film reel image

film reel image

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Christmas in Scotland 2023 * * * Stars


"Christmas is a time to be with those you love". Hear hear! Me just loves the holidays.

Anyhow, 2023's Christmas in Scotland is a deepened spectacle as opposed to some lovey-dovey, Christmassy helping where the leads make googly eyes at each other and the best buds chime in to give bad, impassioned advice. True story: I initially thought "Scotland" was a Hallmark flick, I did. I mean look at the poster (pan right) and get a whiff of the plot (girl goes to a faraway place to fall in love and resurrect the day of festivities spirit via a small Scottish burgh). Bully for that. Christmas in Scotland swaps the saccharine sweet for the savory and yes, it's all the better for it. "Well what are you waiting around for, you have work to do". Yes sir!

Admittedly, "Scotland" is not a perfect vehicle for those binge watchers looking to kick those Yuletide blues. I mean the male romantic interest (Dominic Watters as Alex Glenrothie) is creepily troubled and moody whereas the female interest (Jill Winternitz as Emma McKenzie) is warm, laid back, and appealing. Basically they make an off-center, forced pairing. And uh, don't go into Christmas in Scotland looking to see some postcard, ornate tinsel fest because you ain't getting it. Like the Scottish foods of neeps and tatties, it ain't all that.

What Christmas in Scotland does provide is a slow burn drama with shards of lightheartedness and shards of conflict begetting conflict. That's conflict over family history concerning an affluent heir, conflict over not moving on from relative demise and celebrating Noel, and conflict over turning a Scottish town into Leavenworth, Washington (google it and you'll see what I mean). The film along with being exactly locale-d (it was actually shot in the Kingdom itself), packs a small, emotional wallop. Merrily Christmas "carded".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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