The Holiday Calendar
Abby is stuck in life and love, and even her photography career isn’t developing. But when she receives an Advent calendar that seems to predict her future, Abby wonders if a little Christmas magic can finally put everything in focus. Can she filter out her disbelief and capture her career dreams…and expose love along the way?
Opens w/ City Scene
Sage Grandpa Figure
Ice Skating Scene
Ends w/ Kiss or Ring
When you start to tear up at a preview for a Christmas movie, your expectations are high. Cue the trailer for “The Holiday Calendar” (linked below). The promise of clichés are everywhere, and clichés make the formula work: a love story filled with Sleigh Rides and a Sage Grandpa Figure to make our leading lady believe in Christmas magic? The movie screamed Very Merry potential.
Can something be both a hit and a miss? If so, that’s “The Holiday Calendar”.
Struggling photographer Abby (Kat Graham, teetering on unlikable) inherits her grandmother’s Advent calendar, even though she’s not a big fan of Christmas. When the gifts inside seem to predict her future and set her on a path toward a relationship with “Dream Dad” Ty, Abby warms to the holiday spirit. Things get sticky when her childhood friend, Josh, keeps pushing Abby to chase her career dreams…and inadvertently shows her what real love looks like.
What works is the supporting cast. Sage Grandpa Figure Ron Cephas Jones is phenomenal and filled with fantastic lines: “That’s the problem with great loves—pretty good ones don’t stand a chance.” Quincy Brown’s Josh oozes happiness and seems to be the only one who can find the child-like joy that comes from the Christmas season.
What doesn’t work is the “almost” nature of the clichés. They work for a reason. So when Ty is amicably divorced vs. Widowed, we were let down. Josh is a friend from Abby’s past but no mention of a Rekindled Romance? Bummer. And there were unlimited chances to do more montages with the Advent calendar gifts and hit on more Christmas elements, like the classic Tree Buy & Trim. Too bad we spent more time on Abby’s wallowing over minor career setbacks rather than building toward holiday redemption. It gave the movie a seriously negative tone.
But wow, does Netflix have budget for high-quality content. The background music seemed composed specifically for each scene, and the CGI snow/breaths weren’t distracting (like on some other networks…) And they even threw in a little Easter Egg of lovable sidekick Fernando watching other Netflix Christmas movies—hilarious! We hope they do that for all of their new movies as their signature.
It’s a movie you should watch at least once this season, but it’s not a classic. Give us more Christmas, more clichés, and fewer Scrooge-like moments next time.
Rob's Final Take: Not Very Merry
A moody, mopey lead. A flat plot. And a complete lack of Christmas joy. This movie was like Abby’s unprocessed film: all negatives.
Jess's Final Take: Merry
Ugh, I so wanted this to be Very Merry. But Abby is such a downer that the movie had more self-pity than Christmas spirit.
Watch It On: Netflix
Starring: Kat Graham, Ethan Peck & Quincy Brown