Friday, January 22, 2021

Tonight's Movie: Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas (2020)

I've been having really good luck with the Hallmark Christmas movies I've watched in the last few weeks, and that continued with TIME FOR US TO COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (2020).

It's a gentle and mysterious film from, fittingly, the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel.

Sarah (Lacey Chabert), like the heroine in another of this past season's Hallmark films, LOVE, LIGHTS, HANUKKAH! (2020), is mourning the recent loss of her mother.  The two movies are great illustrations of how Hallmark can take a familiar basic premise and then spin it into films which are completely unique journeys.

In the script by Marcy Holland, Sarah, a Seattle attorney, is back home in New York settling her late mother's affairs.  

Sarah receives an envelope telling her a reservation has been made for her to spend Christmas at the Snowfall Inn; since her boss had just told her on the phone to be looking for a token of the firm's appreciation, she assumes it's a thoughtful gesture from her employers, knowing she is spending Christmas alone at a difficult time.

Shortly after Sarah arrives at the inn, she learns that the reservation was not, in fact, from her law firm...and the payment information in the hotel's computer system doesn't have a name.  What's more, other guests soon check in with the same mysterious invitation.  The inn's new owner, Ben (Stephen Huszar), is as genuinely mystified as his guests.  

Ben has also recently been through major life changes, and he and Sarah draw together as they search for answers.

To say too much might spoil it, but this was a lovely film in which several people at a crossroads in life come together, connect, and unexpectedly help one another through challenging times.  Sure, in real life some people might have assumed the invitations were a marketing ploy and tossed them out instead of using them, but the well-written script has a plausible reason for every person who decides to show up at the inn.

The story and relationships among the inn's guests flow naturally, and there's an especially beautiful scene with Sarah and Jasper (Leon), a musician, sitting together in church thinking of their absent loved ones.  That scene and a couple others made me cry a little, but in a good way.  

Chabert, who starred in two 2020 Christmas films, demonstrates why she's a Hallmark regular year after year; she's particularly effective, with an authentic persona and excellent line readings.  Huszar is appealing as the owner of the inn.

TIME FOR US TO COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS was coproduced by country singer Blake Shelton, following his previous Hallmark films TIME FOR ME TO COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (2018) and TIME FOR YOU TO COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS (2019).  This was the first of the three movies I've seen; as far as I can tell from my reading, they're not related other than having similar titles.

The movie was directed by David Winning and filmed by Ryan Petey in Vancouver, British Columbia.  It runs 84 minutes.

TIME FOR US TO COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS is a heartwarming film I quite enjoyed and recommend.

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