Have you ever started watching a truly awful film, maybe half-heartedly to begin with, only to find that you can no longer turn over or switch off? I mean, now you’ve wasted this much time watching you deserve to see the whole thing through to its hideous, ill-fated, terribly-acted end, right? Even if that film goes on for wa-ay longer than you first presumed.
And so that is how I came to watch ‘A Christmas Romance‘. Me and Mom were actually waiting for another programme to start but ended up watching this film right through to its wonderfully awkward final scenes.
In true fashion of me and my blog this whole thing will involve a healthy dose of reaction’s to the film and the script. So…
First up we meet Julia who is apparently just being let go from her job along with a bunch of other people, despite her manager proclaiming he doesn’t know how he will get by without her.
We then meet Brian who is a bank…. guy…. and getting ready to leave for a party with his girlfriend now the offices are closing for Christmas. But, oh no! Some woman catches him and tells him he is the only person available to go up the mountain and deliver an envelope.
I shit you not, that is the most detail you get. Me and Mom sat for quite a while trying to figure out what the hell was going on or who these people were. Long, drawn-out story short Brian drives up the mountain in terrible snow to tell Julia she’s being booted out her cabin because she hasn’t been paying the bills. By the way, she has two daughters – Deenie and Emily-Rose, the latter whom they demand on calling the full double-barrel name every time, and I feel that’s what really caused the film to last so long. She also has a barn full of farm animals.
Deenie and Emily’s Dad is also dead. I’m telling you this now as to begin with the film barely acknowledged the man’s existence and for the longest time I thought the guy had just ran away and never returned.
So after some heated argument outside the cabin in a snowstorm, where everyone is having to shout just to hear each other, Brian storms off back to his car and attempts to drive off. He makes it literally one second from the cabin before he drives the car straight off the road and ploughs it into some tiny wooden building. Julia goes out to help Brian, seeing as he’s knocked himself out, and…. to give you perspective of how close he was to the cabin, Julia is able to shout back to Deenie on the porch and tell her to phone for a Dr. With a lot of effort she drags his ass back up towards the cabin, only for her daughter to tell her the phone is dead. She promptly drops Brian on the floor.
Julia – “I should have left you in that snowbank to freeze!”
Me – “She says it like she’s dragged him for miles. He crashed his car at the bottom of her friggin’ path.”
So Brian is all confused and thinks he’s being kidnapped. Eventually he gets up, has another argument with Julia and storms out the house back to his car. Julia is more than happy to let him go but Emily decides to go chasing after the man who rocked up at their house in a storm, because she thinks he is some ‘Christmas Stranger’ that she asked for.
For some reason it takes Julia an age to get back out to the car, maybe because she decided to go and get a donkey out the barn first. ……. Yeah. She also tells Deenie to turn all the lights on in the house so she can find her way back. Now…… sure, there is a storm but visibility is not that bad. It’s actually on par with the kind of thing we’d get in England, which is mediocre weather central of the world, so Julia is really hamming it up at this point.
She gets to the car. Emily is freezing. Whacks the kid on the donkey and they all go back to the cabin wheeeeeeere…. the electricity is out too! She tells Brian to help Deenie with a fire and he claims she has no electricity because she hasn’t been paying those bills either.
Julia – “We live in the mountains! The electricity goes out all of the time! *tries the tap* And the water… But do we call our accountants? No. Do we call our psychiatrist? No. We learn to do without.
Me – “Should probably call your provider though, I mean…. If it’s happening all the time she’s basically paying for no services…
*Julia has wandered outside and is chopping wood*
Me – “Oh my God… Is she chopping wood in the middle of a snowstorm!?
Mom – “Well they have to keep the fire going somehow.”
Me – “She was just harping on about never having electricity or water, yet she doesn’t have enough wood stocked up? This should not be a surprise to her.”
So we get a fire going, put the kids to bed and then decide to tell Brian he might have concussion. You know, just to keep him on his toes. In all fairness to him he’s all about the job and tries to convince Julia if she sold the house they could turn it into part of some weird, living museum where people can come and see how life up in the mountains goes.
