I am just going to put this out there – when I saw the poster to Mystic Christmas, I thought that I was going to tear this movie apart. I thought that I was going to be watching something that I would hate. Yet, when I am wrong, I can admit that I am wrong.
You know how they say never judge a book by its cover? Well never judge a movie by its poster? I did and I was wrong.
You see, Mystic Christmas is a contender for one of the best Countdown to Christmas movies this season. It wasn’t anything like I expected. TBH, I don’t know what I was expecting, but I think I was thinking it would be like Free Willy (if you don’t know what movie, well…. watch it) meets Christmas.
That being said – I have to admit that in a way I am surprised that I am making it a contender for the top ten movies of the season, because I don’t feel like it had to have the Christmas element. TBH, without it we could have gotten to know more about Juniper and Sawyer’s past and I would have loved that.
I am thankful that Christmas doesn’t feel forced into this movie. It feels like it’s own character, supporting the two leads. It doesn’t always feel like that in movies. A lot of the time (in the past) it has felt like Christmas is the lead and the actors are supporting them.
I am thankful that I was surprised. Hallmark is changing, growing, and evolving. Hallmark isn’t what you think it is – it’s better. The channel has heard all of the comments, concerns, and complaints. It’s heard the want for evolution and storylines that aren’t all the same.
And most of all I am thankful for that.
And now, lets dive in.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Juniper Jones (Shram) is a world traveling marine veterinarian who isn’t afraid of anything except getting stuck in one place. When a favor for her college roommate brings her to the seafaring town of Mystic, Connecticut during the holidays, Juniper is happy to visit a new place and take a temporary position at the Marine Mammal Rehabilitation Center and Aquarium. Here she works to help a seal named Peppermint get released back into the wild. In between her work, Juniper explores Mystic and finds herself smitten with the town, its people, and much to her dismay, the owner of the pizza shop, Sawyer, who she had spent a romantic night with years prior. After an awkward reunion, Juniper and Sawyer agree to move forward and forget about their past but their spark is ignited once again. There’s a ticking clock on their romance since Juniper is only in Mystic temporarily and Sawyer insists, he’s too entrenched in his hometown to leave (even at the expense of some of his own life dreams). While Juniper continues to insist, she has no plans to stay, the interns Juniper oversees and Sawyer himself entrench Juniper in the community, and she finds herself catching the holiday spirit. Juniper realizes that what she initially thought she wanted out of life may have changed. Juniper inspires Sawyer to go after the life he’s always dreamt of, while Sawyer (and the rest of Mystic) will show Juniper what it feels like to really belong to a community.
WHAT IT’S GIVING: Romantic stuff and a want to set all the seals free. Also the want to make sand dollar ornaments. #IYKYK
STANDOUT PERFORMANCE: Patti Murin. She was a pleasant surprise. Loved her and loved her character of Candice. She made me LOL and also was the ultimate big sister.
Well and then there is Peppermint, but we knew that she’d be the star of the show.
OVERALL GRINCH-ISH THOUGHTS: I could go on and on about the storyline, but I really feel like this is one of those movies that you really need to watch.
When I read the synopsis of the show, I wondered what “romantic night” meant, because hey, it can mean something different to everyone. But we quickly learn that night meant everything to Juniper and to Sawyer. A decade later, the two still think about that night, the time that they had and the way that it changed both of them.
Juniper has avoided seeing her best friend, who is Sawyer’s older sister. But when she’s needed to save a seal, she immediately goes to Mystic, Connecticut to help with the seal, Peppermint.
Sawyer knows that she’s coming and the two have basically said that they are going to try to avoid each other. But we all know that isn’t going to go well. It takes Juniper just arriving in town for them to run into each other.
Jessy Schram and Chandler Massey, who play Juniper and Sawyer, are just mesmerizing on the screen. The two have what a lot of co-stars don’t have these days – a step beyond chemistry. It’s that thing where you get so taken out of real life and you are entranced with a movie and you just fall into it. It’s like you’re being invasive and watching these peoples real lives. It’s hard to explain. You just know that you buy the story that they are selling.
And you relate to them.
I think all too often these days, people forget what has always been great about television and movies – it allows you to escape your life. It allows you this moment to breathe and see life outside of your own. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the acting – it can be a set, the colors, the writing. I love that it allows me an escape. When it stops doing that, television is not something I want to watch.
Patti Murin is also another big reason that Mystic Christmas works. She’s the sister and best friend that you would want in life. She’s the advocate that you would want on your side. There’s something about her that you can’t take your eyes off of. Maybe that’s because I have seen her on Broadway and she’s amazing, but I believe that it’s because she’s fantastic in this movie.
I really want to give away so many things, but Mystic Christmas is a movie that needs to be watched. It needs to be experienced.
What I will say is one of the joys of this movie was Peppermint. There wasn’t a scene at the aquarium that I didn’t love. The way that Juniper and the interns were with Peppermint and their commitment to her, was heartwarming. The genuine concern for her health, safety, and well something I loved to see.
Jessy Schram and Chandler Massey made me forget the craziness and the chaos long enough to feel relaxed and better about my life. They made me think about the joys of Christmas. But they also reminded me while it’s okay to want to run in this life and it’s okay to stay too.
Christmas Cheer Factor: 🎄🎄🎄🎄
- I loved that Juniper was like so many of us – awkward and afraid of interaction. She felt better working alone and being left alone. But her interactions with the interns and how she grew to guide them was something I loved so much.
- Louisa was adorable and her poem was too good.
- Juniper helping Eric with his love life was too damn cute. Loved it
- I love that no one is giving up their dreams for love and relationships. They are instead encouraging each other to go after dreams.
- Always check drafts