Perfectly pleasant and often boring.
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|Mystic Christmas is an occasionally cute but often just boring Christmas romance. Usually exes at Christmas leads to a lot of fun in movie world, but here it’s just very tame. Juniper (Jessy Schram) is a marine expert returning home to temporarily help out the local aquarium. Her ex is the very nice Sawyer (Chandler Massey). They are both just nice people leading nice lives and it’s all a little boring.||2023 |
Directed by: Marlo Hunter
Screenplay by: Nicole Drespel
Starring: Jessy Schram, Chandler Massey
I often have issues with the small towns in Hallmark movies because they are not realistic small towns at all. And, well, it’s a peculiar problem here. Mystic in the movie is filmed in and based on the real Mystic, Connecticut, but it looks and feels like a fake small town. This fake Mystic is a small town where everybody knows one another but nobody from outside of Mystic has heard of it. There’s one restaurant, one bakery, etc. and one aquarium. And by aquarium, I mean a very significant aquarium complete with pools for seals and long hallway walls which are gigantic aquariums where the general public can walk through all the sea life on either side. Since this really is the Mystic Aquarium, apparently a small town can support an aquarium of this size typically reserved for large cities, but you’d have a hard time guessing that this could even be real based on how it’s presented in the film.
Sawyer and Juniper are exes from high school. Sawyer stayed because he likes the nice small town. Juniper left since she was on her way to become a marine biologist with larger ambitions. They lost touch. Everybody’s wary of them getting back together because Juniper is leaving again, but they naturally find their way to one another since they’re both nice people in a nice small town. And Juniper starts realizing maybe she wants to stay.
Mystic Christmas presents a real small town as unrealistically as possible, which is such a weird choice, and then fills it with a lot of nice, unremarkable characters. This is the very definition of a middle-of-the-road Hallmark movie. It’s perfectly pleasant but it never really sets itself apart despite the fact that it’s literally filmed at a real aquarium.