Violet McGraw delights as A Christmas Mystery is a cute little holiday film for kids.
We review the HBO Max film A Christmas Mystery, which does not contain spoilers.
HBO Max continues to get us in the Christmas spirit with their latest film on their streaming platform, A Christmas Mystery. Does the movie live up to the title of being a mystery? Will adults love this? Or is this only for the kids? Let’s dive in.
The film begins with a narrator telling us the tale of Jimmy Stubbins and the golden jingle bells. Then, we find out that Pleasant Bay had fallen on hard times because of a dry spell that caused the loss of many jobs. Next, little Jimmy saw some golden jingle bells falling from the sky off Santa’s sleigh. So he snagged the jingle bells and wished for the mill to reopen so the town could get back on its feet.
The following morning, the bells were still by his bedside, and a present lay under the tree. His parents come to the tree, shocked, and a knock on the door. The man tells them that the river is flowing and everyone will get their jobs back. Little Jimmy told the story about how he found the bells and made the wish, and it came true. The city took the bells and put them up in a museum. Since that Christmas, the city has had over 100 years of flourishing times.
We fast forward to the present day, where we meet some Pierce family. You have a young kid in Violet and a teenage daughter in Maddie, and we meet their dad, Sheriff Pierce. At the police station, Sheriff Pierce mentions to his little girl they had a 1099 call, which is code for a burglary, but sadly it was a false alarm (her words, not mine). Violet mentions that nothing happens in this town. However, the following morning, the jingle bells went missing from the museum. The city is in shambles.
After an investigation, George Bottoms, the museum security guard, has been arrested for stealing the bells. But George’s youngest son doesn’t believe his father would do it, so he enlists Violet, the sheriff’s daughter, to help him find out who really did.
Look, the movie is really cute, with Violet McGraw, who played Violet Pierce, being an absolute delight on the screen. Her spunk and her ability to carry scenes on her own make it easy to root for her. The rest of the cast plays their parts well enough to move the story along just fine. There weren’t any groundbreaking performances, but everyone seemed to have fun.
The story has so many similar beats to kid-like mysteries that it becomes somewhat redundant. It’s wildly predictable, but some of the quick-witted writing of Violet makes some moments a blast. I was also quite surprised by how much I enjoyed the film’s score. It had this blend of mystery and Christmas that was a delight. You don’t typically gravitate towards it in films of this nature.
Overall, A Christmas Mystery is HEAVILY geared toward kids, but I do think adults can watch it without wanting to poke their eyes out. It’s an overly predictable kids’ mystery movie that relies heavily on Violet to carry the film on her back, which she does. It’s innocent fun.
What did you think of the HBO Max film A Christmas Mystery? Comment below.