Now, I’m hoping unlike Now TV that this film isn’t lying to me and has given it’s real identity. Let’s jump straight in and make this short and sweet because I have food to prepare.
Already we have some intrigue as this guy is late to what looks like his own wedding. Everyone stands up and a guy even starts playing the organ when this man bursts into the church but it turns out that isn’t the groom after all. Who I presume is the maid of honour goes to break the news to the bride, who is having a small, quiet breakdown in another room.
Bride: “He’s not coming….”
Maid of Honour: “Maybe he’s stuck in traffic?”
Me: “Yeah, in a different state, maybe.”
The bride is going to resort to plan B which appears to be openly crying and looking around in wonder. I don’t think this woman ever wanted to get married at all!
At a primary school we see a young handsome guy (who I know was far more handsome in any of the other things I have seen him in when he didn’t have such stupid hair) waiting outside the principal’s office with a young relative. The guy is called in because a large concern for the school is that Holly, the young girl, is still turning in incomplete homework assignments and this man appears to have been completing homework for her, ie. colouring in a flower.
Man: “Come on, this is first grade and her mother died 3 months ago.”
Me: “Fucking hell! And they’re concerned about the fact she doesn’t want to colour in their damn flowers!”
Apparently Holly hasn’t spoken since the incident which… the school probably should have led with, rather than the whole flower thing. Due to the fact she has withdrawn into this introverted shell the school want to put her back into kindergarten for a year… because that will help with her feeling displaced in the world.
Mark, this girl’s Uncle, appears to be packing up the entire house into the back of his van and just wants to go back home to escape from the hideous school systems in Seattle. Calling in a favour with a friend he sets Holly up in a new school to start after Thanksgiving, just like that! A woman, Shelby, appears at the door who appears to be dating Mark and is not too impressed he is moving 6 hours away to Friday Harbour, an island, to be with his family. Prediction #1 – Shelby is being dropped for the jilted bride the second he lays eyes on her…. wherever she is. They convince themselves unconvincingly it will all work out and Shelby presumes it will be OK for her to drop by in a few days once they are settled.
Speaking of our jilted bride, Maggie, here she is! On the same boat as Mark with her maid of honour and her dog, Olive or… Oliver, that remains to be seen. Holly has just dropped her bear when Maggie comes along and returns it to her where it turns out both herself and the child are wearing the same pink converse. Still no word from Holly.
Turns out Olive will a) eat anything and b) is maid of honour’s old flatmates dog, who pawned her off on this woman whilst she went travelling. I hope this flatmate doesn’t expect Olive to be waiting for her when she gets home because her friend is trying to convince this dog to become an island canine.
Apparently Mark owns a coffee store in town which is good to know because Maggie owns one now, too! She has moved her ‘Magic Toyshop’ from Seattle to this island and inside there appears to be some woman who is ignoring everything Maggie wanted for the store and is doing her own thing. I have no idea who this woman is but she’s annoying as all hell and I think Maggie should slap her into a different postcode. Just like that Maggie has booted her out of the store with what looks like a cheque whilst outside MOH battles with Olive who has decided to lie down in the middle of the street as sad dogs at Christmas are prone to doing.
Turns out that woman was a store manager and Katie, the MOH, is now being roped in to helping with the shop instead. Maggie is convinced Black Friday is as big on the island as in the city and sends Katie off to find teenagers who are willing to work it. At some point she has also agreed to take on Olive, which is nice for the dog.
Mark has just bought Holly home where she is unresponsive to Uncle Scott’s secret handshake. You will be pleased to know, however, that Uncle Scott is renovating a house!! Uncle Alex is knocking around the house in his underwear making himself some breakfast and appears to be some sort of health freak/hippy. Living in half renovated houses appears to be the thing to do around Christmas because fuck heating and properly insulated walls. Now it turns out all of the brothers will be living in the renovation site and helping patch the place up.
Alex: “You know I had a bear growing up. His name was Frankie bear. He was the coolest bear… but Scott poured chocolate syrup on his head…”
Alex: “Then the cat ate him.”
