Friday, November 26, 2021

A Castle for Christmas: Movie Review




Stripped of all humour, charm and common-sense.
Netflix original romances and Christmas movies don't have a good rap in the first place, but A Castle for Christmas is quite possibly the worst one yet. It's illogical, unromantic, not funny and boring. Famous author Sophie Brown (Brooke Shields) travels to Scotland on a whim, buys a castle on a whim, and falls in love, also on a whim since there's really no logic employed here.   2021

Directed by: Mary Lambert

Screenplay by: Kim Breyer-Johnson, Ally Carter, and Neal H. Dobrofsky

Starring: Brooke Shields, Cary Elwes

The opening scene harkens back to Hope Floats, but instead of it being a funny way to deliver bad news to a sympathetic character, it is just immensely unlikable. Sophie is appearing on the Drew Barrymore talk show after her latest book is released, discovers fans and Drew hate it, so she throws a hissy fit on national television. There is obviously no requirement that says lead characters have to be likable, but romantic comedies work a lot better if they are. Sophie is just awful from her arrogance to her complete lack of self-awareness, and not helped by Brooke Shields going big and brassy and over-playing the few emotional notes.

Sophie runs away to Scotland, and very quickly, almost out of nowhere, buys a castle. Is it supposed to be funny? Maybe, but I don't think it is. It's just very boring and illogical.

Of course the castle comes with a man - the Duke of Dunbar (Cary Elwes), and they are forced to live together despite hating each other. Everybody knows where this is headed. I have forgiven a lot of predictability in rom-coms because they can still be funny and charming and entertaining, but none of that is here. It's a boring, predictable rom-com stripped of all humour and charm.

Even the Scotland setting can't save this. In the past, Netflix romances have travelled to New Zealand for Falling Inn Love, Australia for This Little Love of Mine and Mauritius for Resort to Love, all of which are helped significantly by the beautiful locales they showcased. Although I haven't been I don't think the problem is Scotland, the film somehow has no gorgeous cinematography. I didn't even fall in love with the castle, but it was just filled with logical fallacies anyways. They heat the first floor of the castle, but not the upper floors, and apparently when you climb one flight of stairs it goes from comfortable to freezing cold. As if physics just stops working and heat no longer rises. Then they went off to find a Christmas tree, so they jumped on two horses and rode into the forest with a saw and brought back a very, very large and full Spruce tree. We didn't see the trip back because two incompetent people with non-draft horses without ropes or a pull system isn't going to transport a tree.

A Castle for Christmas is as-advertised, but it's the worst, laziest product they could have put out there. The leads do not have any chemistry, their story isn't romantic, and it's also not entertaining. It's a rom-com that lacks all charm and common sense. Anything else is better.