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Review | A Song for Christmas

A Song for Christmas

A Song for Christmas

Director R. C. Newey
Writer(s) Joie Botkin and Betsy Morris
Rating PG
Release Date November 11, 2017

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What’s this?

A Song for Christmas is the latest crappy made for TV Christmas film in the seemingly never-ending supply of crappy made for TV Christmas films available on Christmas 24. The trailer (yes, this film has been extensively trailed on Christmas 24 for the last few weeks) suggests this is a story of a country star who ends up stranded in a small town at Christmas. The true meaning of Christmas and unlikely romance ensue.

This is basically Nashville at Christmas then?

You wish. I know Nashville isn’t exactly the high point of television but it has a real place in my heart. Mainly because I enjoy Connie Briton saying “y’all”. A Song for Christmas is nothing like Nashville. There’s very little in way of actual songs and in fact the y’all count was a big fat zero. The story is a fairly by-the-numbers affair that manages to tick a couple of the Christmas tropes that I talked about last week. Adelaide Kay (Becca Tobin) is a country star in the making. Her debut album of self-penned songs was a critical failure. Thanks to her new manager, Russell (James McGowan), things are beginning to turn around. Even if that means doing early-era Taylor Swift-esque pop-country and pretending to date other stars for the publicity. Actually, that’s unfair. I really like Taylor Swift in all of her various forms.

You like Taylor Swift? Each to his own. Anyway, the film…?

Ah yes, of course. Adelaide makes a stop off in Preston, a small town in Virginia and through a hilarious set of circumstances she ends up getting left behind by her tour bus.

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Well, that shouldn’t be a problem, surely everyone recognises her?

Not really. Adelaide hasn’t even got her phone. Thankfully, Hailey (Kendra Leigh Timmins) steps in with a phone and eventually a place to stay on her family’s Christmas tree farm. The two of them are driving back to Hailey’s farm and Adelaide’s song comes on the radio. Hailey even says that she “loves this song” but she has no idea who she is. Apparently, no one else in this very small Virginia town knows who she is either. I guess she just isn’t that famous or Preston is awash with giant tour buses turning up. It did look like it could be a transport hub for the entire rock and roll community.

What does she get up to on the farm?

The first big surprise on the farm in Dillon (Kevin McGarry), a poor man’s Chris Isaak, who Adelaide had briefly bumped into in town and who was actually the reason she missed her bus. Dillon is apparently a very good singer. We know this because he stands in the snow, at night, playing his guitar and mumbling. Here’s the catch: he’s too shy to sing in public. But on the plus side, he is a sensitive dreamboat. Phwoar.

Does anything else happen?

Adelaide keeps her “fame” a secret so there’s two seconds of intrigue there and another 5 seconds of moderately sad faces when people find out that she lied. Don’t worry, it doesn’t last long. Everyone’s alright with it in the end. There’s a whole subplot about Hailey and Dillon’s parents being short of money and are in danger of losing the farm. Thankfully they have a country star staying with them so everything might work out in the end. Adelaide also wants to be an artist in her own right, not just somebody who’s famous, and thanks to a growing relationship with hunky Dillon, her creative juices are well and truly flowing. Who knows, maybe Dillon will overcome his stage fright too?

That doesn’t sound too Christmassy?

It kind of is. When Hailey’s family are close to losing the farm the whole town rallies around to help them out. Think It’s a Wonderful Life but poorly acted and with characters that you don’t care about in the slightest. Adelaide has never really enjoyed Christmas, but just might this time with Hunky Hunkface strumming his guitar. Of course, there is their unlikely relationship that might just sort itself out in time for Christmas.

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Do I detect that you didn’t like A Song for Christmas?

It’s just so pointless. I was hoping for something where country music (or any music) takes center stage, and we get what is essentially Nashville at Christmas. The reality of the film is that there is a surprising lack of songs given that it’s called A Song for Christmas. Adelaide keeps going on about being a musician and a performer but she doesn’t really do much of either and certainly not enough to warrant all of her big talk.

The two leads are pretty much the only defined characters, everyone else is just a flat stereotype to the point that even though I watched the film 24 hours ago it took me a good 10 minutes to remember Adelaide’s manager’s name. I only managed it because I stuck the film back on. The relationship between Dillon and Adelaide is a bit weird. You know from the start they’re going to get together because of the way they stare at each other. However, at no point did it feel like they were in any way compatible, apart from both of them talking a big game about how much they LOVE music.

You said they do one song, is at least a good song?

I honestly couldn’t tell you. It was in no way memorable and I think I had forgotten it almost as soon as it had finished being played.

Recommendation?

It’s harmless background noise, but it’s not what I’d call good. You could guess the plot just from the title of the film and they pull off a moderately competent job. I was hoping for a lot more country music, any music really, instead of one forgettable anaemic Christmas song. The only thing I can remember about it is the rhymes were like something you’d expect from a pre-schooler’s first attempt at writing a poem. This is one of those films that I don’t think is really a Christmas film. If it was set at another time of the year it wouldn’t really lose anything, they’d just have to find some more clumsy rhymes for another song. I think the main problem with A Song for Christmas is that it’s so forgettable. It’s an absolutely beige film.

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A Song for Christmas

3.2

Plot

3.0/10

Writing

3.0/10

Direction

4.0/10

Performances

3.0/10

Production

3.0/10

Pros

  • The snow looked fairly convincing

Cons

  • There's not enough songs
  • The song we do get is instantly forgettable
  • The leads are not particularly engaging
  • It's a beige film, inoffensive but entirely mundane
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