Mark: “The cat was never the same after that.”
Me: “Because it was dead.”
Both Alex and Scott are alarmed by the amount of pink going on in Holly’s new room and she probably just wants them all to piss off while she organises her multi-coloured pipe cleaners. At bed time Uncle Mark does a strange impression of crickets during the bed time story but at least Holly appears to be enjoying it and humours the man.
When Mark wakes up in the morning, where I am starting to become a fan of his hairstyle, he finds Holly sleeping on the floor with him in a spare room instead of the bed he carted all the way from Seattle for her. Looks like Holly starts her new job in the coffee shop today because no one else will take her and leaves her with his employee Carrie… Carol…. Kara…. Either way she is far too enthusiastic. Outside the shop Mark runs into Maggie, who is walking Olive, when he gets a call from Shelby. Making Maggie stand there awkwardly, while he takes this call, we establish we’re probably already bored of Shelby and afterwards continue to discuss Olive, until he gets another call which terminates this pointless conversation about how Olive is basically Maggie’s dog now and she might as well just come to terms with it.
Now, not being a man I am unsure how this works, but it appears to take all three brother’s to figure out how to throw a Thanksgiving dinner for Holly which is not what they usually do but they’re gonna take a crack at it.
Scott thinks a good way to wake his younger sibling is to start hammering down bits of foundation in the room he is sleeping in. They are making all of this far more complicated than it needs to be and Alex is deep frying a turkey outside in a vat. Inside Scott has forgotten all about the sweet potatoes topped with marshmellows and is about to start a legitimate fire. Mark drops the turkey into the oil which starts an oil fire, but luckily that’s outside and next to the ocean.
Holly gets sick of these grown ass men arguing with each other and takes the entire pie they have given her off to her room to wallow in food pity. Mark is hanging around on a bridge feeling similarly sorry for himself when Maggie comes jogging by. These guys don’t celebrate Thanksgiving anymore because one year their Dad never returned from a business trip. Figures.
Maggie is boring the shit out of her new employees for the grand opening whilst Olive looks on with the face of reality – ain’t no one interested in Black Friday weekend on an island. Shelby has turned up though and this kid might not be talking but she sure as shit ain’t impressed by this woman. It doesn’t help any when Shelby is trying to dress the child like a small doll. Walking down the high street Holly is in that toy shop like a shot, despite the fact Shelby wants to do some of her own shopping and is hating this child more and more by the second. Olive appears to have remembered Holly and runs right up to the kid to lick her.
Awkward introductions done, Maggie offers the shop up to Holly whenever she feels like visiting the resident dog. Shelby gets mightily fed up of this woman and carts them all out of the shop bu Katie saves the day by pointing out neither of them were wearing wedding or an engagement ring. Christmas lesson incoming – it’s OK to break up relationships as long as you’re doing it out of the kindness of your heart….
Holly’s first day at school is underway and I hope Mark explained that she isn’t speaking because a lot of the other kids are already looking at her like she’s sprouted tentacles. Maggie is seeing her sister/friend off the island and despite the fact she said she is not keeping Olive, Olive is staying on the island with her. Mark decides he will try and join Holly for lunch, under the guise of bringing her her forgotten lunch, and he just makes the entire thing weird and awkward with the other kids.
All of the brothers are waiting for updates on Holly and how she’s doing on her first day. Alex, who was never popular and always concentrated on school work, is now making Scott paranoid that the other kids are making fun of her. One day in this school and the teachers are already recommended doctors and therapists for the girl. Shelby is trying to get Mark off the island for the weekend when he realises Holly is missing so puts the phone down on her. The man is running around the streets wildly when really there is only one place to look. Maggie apparently wasn’t too fussed that this kid wondered in one her ones and was just showing her around some very alternative doll’s/fairy house.
Scott is having doubts about letting Holly live with them at this renovation site and probably could have referred to her as something other than a ‘burden’ which just leads to another argument. It seems bad but really, this is the closest any of these Christmas films have been to real sibling relationships. Sub-plot, back home Katie saw Tim, who was apparently Maggie’s runaway groom, and he’s engaged again! It’s been 6 months though so, whatever.
