How far would you go to save a place you really love? In Record Breaking Christmas, part of the It’s a Wonderful Lifetime film collection this year, a small town has to answer that very question. Like so many small towns, it’s slowly dying, with not enough people coming in to keep their businesses downtown alive. Faced with few options, they come up with a somewhat unusual plan: break a holiday world record to attract tourism. After all, it happened once before, thirty-five years previously.
It’s a potpourri of Christmas movie tropes. The heartwarming small town, filled with lovable characters. Holiday spirit coming out the ears of everyone…with the exception of the Scrooge-like main character, who has to learn the meaning of the holiday season. Love at first sight.
I’ve lived in large cities and small towns, and I have to say, small towns always seem more idyllic on screen than I’ve ever found them to be in reality. Maybe I’m a city girl. Or I’m just too dependent upon being able to get food delivery in the middle of the night on a Sunday. It’s probably the food delivery thing. But movies like Record Breaking Christmas make me ponder if it might be time to give small town life another shot.
I know real life isn’t like the movies, but there’s something downright sweet about a town coming together with a common purpose. It’s also refreshing when these annual holiday movies provide external, rather than internal, conflicts for the central romance. Not that Record Breaking Christmas avoids internal conflict entirely. Which is something of a shame, since the movie really didn’t need that final dramatic confrontation. The addition felt a little ham-fisted in an otherwise feel good flick.
Record Breaking Christmas also (narrowly) avoids one of the major pitfalls of Scentsational Christmas: having the female lead abandon her career aspirations on behalf of a relationship with a shorter shelf life to-date than a carton of milk. True, Leah (Michelle Argyris) does quit her job, in the end. And her friend, Jin (Danny Vo), suggests that her decision to step out of her rule-abiding comfort zone was because of her attraction to Doctor
McDreamy McLovin’ Devan (Andrew Bushell).
But while the movie did strongly center their romance, Leah seemed to fall as much in love with the town as with the man. And, in a certain sense, she’d attained the pinnacle of her career aspirations prior to quitting her job: she finally saw a world record being broken. For an adjudicator of world record attempts, that pretty much has to be the top, right? Where do you even go from there? Isn’t that sort of the “glass ceiling” of the profession?
Which begs the question what she’ll do now. I don’t know what skill set she could market from her former career path. In a small town with limited industry, no less. Other than Severe Adherence to the Rules. Maybe they need a meter maid or something? I don’t know, and I suspect the writers didn’t either, since they don’t even attempt to answer the question. But, hey, it’s a Lifetime holiday movie. She’ll land on her feet.
These pesky details – what happens after the Happily Ever After – aren’t the point. In the end, we watch holiday movies to lose ourselves in the feeling of Christmas. In the idea of warmth. Love. Family (either the ones we’re born into or the ones we choose). And holiday spirit. Maybe what happens next doesn’t seem as rosy as what we’re left with on screen. And maybe we can’t always relate directly to the plots of these films. (I certainly hope very few of us have personal experience with being murdered repeatedly by Santa Clause!) But we can relate to the desire to find a place that feels like home. In finding a community – of whatever size – that welcomes us with open arms and makes us never want to leave.
That’s what Record Breaking Christmas offers. Some of the supporting characters are over-the-top, at times. But they’re also endearing in their own ways, and you can see why someone would want to relocate into their midst and make themselves at home.
Provided they offer late-night food delivery. I’m sorry, but that has to be my dealbreaker.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Record Breaking Christmas? Share with us in the comments below!
- Lifetime’s “It’s A Wonderful Lifetime” Review: ‘Record Breaking Christmas’
- Lifetime’s “It’s A Wonderful Lifetime” Review: ‘Scentsational Christmas’
- Lifetime’s “It’s A Wonderful Lifetime” Review: ‘A New Orleans Noel’
- Lifetime’s “It’s A Wonderful Lifetime” Review: ‘Cloudy With A Chance Of Christmas’
- Lifetime’s “It’s A Wonderful Lifetime” Review: ‘Serving Up The Holidays’
- Lifetime’s “It’s A Wonderful Lifetime” Review: ‘A Christmas Spark’