Saturday, November 25, 2023

Christmas in Notting Hill: Movie Review

An adorably cute romantic pairing.

This is what a cute Christmas rom-com looks like. Georgia (Sarah Ramos) is visiting her sister Lizzie in London and meets cute stranger, Graham (William Moseley); but there’s a few things she doesn’t know about him: that he’s a famous professional footballer and that he’s the brother of her sister’s boyfriend. He also doesn’t know her connection. So when he accidentally tells her that his brother’s proposing this Christmas, she doesn’t know the significance.   2023

Directed by: Ali Liebert

Screenplay by: Alex Yonks

Starring: Sarah Ramos, William Moseley

Double the secrets and double the romance actually does lead to double the fun. The common secondary storylines in Hallmark movies (they’re both at a career crisis and getting over the death of a parent) get to remain secondary storylines since the romance is sufficiently stretched out as well as their secret connection.

Graham tries to keep up the ruse that he’s no one famous for as long as possible, but eventually she can’t help but comment how weird people act when they talk to him, and why on Earth is there a person following them taking pictures? She’s a little weirded out that he’s a celebrity and lied to her, but when he points out that she’s the first person who has treated him like a normal human being and would have a real conversation with him, you can see her heart melt, probably because the audience’s heart has melted at the same time.

The film then keeps up that they actually know each other but don’t know each other secret for as long as possible. One missed lunch here, a different last name there, but when they finally get introduced to each other, the awkwardness is erased in an instant because both characters recognize the significance of the secret engagement and they’re so happy knowing that they’ll be able to spend the rest of the holidays together. This is puppy love at its cutest. Georgia and Graham have real conversations about their lives, their careers, their futures, their fears – this is a genuine romantic connection, not just a “well the movie says they have to be together, therefore they’re together”. Ramos and Moseley have great chemistry.

Scenes when Georgia and Graham are separated are never as good as when they’re together. Luckily the film also pairs them up when it’s time to orchestrate the surprise proposal. Georgia’s relationship with her sister Lizzie and Graham’s relationship with his brother Henry are both reasonably well portrayed, so using the siblings for the final relationship reveal works well. This is an adorably cute romance that follows the Hallmark script but also adding in its own heart and warmth without over-doing the Christmas cheer.

P.S. Christmas in Notting Hill and the similarly themed Checkin’ It Twice are my two favourites thus far in Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas features.

Want a different Christmas movie or just more holiday-themed movies? Holiday Movies