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Wednesday, December 13, 2023

A Christmas Vintage 2023 * * 1/2 Stars


Ohio native Lexi Giovagnoli directs A Christmas Vintage. And oh yeah, she has shot a couple of other Yuletide flicks as well (A Merry Single Christmas, Christmas Lovers Anonymous). With "Vintage", Giovagnoli puts Christmastime more in the background and less in the forefront. I mean you do see some of those ugly sweaters, you do see a few holiday decorations for set design, and yup, there is a tree lighting, ceremony scene near the hour mark. But hey, it's mostly about the wine here (hence the title).

A Christmas Vintage, well it's like watching Sideways or Bottle Shock or any other vehicle about that almighty fermented juice. You just have to eliminate the adulterous shenanigans and tomfoolery from the equation. Everyone is an expert, everyone speaks of their "Cab" in a slightly snobbery tone, and everyone gets excited when free berries are awarded to their property (that's wine speak folks). Look for "Vintage's" shooting location (Hermann, Missouri) to substitute for Holy Grail country in Napa. "Wine is wine". Uh, not quite there big guy.

Starring Karlee Eldridge, Ignacyo Matynia, and Corbin Timbrook, A Christmas Vintage presents a couple of questions to the viewer looking to cozy up to the tube with their favorite glass of Pinot Noir. So OK, why is the male lead such a moody SOB (this seems to happen a lot in these Hallmark-style movies)? Why is the female lead so compulsively easy on the eyes (hubba hubba)? And um, why is it so awkward when you think that they might actually get together? Ah yes, the plot requires them to, predictably and with that pseudo smooch attached at the end.

Bottom line: "Vintage" has a great look with darkly-lit hues and earthy, winter tones. It's also decently acted and works rather finely as a family drama about letting a daughter be free to be the winemaker that she knew she could be. As a romantic comedy however, it feels a little strained, like the pounds of grapes it done used up. Mixed "epoch".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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