Christmas at Pemberley Manor
Elizabeth has been sent to lovely Lambton to plan the town’s Christmas festival. But when her event space falls through (literally!), she turns to the charming but holiday-challenged William and his picture-perfect estate home. Can Elizabeth and her merry helpers make the old house sing with Christmas spirit...and warm William’s icy heart in the process?
Opens w/ City Scene
PR / Event Planner / Decorator
Tree Buy & Trim
Public Domain Xmas Music
Ends w/ Kiss or Ring
As the #1 movie on our 2018 Movie Premieres We’re Most Excited For, we had pretty high hopes for “Christmas at Pemberley Manor.” The description teased some of our favorite clichés (Career-Driven Woman, Evil Corporation). It had familiar, likable stars (Jessica Lowndes, our December Bride). Plus, it was the lead-off to Hallmark’s holiday season.
It had to be Very Merry, right?
The movie opens at a fast pace: The town of Lambton is hosting a Christmas Festival and needs an Event Planner, Elizabeth Bennet (one of the few Pride and Prejudice references in the movie that don’t really make sense). When a sinkhole ruins the town square, Elizabeth wants to host the festival on the lawn of the epic Pemberley Manor. Too bad it is about to be sold and turned into condos, unless Elizabeth can convince the somewhat-steely owner, William Darcy, to delay closing until after Christmas Eve.
The usual clichés follow: a Tree Buy & Trim where we learn of William’s love of the season despite his Deceased Parents; a brief Sleigh Ride (in a carriage, but it still counts) where Elizabeth’s event planning talents are praised; a quick panic over the lead soloist getting sick but Elizabeth saving the day with a fairly well-sung Public Domain Christmas Song. All scenes moved the story forward, and there were no moments of boredom.
Yet even with those impressive 11 clichés, something felt off.
Mr. Darcy wasn’t really the Scrooge character he could have been—he was more of an introvert than a holiday hater. We also could have used more backstory on our main character: why did Elizabeth love Christmas so much she teetered on annoying? It’s also usually a red flag when you’re more invested in the side characters’ romance. (A full movie of Jane and Travis would definitely have Very Merry potential.)
The biggest drawback was the confusing Pride and Prejudice connection. Unless the one Jane Austen novel Jess hasn’t read includes a …Santa? character who saves the local festival, the references felt unnecessary and just plain confusing.
We know Hallmark will be playing this movie on repeat until the end of the season, and there is enough goodness that we’d recommend a viewing. But there’s not enough to add this one to our Very Merriest list.
Rob's Final Take: Merry
So much untapped potential. The pieces were in place but the love story felt as flat as the movie’s CGI snowflakes. How about a sequel starring Travis and Jane?
Jess's Final Take: Merry
The dashing Lambton Mayor and Mr. Darcy’s earnest assistant added a lightness to the movie that made me smile. Too bad they didn’t get more screen time.
Watch It On: Hallmark
Starring: Jessica Lowndes & Michael Rady