Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tonight's Movie: A Royal Christmas (2014)

At this time of year there's nothing quite like watching a heartwarming Christmas movie, and the Hallmark Channel delivers with the delightful A ROYAL CHRISTMAS (2014).

Lacey Chabert stars as Emily Taylor, a seamstress and aspiring clothes designer who is stunned to learn her boyfriend Leo (Stephen Hagan), who recently graduated with his MBA, is also Prince Leopold of Cordinia.

Leo takes Emily home to his small European country to meet his formidable mother, Queen Isadora (Jane Seymour). The queen hopes that Leo will marry Natasha (Katherine Flynn, Jane Seymour's real-life daughter), a duchess she considers much more suitable to be bride to the heir to the throne.

Isadora and Natasha make Emily's visit difficult, but head butler Victor (Simon Dutton) and the rest of the staff like Emily and offer her their help, and family friend Galina (Kate Loustau) is kind as well. And Leo's steadfast love for Emily never wavers. Will she look past his mother's rudeness and agree to be his bride?

A ROYAL CHRISTMAS is quite derivative -- you've seen it all before in films like THE PRINCESS DIARIES (2001) and THE PRINCE AND ME (2004) -- yet it has its own charms thanks to a wonderful cast. Chabert and Hagen are quite appealing, Sutton is funny, and Seymour is wickedly delightful as Leo's ungracious horror of a mother. This being a Christmas film, one can easily guess that eventually Isadora will see the error of her ways.

I watched most of this film with a smile on my face and will certainly be pulling out my copy to watch it again during Christmas seasons to come.

A ROYAL CHRISTMAS runs approximately 81 minutes without commercials. It was directed by Alex Zamm. One of the co-writers was Michael Damian, longtime star of THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, who these days does quite a bit of behind-the-camera work. He produced, wrote, and directed Hallmark's A PRINCESS FOR CHRISTMAS in 2011.

A ROYAL CHRISTMAS is being shown regularly on the Hallmark Channel this month; Hallmark will continue showing Christmas films through New Year's Day. It's also available on DVD.

Previously reviewed Hallmark Christmas movies: A CHRISTMAS VISITOR (2002), A BOYFRIEND FOR CHRISTMAS (2004), SILVER BELLS (2005), THE CHRISTMAS CARD (2006), and THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (2008). I should also mention the excellent THE MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS (2005) which is partly set at Thanksgiving and Christmastime.


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