If there’s any lesson to be learned from Lifetime (and, for that matter, Hallmark) Christmas movies, it’s that no one should leave their hometown.
Seriously, everything’s always better in your hometown. You might find success in the big city. You might own a nice car. You might find a huge apartment. You might even have a well-paying job. But you’ll never have what you had when you’re living in a small town with good, honest people, some of whom were related to you.
Admittedly, it’s easy for snarky critics like me to poke fun at this idea and the way that it shows up in every single Lifetime Christmas film. But you know what? These films have a point. Every Christmas, my sisters and I get together and we pretty much stay together until the new year. That’s our Christmas tradition and it’s one that I look forward to every year. I always know that no matter what’s going on in our own individual lives, we’re all going to be together with the holidays and everything is going to be right with the world.
That’s certainly what I was thinking about as I watched Hometown Christmas, a Lifetime film in which Noelle (Beverly Mitchell) returns to her hometown in Louisiana for the holidays. There’s not a lot of conflict to be found in Hometown Christmas, but that’s okay. This is a film in which the nicest people in the world gather in the nicest town in the world and proceed to have the nicest holiday in the world and that’s why the film works. Save the horror for Halloween. Save the conflict for …. well, whenever the next election is. This is a Christmas movie and Christmas movies should make you feel good and happy.
When your name is Noelle, it’s perhaps to be expected that your life is going to revolve around Christmas. That certainly seems to be the case with the character that Beverly Mitchell plays in this film. One of the nice things about Hometown Christmas is that it never suggests that Noelle had to return to her hometown because she was miserable outside of it. Instead, Noelle returns because she wants to return. To be specific, Noelle has returned to stage the live Nativity, a town tradition that was started by her late mother. Of course, as soon as Noelle returns home, she runs into her old high school boyfriend, Nick (Stephen Colletti). Nick was going to be a star baseball player but injuries put an end to that. Things are a little bit awkward between Nick and Noelle at first but it’s not long before they’re working on the Nativity and Nick is proving that he’s grown up a lot since he and Noelle last saw each other. It’s a sweet relationship.
(Actually, there’s more than just one love story that unfolds over the course of Hometown Christmas. While Nick and Noelle are getting reacquainted, Noelle’s father (Brian McNamara) is falling for Nick’s mother (Melissa Gilbert). Meanwhile, Noelle’s brother is newly engaged.)
It was a pleasant Christmas love story and I enjoyed it. Hometown Christmas is full of the holiday spirit, as any hometown Christmas should be.