Because I’ve been busy preparing my editorial for the 2nd Disability In Film Blogathon and getting my reviews ready for my Halloween Double Feature, I haven’t been as active on my blog as I usually am. But, I wasn’t going to miss a beautiful opportunity to start reviewing movies within either of Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups! Both networks made no delays as they began airing Christmas movies last Friday. To start this Christmas movie season off on a well-intentioned note, the very first movie to premiere this year was Christmas at Pemberley Manor. When I first read the synopsis for this film, it sounded, to me, like a lot of other Hallmark movies I’ve seen or heard of before. Because this movie seemed to contain some of the same tropes that are usually found in Hallmark movies (businesswoman visits a small town and just so happens to find true love there, for example), I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this film. When I found out this movie was a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, I was curious to see how this particular story would play out in the 21st century. Did this creative approach work in this movie’s favor? Did the tropes win in the battle of Originality vs. Formulaic? Let’s turn the page on my Christmas at Pemberley Manor review in order to find out!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: The cast of Christmas at Pemberley Manor was great! Everyone was cast so well in their roles, with the portrayals of all the characters being memorably enjoyable. This is the second Hallmark Christmas movie of Jessica Lowndes’ that I’ve seen and I think her performance in this movie was much stronger than in A December Bride. This is also the second Hallmark Christmas movie of Michael Rady’s that I’ve seen and, just like in A Joyous Christmas, Michael’s performance was fantastic! I also think that Steve Larkin portrayed one of the best Santa-esque characters in Hallmark Christmas movie history!
The on-screen chemistry: I thought that Jessica and Michael performed very well together! The on-screen chemistry was one of the things that added to their performances, with this on-screen chemistry appearing very believable. As I watched Christmas at Pemberley Manor, I could see that Elizabeth and William’s relationship developed as the film went on. These characters looked like they truly cared about one another and their interactions were well-acted. I hope Jessica and Michael star in another Hallmark movie together again!
The writing: Even though there were some of the usual Hallmark movie tropes in Christmas at Pemberley Manor, there were times when it felt like the screenwriter was trying something new in terms of storytelling. For instance, in some Hallmark movies, there are two guys that, romantically speaking, like the same female protagonist. Out of these two guys, one of them almost always is portrayed as either a “workaholic” or not a nice person. In Christmas at Pemberley Manor, however, both of the guys that liked Elizabeth were genuinely good people. At one point, I honestly had no idea which love interest Elizabeth would end up with.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Very little resemblance to Pride and Prejudice: When I heard that Christmas at Pemberley Manor was meant to be a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, I was interested in seeing how this story could be adapted for the 21st century, especially since the only re-telling of Pride and Prejudice I’ve seen is the “Mr. Darcy” series on Hallmark Channel. However, this movie didn’t feel like any form of the Pride and Prejudice story. The only connections I could find between the original story and this film were Elizabeth’s, William’s, and Jane’s name being the same as either a character from the book or its respective author and the “don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover” trope.
My overall impression:
Christmas at Pemberley Manor was such a strong start to not only Hallmark’s Christmas movie line-ups, but also to the overall Christmas movie season! This movie was such a pleasant surprise that I ended up liking more than I thought I would! Looking back on it, this scenario reminds me of Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movie line-up from last year. The very first movie in that line-up was Marry Me at Christmas and before I watched this film, my expectations for it were low. This is because, just like how I originally felt about Christmas at Pemberley Manor, the movie sounded like a lot of other Hallmark movies I’ve seen and heard of before. When I did get the chance to watch Marry Me at Christmas, it became one of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies from last year! I hope that Hallmark’s Christmas movies continue to surprise me the way Christmas at Pemberley Manor did, with more movies being better than expected.
Overall score: 8.2 out of 10
Have you seen Christmas at Pemberley Manor? What Hallmark movie are you looking forward to this Christmas season? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!