2019’s A Very British Christmas tells the story of Jessica (Rachel Shenton), a world-famous singer who misses her flight to Vienna and somehow ends up stuck in a small country village in England. Now, to be honest, I’m not really sure how Jessica missed her flight or why she ended up in that village. I probably missed some important dialogue in the beginning to explain the problem with the flight and arriving in the village had something to do with getting too relaxed on a train. But, to be honest, in the grand scheme of the film’s overall story, it really doesn’t matter why she’s in the village or why she missed her plane.
Instead, what’s important is that it’s nearly Christmas and Jessica needs a place to stay. Fortunately, the local B&B is owned by a handsome widower named Andrew (Mark Killeen). Andrew lives with his adorable daughter and his caring mother. He’s not only a perfect host but he’s also an aspiring artist and he’s also the one man in the village who can hopefully convince the rest of the landowners not to sell out to a mining company….
Does all this sound familiar? This may be a very British Christmas but it’s also a very Hallmark-y Christmas, even though this is not technically a Hallmark film. That said, it has everything that you would typically expect from a Hallmark Christmas film. Rachel and Andrew fall in love. They do Christmas stuff. They tour the countryside. Rachel has to decide whether to stay in the village or to leave so that she can continue with her career. You already know what’s going to happen.
I have to admit that I do wish that the film had been a bit more British. Nowadays, when I hear the term “Very British,” I assume that means that there will at least be a fierce debate over Brexit, a good deal of casual profanity, and a lot of football talk. Instead, this movie takes place in the type of British village that we Americans like to fantasize about, the place where all of the streets are cobblestone, all the citizens are friendly and earnest and everyone has mince pies for breakfast.
That said, it’s a sweet movie and, if you like this sort of thing, you should enjoy A Very British Christmas. The scenery is nice, the actors are all likable, and the Christmas cheer cannot be denied. One thing that I particularly appreciated about this film is that Rachel wasn’t presented as being someone who hated Christmas or who needed a man to show her how to embrace the holiday spirit. Instead, Rachel pretty much falls in love with both the village and the B&B as soon as she sees it. She’s not a snob or a cynic who needs be taught the importance of family and love. Instead, she’s a nice person who meets a bunch of other nice people in a nice village and they all have a nice holiday. You may have noticed that the key word here is “nice.” There’s no darkness to be found in A Very British Christmas. Andrew is a surprisingly cheerful widower and everything pretty much works out wonderfully for everyone. Yay!