It can take a great deal of courage to be the person you’re meant to be. That’s the focus of Hallmark’s A Holiday Spectacular, part of the Countdown to Christmas. It’s a story about a Philly heiress named Maggie (Ginna Claire Mason), who flees from her high-society engagement to pursue her dream of dancing. She tells her family an increasingly elaborate series of lies and sneaks off to New York City to perform as one of the Radio City Rockettes.
The film shows an idealized version of the 1950s. And the Rockettes in that era, for that matter, since the first Black member of the Rockettes wasn’t hired until the 1980s. I also couldn’t help but think that Maggie was likely to be fired from the Rockettes once she married her One True Love, John (Derek Klena). That wasn’t exactly unheard of for women in that era. (A situation that wouldn’t change for a couple more decades, in fact.)
But admittedly, A Holiday Spectacular isn’t a documentary. Like all Hallmark Christmas movies, it’s an idealized version of reality. One in which anything is possible. Especially at Christmas.
So while watching this particular film, it’s important not to focus on what was and let yourself get wrapped up in the story of what could have been. And the movie isn’t really about the Rockettes. It’s about love and friendship. It’s about risking everything to be who you want to be. Who you know you are. And in that sense, A Holiday Spectacular is timeless.
It isn’t always easy to figure out who we were meant to be, after all. Particularly when who that is flies in the face of who the world thinks we should be. And, unfortunately, sometimes the ones we love the most – the ones who should love us the most – are the least able or willing to accept who we truly are.
Of course, in true Hallmark fashion, Maggie is eventually able to have it all. She gets lifelong friends, her dream career, the One True Love, and the (eventual) acceptance of her family. It’s a lot for her socially-conscious parents to come around on in the course of a single evening. Not only is their socialite daughter not going to marry the man they picked out for her, but she’s going to move to New York City. Alone. To work as a Rockette. And marry a grocer.
On any other network, Maggie’s parents would have immediately keeled over at the mere idea. But since it’s Hallmark, her mother comes around fairly quickly. The power of true love will do that. And her father is undoubtedly soon to follow.
It’s exactly the kind of feel-good story you’d expect from Countdown to Christmas. However, the movie’s true strength is in the chemistry between the cast. Leads Mason and Klena have a sort of effortless chemistry that sells their romance. But as good as the leads are, the story wouldn’t land as well as it does if not for the strength of the supporting cast. It’s easy to believe that the Rockettes are friends, willing to be there for each other through thick and thin. Everyone should have friends like these.
And the dancing? It isn’t easy to make that kind of precision dancing look effortless, but The Radio City Rockettes do it. Unsurprisingly. You don’t need to know anything about dance to be impressed by what they can do. (I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle just watching the height of those kicks!)
All in all, A Holiday Spectacular is a sweet movie about friendship, love, and the courage it takes to embrace the person you’re meant to be. Making it the perfect movie for the holidays.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of A Holiday Spectacular? Share with us in the comments below!