If you have visited 18 Cinema Lane before, then you would know that Hallmark’s Hall of Fame’s Christmas Everlasting has been one of the most talked about movies on this blog. I have been looking forward to this movie ever since it was announced during the sneak peek commercial that was shown after the premiere of The Beach House. For about five months, Hallmark had kept their Christmas Hallmark Hall of Fame movie under wraps, even refusing to share any information about the project at their Summer TCA Event. It wasn’t until September when details about this movie were finally revealed. In a Word on the Street story, I mentioned that Ron Oliver, the director of Christmas Everlasting, shared some information about the film, such as the potential title and the film’s production location. In that post, I speculated that the movie could be based on Marie Bostwick’s novel, The Second Sister. In another Word on the Street post, published four days later, I talked about my reasoning for why the film could be based on Marie Bostwick’s novel, referencing photos from Ron Oliver’s Instagram feed as clues to support my speculation. As more of the film’s details were revealed, my anticipation for this movie grew. In fact, it became my most anticipated Christmas movie of 2018! Now that Hallmark Hall of Fame’s newest entry has finally arrived, the time has come for me to review the movie that I have looking forward for quite a while. Let’s get started with this review of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Christmas Everlasting!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: The cast of Christmas Everlasting was one of the strongest casts I have seen in a Hallmark movie this year! Everyone in this movie gave a very good performance, portraying their characters with as much believability as possible. I was really impressed by Tatyana Ali’s performance, as she brought so much emotion and versatility to her role! I also liked Dondre T. Whitfield and Dennis Haysbert’s performances, with both of them giving everything they had, talent wise, into the portrayals of their characters! Before learning more about who would star in this movie, I had no idea that Patti LaBelle was an actress, as her singing career is primarily the reason why I’m familiar with Patti as an entertainer. After watching Christmas Everlasting, I think she did a great job with the acting material she was given! If Hallmark ever decided to cast these actors in more Hallmark productions, I would whole-heartedly agree with that decision!
A compelling story: Two months ago, when I speculated on which book could be the source material for this movie, I mentioned that the synopsis for Marie Bostwick’s novel shared some similarities with The Beach House. While there were some parts of the movie that reminded me of Hallmark Hall of Fame’s previous entry, there were several differences that brought uniqueness to this story. An example is Mr. Freckles, Alice’s cat. The incorporation of Alice’s beloved cat featured a type of pet that is not often seen in a Hallmark movie. Mr. Freckles was also incorporated into the story to help the protagonist and the audience learn a valuable lesson about how certain situations take time in order for them to be dealt with.
The humor: When I first watched the trailer for Christmas Everlasting, I knew there was going to be a certain amount of humor featured throughout the film. However, I did not expect the movie to have as much humor as it ended up having. I believe there was a good balance of comedy and drama in this film. The inclusion of comedy helped give the audience a break from the sadness associated with this story, while the drama helped bring a sense of realism and relatability to the film.
Great messages and themes: There are lots of Hallmarks movies, including those from the Hallmark Hall of Fame branch, that have great messages and themes woven into their stories. While I was watching Christmas Everlasting, I found several messages and themes that were not only relatable, but also worth sharing long after the film’s end credits had appeared on-screen. One example is when one of Alice’s friends compares life to a quilt. This message made me look at quilts differently and gave me a new perspective on life itself.
The mystery: In a Word on the Street post, when I first shared my thoughts on the Christmas Everlasting trailer, one of the things that I was looking forward to was figuring out the mystery surrounding the quilt. I won’t spoil anything for those of you who haven’t seen the film yet, but all I will say is that this specific part of the story was very well-written, leading to a really good plot twist!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Patti LaBelle’s limited on-screen presence: Because Patti LaBelle was cast in this film as the main supporting actress and because her picture is prominently featured on the movie’s poster, I expected Patti’s character to have a recurring presence throughout the film. Also, I was excited to see Patti’s performance in this movie, as this was the first time I had ever seen any of Patti’s acting performances. When I watched Christmas Everlasting, however, Patti was only in two scenes within the movie’s last thirty minutes.
My overall impression:
In this review’s introduction, I said that Christmas Everlasting was my most anticipated Christmas movie of 2018. When I look back on this movie, I can honestly say that this film lived up to my expectations! Christmas Everlasting had everything I could want in a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie and was definitely worth the wait! In fact, Christmas Everlasting is, so far, the best Hallmark Christmas movie I’ve seen this year! During the sneak peek commercial that was shown after this movie, however, there was no mention of the next Hallmark Hall of Fame production. I’m guessing that Hallmark is trying something new when announcing their movies within this particular branch, keeping these projects under wraps and preventing the element of surprise from being spoiled for their audience. If you look at the history of Hallmark Hall of Fame, an upcoming movie would usually be advertised during the end credits of a particular film. Whatever Hallmark has in store for the Hallmark Hall of Fame in 2019, I will definitely be looking forward to them and await the arrival of those announcements!
Overall score: 8.3 out of 10
Have you seen Christmas Everlasting? Which Hallmark Hall of Fame movie is your favorite? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!