A cross between Marry Me and Music and Lyrics, but with a Christmas twist, this won’t win awards, but Christmas With You passes the time very nicely and charmingly.
We review the Netflix film Christmas With You, which does not contain spoilers.
There’s a point around a third of the way through Christmas with You, the latest Yuletide concoction to be unleashed this year by Netflix, where you might be questioning just how it is that Freddie Prinze Jr‘s character Miguel is able to pay for his electricity bill. If the credit sequence with its depiction of a Christmas-flavored New York doesn’t already scream out to you that ‘this is a Christmas film,’ then the large number of decorative lights that surround the interior alone of the house that Miguel and his family live in will certainly do so.
Of course, it’s a question that is never even raised within the film, and to be fair, nobody is going into Christmas with You wanting to ask those questions. Like so many romantic comedy dramas that take over our streaming services and television schedules this time of the year, any notions of realism are vanquished as soon as the upbeat New York City-set opening credits begin.
Those opening credits introduce us to Angelina (Aimee Garcia), a successful pop star struggling in an era of social media and upcoming younger talent who only has a week to write and produce a hit Christmas pop song. Discovering a video online from a younger fan named Christina (Deja Monique Cruz), Angelina decides to surprise Christina in her hometown, meets her family as a result, and ends up writing a hit song with Christina’s dad Miguel. Will Angelina and Miguel find love with each other amongst their songwriting? It’s a rhetorical question, let’s be honest.
Following only a week after the premiere of Falling for Christmas, the heavily hyped latest in the Brad Krevoy universe of Christmas movies, Gabriela Tagliavini brings a more gentle and refreshingly Spanish flavor to her film in comparison to the white privilege fantasies that one gets with Krevoy’s productions. Make no mistake, this still takes place somewhat in a fantasy world where everyone and everything is either upper class or middle class and nobody has much to worry about in terms of their finances, which makes these types of Christmas films weirdly fascinating this year in terms of them being released during the cost of living crisis. Declarations of love are just around the corner and the streets are snowy and picturesque, but it’s still a world away from the castles, fictional royalty and opulence within every inch of the production design that populates the likes of A Christmas Prince or The Princess Switch.
Instead, Tagliavini’s movie finds charm and joys in the minutiae of the lives of its characters, most prominently in the quinceañera that it builds up to in the final act, itself subverting the notion that the song that is being written throughout the film will be the third act set-piece, which instead acts as a catalyst for the drama that will take the movie to its upbeat conclusion. It’s a nicely different notion for a film in a sub-genre that is frequently criticized for portraying Christmas in all too caucasian ways, usually adorned with red and white jumpers.
Christmas with You is not going to be an award winner, but it is a nicely charming concoction that does the cheesy Netflix Christmas thing in such a way that you can’t help but enjoy the charms. Garcia and Prinze Jr are a lot of fun, have nice chemistry and at ninety minutes it passes the time nicely, and while no Christmas movie cliche is left unturned, it plays the hits in an entertainingly enjoyable way.
What did you think of Christmas with You? Comment below.
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