For Moon in Gemini’s The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen Blogathon, I put a lot of thought into what film I would review. When I thought about which movies I had never seen up until this point, one of the first films that came to mind was the Hallmark movie, The Christmas Card. Since the movie’s premiere in 2006, it seems like a significant amount of Hallmark fans love this movie. The Christmas Card is so beloved that it almost always is included into one of Hallmark’s Christmas movie line-ups. This film also won Hallmark Channel’s first Christmas movie March Madness contest last year! Since 2006, fans of The Christmas Card have asked Hallmark on numerous occasions to give this film a sequel, wishing and hoping that their dream of revisiting this story would come true. Because of my participation in this blogathon, I was finally given the chance to not only watch this movie, but to see if it was truly as beloved as people had made it out to be. So, take a seat on this sleigh ride as we travel through this review of The Christmas Card!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: For the most part, the acting in The Christmas Card was fine. However, the three stand-out performers in this film were Edward Asner, Lois Nettleton, and Peter Jason! Their performances were so lively and animated when it needed to be, but also contained the emotions required for the film’s dramatic moments. It was always a delight when these three actors came on-screen, with the interactions involving their characters being enjoyable to watch. Because of their ability to provide the right amount of versatility to their roles, Edward, Lois, and Peter brought a good amount of believability to their performances, even more than the other actors in this cast.
The scenery: Any time the characters went into the forest, the setting surrounding them was beautiful to look at. The story’s natural landscape were showcased very well in the film and really captured the spirit of the season. Whenever the Spelman’s “special place” was featured in the movie, it was absolutely breath-taking. The natural beauty of the film’s snowy environment was definitely a highlight to this film!
The reverence and respect toward the military: Hallmark usually does a good job whenever the military or military families are incorporated into their stories. The Christmas Card is no exception. When the subject of fallen military members was brought up in the film, the creative team associated with this movie not only made sure the right emotions were featured in those moments, but that those moments were presented in a respectful and appropriate manner. During the Christmas Eve Service, the pastor said a prayer where he hoped the members of the military would stay safe during the Christmas season. I thought this prayer was well-written and handled by the film’s creative team with great care.
What I didn’t like about the film:
A weak and drawn-out plot: The main plot of The Christmas Card is Faith (one of the main characters of the film) writing and sending a card to Sgt. Cody Cullen (the film’s protagonist), which causes him to travel to her hometown in order to thank her for the card. Because Cody doesn’t thank Faith for the card until the last ten minutes of the movie, it made the plot feel weak and drawn-out. Before I watched The Christmas Card, I was hoping there would be two interesting subplots to complement the main plot. Sadly, the only plot in this film was the main plot, with the story being filled with “filler” material just to keep the movie going. The scenes that show Cody working at the Spelman family lumberyard, one of the film’s “filler” material, were the most boring scenes in this movie.
The character of Faith’s boyfriend: The incorporation of Paul, Faith’s boyfriend, into this story was meant to add conflict for the protagonist. However, I found this conflict to be just as weak as the main plot. It felt like Paul and the conflict he brought were included in this story just for the sake of adding something to the plot. If Paul had been written out of this story, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Being forced to suspend more of my disbelief than I wanted to: More often than not, Hallmark asks their audience to suspend their disbelief when it comes to their movies (which, as a Hallmark fan, I am more than willing to do). However, there were moments in The Christmas Card where I felt Hallmark was asking me, as an audience member, to suspend more of my disbelief than I had wanted to. For example, I thought Faith’s card, while written with the best of intentions, was very unrealistic. I’ve participated in several activities that required me to write a letter or card to a military service-member. During my participation in these activities, I was always told that the only information I could share about myself was my first name. The idea of Faith not only sharing her full name, but also sharing other personal aspects of her life, such as where she lived and photos of what her family’s house looked like, seemed so ridiculous to me, that, to a certain extent, I was taken out of the film.
My overall impression:
At best, I thought The Christmas Card was ok. While there were a few good things about the film, it wasn’t enough to sweep me off my feet, as it did for some Hallmark fans. When I reflect on this movie, I can think of Hallmark movies with similar themes that are better than The Christmas Card, with Operation Christmas and Home for Christmas Day being two good examples. While I was watching The Christmas Card, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “this won Hallmark Channel’s very first Christmas movie March Madness”? Over the twelve years that this movie has existed, I feel that it has been over-hyped. I don’t think this movie is bad, but I do think it could have been stronger. I’m glad that Moon in Gemini created The Greatest Film I’ve Never Seen Blogathon because I now have an honest opinion about one of Hallmark’s most beloved films.
Overall score: 6.2 out of 10
Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on The Christmas Card? What Hallmark Christmas movie do you cherish the most? Please let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!