The best gift that Elizabeth and Josh could give each other – the truth about feelings.
And the best gift that this movie gave all of us – the belief that you can always find forgiveness and always find the love that you were meant to have.
Time for Him To Come Home For Christmas was the Christmas romance that we all needed this year.