Brian – “It would bring jobs!”
Julia – “Lousy, boring jobs.”
Mom, looking seriously confused – “………. What?”
Me – “What is this woman’s deal!? She’s just lost her job and refuses to move to the city for another one and now that she could stay… the jobs are boring! I am confused by her choices.”
Him and Julia end up falling to sleep on the floor which would be terrible if he did have concussion and when the kids wake up and see them together they are mighty confused. Julia leaves Brian on the floor to deal with his impending death and puts the kids back to bed.
Julia – “When your Daddy died I thought I’d never be happy again….”
Me – “And I was right. I’m not. Because I’m stuck up a mountain with you two, chopping wood in a snowstorm with no hot water.”
There’s a really weird subplot with a sheep called Daisy. Until this point all you know is that Daisy exists and Deenie is weirdly overly concerned about her. It’s not until an hour into the film that you’re informed Daisy is pregnant but was sickly anyway so… the outlook isn’t great.
Me – “What’s the deal with the sheep?”
Mom – “I have no idea….”
When they wake up in the morning Brian has had some weird change of heart and is going around the house doing odd jobs. Deenie is watching him like a hawk. Deenie is also the most miserable child ever.
Julia comes back in from her million and one chores to find Brian eating all of her cake. I mean really, the man has like four cakes out on the table and is working his way through them. She sells these in the town, by the way.
Julia – “I was going to take that cake to town to sell it.”
Brian – “What is this flavouring? I can’t get enough of it.”
Julia – “Bourbon.”
Brian – “What?”
Julia – “Bourbon. I use artificial flavouring for the Methodists and the Baptists. The Catholics and Episcopalians prefer the real thing. That cake is Episcopalian.”
Me – “Who wrote this script!? I know more about that cake than what’s actually going on here!”
So at this point I got distracted by eating half of a whole tiramisu, but I’m pretty sure Brian cuts down a tree. I don’t know if it was in the way of the cabin or anything but he does it anyway. This leads to a wonderfully nonsensical discussion about belief…. somehow… I wasn’t paying attention.
Deenie – “Do you believe in heaven?”
Brian – “I guess…. in my own way I do.”
Deenie – “Do animals go to heaven?”
Brian – “If anyone does, they do.”
Deenie – “Do you think our Dad is in heaven? Can he love us from that far away?”
Mom – “Erm….”
Me – “What species was the Dad again?”
So I think the day has gone wonderfully and Brian’s concussion is coming along just fine. Until he makes a really dumb decision, that is.
Me – “Oh my God, what is with these people going out at night in storms to chop wood!? He could have done this in the afternoon instead of eating Episcopalian cake!”
Brian has promised the girls if they can stay awake until midnight then they can all go to the barn and listen to the animals talk, as you do on Christmas Eve. This is a legitimate thing/belief/old wive’s tale/myth and weirdly I only just found out about it earlier in the day (spooky).
The girls had been asleep, but they wake up and realise its midnight where they demand to be taken to the barn. The animals all start talking – by which I mean making noise – and then Julia notices Daisy ain’t doing so great. The kids aren’t that fussed, they just fall to sleep again eventually and Julia helps deliver the lamb with the aid of Brian.
Unfortunately Daisy doesn’t make it. Now…. this whole film Daisy has mostly been lying down and looking…. drugged. I mean I don’t know, maybe she was just a very tame and very lazy sheep and she enjoyed being fussed over on the floor but…. this face tells me differently.
So yeah, Daisy doesn’t make it. But her offspring is getting 5 star treatment back up at the cabin. Again I zoned out due to food, but the next thing I know Julia is rooting around in the attic and Brian has followed her up there with the sheep, telling her she could totally sell all of the stuff she’s hoarded and pay off some of her debt. For sentimental reasons, that I will not go into because I didn’t listen, she declines.
Brian – “You know what, Julia? I think you hold on to the past a little too much.”
Julia – “It’s everywhere. I can’t avoid it.”
Me – “That’s because you’re sitting up in the loft in your hoarder’s paradise, love.”