Over at the bar everything is cleared up when Maggie meets Scott and… Cara…. Carol…. something…. and they reveal Holly is just their niece so she can feel even less guilt about breaking up this man’s relationship.
At the beach Alex is trying to get Holly to check out the rock pools and explaining why he will be moving to Maine soon to research lobsters. I’m presuming Holly will speak at any moment just to ask him to shut up but she does crack a smile when he gives her a star fish to hold. That qualifies as serious bonding with this child. Maggie only drops in to the sandwich store to pick up donuts when Mark is following her off down the street trying to convince her to drink coffee. Maggie thinks now will be a good time to show off her river dance skills and ends up flat on her face before limping off to the shop.
Alex has just received a call to inform him he has lost his grant to head up to Maine and study lobster. Never fear, though, his food is amazing and Holly has left a shopping list on the fridge for them which consists of cookies, chocolate milk, mac n cheese and carrots. I am all for that except for the blaringly obvious. That evening Mark receives a call from the island, during his dinner date out with Shelby in Seattle, that Holly has got a fever. Realising that Shelby hates children, Mark decides he’d rather just leave after a strange conversation where he seems to have forgotten this child is not actually his.
Back on the island… which is 6 hours away if I remember correctly… Holly looks fine, if you ask me. Maggie has made a new friend in… Carol…. and meets her at the bar, where her new friend is trying to set her up with any member of the band her step-brother is in. In a tenuous link between Maggie and the island it turns out she always wanted to open a store here and almost gave up on that dream when she almost got married. Unfortunately she just told Carol about her river dance that went wrong, and Carol immediately asks her brother to play something ‘Irish’ which is apparently in every band’s repertoire.
Back at the shop Maggie is explaining how the fairy living in the house needs to be given a name in order for her to stay when Uncle Mark is there to drag her off to her job at the coffee shop. She has barely left the shop when she runs back in and announces she would like to call the fairy Victoria. This is huge, guys, The kid is speaking!
At home her mass of Uncles bombard her by asking who her favourite uncle is, which Alex wins presumably because he a) didn’t call her a burden, b) doesn’t make her work in a coffee shop and c) gave her a star fish to hold. Mark brings over a gift box of coffee and food to Maggie, in order to thank her for talking about fairies incessantly to his niece, and invites her out on a date which brings a tear to her eye.
Over this dinner they share sob stories and discuss how depressing and scary the entire world is. Unfortunately Kieran’s aunt decided to drop by with his birthday cards and I have no idea why their date just went horribly wrong and why Mark is walking off looking so disappointed. Either way, Mark is doing a terrible job of decorating the tree and instead decides to break the news to Holly that her Mother is dead. And god knows what happened to her Dad, which is something I have only just thought of, as it has not been mentioned once this entire time.
CONFIRMED! Katie and Maggie are sisters, only an hour and a half in to the film. She also nicely wraps up the fact Mark was interested in her but she totally shot him down after their first date. Katie shouts at her a bunch to inform her she’s a friggin’ idiot and Maggie goes out to look at the sea for a bit with Olive and contemplate life. Elsewhere on the beach, Alex is looking after Holly and celebrating his new grant whilst Mark and Scott are grabbing Holly’s Christmas decorations from their deceased sibling’s house.
At a giant Friday Harbour boat parade, which actually looks pretty cool and all the boats are lit up and sailing around. Holly weirdly and creepily asks if Uncle Mark can be her Dad, because that’s not worrying at all, when Maggie shows up, hopefully to apologise for being a moron.
I’m hungry, I’m wrapping this up. Everything ends wonderfully, Mark forgives this laughing weirdo and we OH HOLY LIGHTBULBS they have covered the house in Christmas lights…. renovations are always good for fire hazards. Around Christmas dinner all these brothers decide they will continue to live together and all be one giant, happy family. Cue Olive who is dressed for Christmas and Maggie has bought Holly the fairy doll house as a Christmas present.
Happy ending. Everyone’s feeling warm and fuzzy. I’m hungry. Off we go.