I was a bit put off by this movie at first. It starts with a corporate office montage presentation for ten silent people sitting around a large conference table. Ten. The bold premise behind this Very Important presentation:
"Christmas is about peace, not productivity."
"That's where Harlow Furnishings' new accessories line comes in."
"Family is always your best decoration."
Was Romy trying to sell those 10 silent people on the idea that Christmas is wonderful? That family is wonderful? I replayed the montage and didn't see any furnishings- just a bunch of people eating, drinking and enjoying the holidays. Does she work for Harlow Furnishings as a designer? Marketing executive? What exactly is she trying to sell? Christmas decorations? For who? The logo was a green modern chair. What? Do they sell modern furniture? Who is she trying to sell on the idea of Christmas themed furnishings a few days before Christmas? It's a little late for 2022 and way too early for 2023. I understand the desire to present Romy as a very important busy person but I have no idea what she does or why.
And the focus on an ensemble cast seemed better suited for a longer format. I wish Hallmark would do more two-parters like they did last year with Sister Swap. Or make a few limited series. Some stories just don't fit into a two hour movie.
But I was won over by the engaging and often touching stories. Romy, played by Kara Wang, and her doting boyfriend Blake, played by Markian Tarasiuk, made a nice couple, as did the Golden Dragon owners. Roma has a fantastic mic drop moment when she speaks Chinese (and yet surprisingly tempered her comment with some empathy).
I wanted more of Veronica's story, even though she may have had the meatiest role. And I want more Hallmark movies with Sara Canning, who played Veronica. I liked her blossoming relationship with befuddled single dad (and co-worker) Nate, played by Antonio Cupo, and his two adorable yet realistic kids well played by Juliette Hawk and Mila Jones.
Some of the characters were really flawed, as in life. Rick, the college drop out, was annoyingly spineless and unable to stand up to his shallow frat brothers or the unreasonable demands of his father and Sadie paid the price. Twice. She deserved sooooo much better.
Sadie was played by Genevieve Buechner and I'd like to see more of her. Very impressive, as was her character who interned with a political action coalition, got hired to work as a coordinator for a non-profit after she graduates from UCLA, then plans to go to law school, clerk for a judge and run for office. That woman is going to do Big Things. But Rick...
As Sadie says to Rick with refreshing honesty: "you don't have the best track record for taking charge of your future. ... If you're not happy with your life, you need to take responsibility for what's wrong. Change what you can and work on the rest."
Those are great words of wisdom and advice for a young woman who's going places. Hallmark is dedicated to the fantasy that "love conquers all" but the reality is that those two are going to live very different lives. Apart.
Barbara Niven deserves some sort of Hallmark lifetime achievement award. She is always really good and looks great for 69. Heck she looks like she's in her early 50s. She's a rock in whatever she's in.
Blake's Vermont family fooled me. After the parents' reaction to the poinsettia plant, well, they fooled me.
As for Blake, he's in the lead for Best Boyfriend of this Christmas season. He sets the bar pretty high for being supportive. And that gift? Wow. Thoughtful seems too weak a word.
Christmas at the Golden Dragon
Comedy / Drama
Christmas at the Golden Dragon
Comedy / Drama
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It is the busiest season for the Golden Dragon, a Chinese restaurant long owned and operated by first generation immigrants Jim and Sue Chen in Wichita KS, namely the Christmas season, it one of the few restaurants open on Christmas day when "Christmas misfits" frequent the establishment, including many of their regulars. It's the first Christmas for Jane since her husband's unexpected passing from a heart attack, he the basketball coach at the University of Wichita. While Jane is having a hard time moving on without him, she laments that her daughter Veronica, a high powered CFO at a tech company, seems to have easily put him in her past, she fixated on her father often not having been there for the family in favor of his high profile career. Veronica will have to move on herself from what she will learn is just the latest of many failures of expensive IVF treatments in the goal to have a family of her own as a single. Veronica's work colleague, engineer Nate, is determined to make it a merry Christmas for his two adolescent daughters, Jessa and Vivi, in light of the recent divorce from their mother, he perhaps trying a little too hard especially for Jessa's taste. The restaurant being open on Christmas also means a working day for Jim and Sue's staff, including their now two young adult offspring Romy and Rick, who have never had what most would consider a traditional Christmas. Their busboy/delivery boy, Miguel, a second generation Mexican-American, has received early acceptance into many of the nation's most prestigious colleges, he not having told his father Luis in not being able to afford such unless he gets a scholarship, which may be difficult as he doesn't have the perfect resume in lack of community service, despite he going out of his way to help his neighbors whenever they are in need. Rick, who generally waits tables, has failed out of college, he not having told Jim and Sue that he has found his passion, namely to be a chef, something that Jim and Sue probably would not have wanted for either of their children in they themselves only opening the restaurant as a means to support the family. Rick is facing another issue in the return home for the season of his Jewish "friend" Sadie from Los Angeles, she who he's always had feelings for but who has never really forgiven him for standing her up at her high school prom in his own feelings of lack of self-worth. And Jim and Sue have given Romy, an account executive at a New York furnishing company, permission to forgo working at the restaurant this Christmas season in favor of her spending the holidays with her boyfriend Blake and his family in Vermont, what she is expecting to be a traditional winter Christmas as idealized in all her favorite Christmas movies. Jim and Sue have given her that permission in light of their announcement: that they have sold the restaurant property and will be closing the Golden Dragon for good, their last day being Christmas Eve allowing their staff to be able to spend Christmas as Christmas this year for the first time. This announcement, which also funnels its way to Romy in Vermont, will have a profound effect on the family, the staff and the Christmas regulars in light of their current issues.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
November 23, 2022 at 10:36 PM