It turns out Julia was up the loft looking for gifts she could give her kids for Christmas, seeing as a combination of the storm and Brian’s presence has stopped her from going into town to collect the actual presents. Trust me, when those kids open these gifts….
Again, I’m afraid my story-telling skills are going to falter a bit here due to things that were going on outside of the film, like mom shouting at her knitting and me trying to sort out a Secret Santa for work. So I’m not sure when Julia finally started to tell Brian, tell anyone, about what happened to her late husband.
Julia – “That was the first night he really knew the business was going to fail. He had a few beers, went off on his bike…. He hit a car coming round the corner not far from where you had your accident.”
Me – “What, at the bottom of their path?”
Mom – “They really don’t have much luck round here.”
Me – “I think they should move to the city just to prevent more death.”
So it’s Christmas!!! The kids open their horribly disappointing presents, there is a small uptick when the lamb gets rolled in and then it’s time to break the news to Deenie that her beloved sheep is dead.
Mom – “God, not again.”
Me – “That kid has spent at least 40% of this film crying. And it’s been a long film.”
Suddenly the vet/Dr/general…. guy turns up on a horse with two of his buddies and he comes bearing the real Christmas gifts for the kids. I had lost interest at this point so I will include a link to this film once I’m done where you can view it in all its glory.
Guy who just turned up – “Everyone must think you’re dead, young fella!”
Julia – “Or worse.”
Me – “What could be worse than everyone thinking he’s dead?”
Mom – “Everything that’s happened to him so far?”
We’re all having a nice sing around the piano – because it’s a Christmas film and there is always a piano for this purpose and I can only imagine when they had the piano installed they made the guy bring it up in a snowstorm in the middle of the night – and everything is great when a helicopter rocks up on the scene. An actual. Helicopter.
Out pops Brian’s city girlfriend! I can only presume she’d have flown up sooner but a snowstorm is no time to be flying…. it’s a time to chop wood. So she carts Brian off, even though on the way out he’s telling Julia how pretty she is and it’s all kinda odd. Julia is looking all beat up about it and I don’t blame her – she’s been left up a mountain with her two awful children, a lamb is roaming the house, she has no water and probably has more wood to chop once it gets dark. But the next day there’s a commotion outside the cabin….
Deenie – “Who’s that?”
Maybe Emily – “It’s Brian!”
Me – “Oh Christ, he isn’t driving at the bottom of their path again is he?”
Mom – “He’s got a 4×4 this time. He’s learnt his lesson.”
Maybe his girlfriend owned the helicopter and under no circumstances would let him borrow it to dump her and go live up the mountain with Julia, so he’s driven all the way back. I would also like to point out no one has bothered to mention his crashed car which is….. well it’s right there at the bottom of the path. Come Spring you won’t be able to ignore it quite so easily.
Julia is pissed at him though because she received a letter dated from before Christmas that she still needed to leave her house. I mean…. it’s not difficult to presume something may have changed at this point but she’s still all down his throat.
Brian – “What did I do!?
Julia – “You left!”
Brian – “I had to! And I was drunk.”
Me – “Those are often the two main reasons why I leave places too.”
And then everyone lived happily ever after and played some more piano.
No joke. These two people are clearly not meant for each other at all. And from Brian’s whole conduct in this film I’d say he was a pretty flighty character and you probably couldn’t trust him. The worst thing is if he did try and escape he wouldn’t be able to make it down the road without crashing his car.
And what about the bills? There was no real explanation to how they were getting around this crippling debt other than Julia wanted to sell cakes full-time. But that takes time to set up. Does Brian have the power to wipe the slate clean? Is he going to contribute with his wages? Is he going to commute every day? Again, in snow, I wouldn’t expect him to make it off the drive. Especially if he’s been at that Episcopalian cake again.
But anyway, if you want to watch this film please do so here. My rendering of it is probably not that great and I don’t think I’ve done it enough justice. I’ve also missed a lot of stuff out, like the fact Brian draws horrifying portraits of people and hands them out as gifts.
Look forward to that, folks!