Hearts of Christmas (TV Movie 2016)

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Hearts of Christmas: Directed by Monika Mitchell. With Emilie Ullerup, Kristoffer Polaha, Sharon Lawrence, Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe. When Jenny (Emilie Ullerop) plans a Christmas retirement party for her beloved hospital supervisor, she butts heads with Matt (Kristoffer Polaha), a new manager determined to cut costs.

“There has never been any bias for or against Hallmark Christmas films. Actually think there are a mix of good, bad (and worse in some cases) and somewhere between mediocre and decent, so itu0026#39;s a variable output really. One just needs to know what to expect and not to expect too much. Have also had any bias for this genre and the two leads are no strangers to good performances even in hit and miss film choices. Did like the idea for the story, although the structure is samey the setting is a departure to the usual ones seen.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eu0026#39;Hearts of Christmasu0026#39; is a very pleasant watch and when taken for what it is and meant to be it succeeds at what it set out to do. Expectations were mixed, they were met and exceeded. The title is a pretty sugary one, but the film isnu0026#39;t as much so itu0026#39;s another case of not judging a film by its title. As far as Hallmark films go, u0026#39;Hearts of Christmasu0026#39; is somewhere around high middle. This opinion is from judging the film on its own terms without comparing it to anything else, so am not saying (never have, never will do) that it is on par with something else that has gotten the same rating that will make some scoff.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIs u0026#39;Hearts of Christmasu0026#39; perfect? No. The structure of the film and what happens is very familiar territory for Hallmark so there is a seen it all before vibe throughout. Did find the ending a bit too rushed and too tidy, as well as easily telegraphed.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eA lot of the dialogue early on is heavy on the cheese and corn factors and doesnu0026#39;t flow very naturally, so there were moments where there was admittedly some cringing into my seat.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHowever, u0026#39;Hearts of Christmasu0026#39; at least looks nice and professional. Although the authenticity of the locations can be, and has been, questioned, the scenery still looks lovely and appropriately festive, complemented very nicely by the photography. The soundtrack is nostalgic and isnu0026#39;t as intrusive in tone or placement as most other Hallmark Christmas films, as that has been a common criticism from me and quite a number of others. The direction is accomodating while not going through the motions.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe dialogue is less than great early on but if one sticks with the film it does improve, it is tighter and less stilted and the cheese and sentiment isnu0026#39;t as much. The story is very predictable admittedly, but it still engaged me and was charming and heart-warming while not taking itself too seriously. The characters may be well worn cliches, but they came over to me as likeable enough and any negative character traits didnu0026#39;t come over as over the top like can be the case in Hallmark Christmas films. Emilie Ullerup and Kristoffer Polaha are very appealing leads, they look comfortable and donu0026#39;t overdo any habitual mannerisms. Their chemistry came over as genuine, took time to unfold and didnu0026#39;t come over as contrived. The supporting cast also do very well, with a sparkling Sharon Lawrence standing out and also giving the filmu0026#39;s best performance.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eConcluding, worth watching. 7/10.”

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