I love when Hallmark movie titles straight up tell you what you’re going to get in the movie – really helps take the guesswork out and lets me focus on the other important things happening, like counting the number of blondes on screen or appreciating the Pottery Barn furniture in every single room. And “Tis The Season for Love” is just about as straightforward as Hallmark can get – it’s Christmas, someone’s gonna fall in love. BUCKLE UP.
We open in New York City, so I knew we were in for a fun ride of self-discovery. See, in probably 94% of all Hallmark movies, anyone living in the city is NOT happy. They’re either overworked, stressed out businesswomen or barely-getting-by failures, and our main character, Beth, is the latter! She’s a struggling actress who can’t seem to catch a break and is sleeping on her rich best friend’s sectional couch. I mention that this is a sectional couch so that you can better appreciate how obnoxiously big this apartment is. The best friend Nicole is a successful actress, successful enough to afford an apartment with a sprawling living room big enough for a sectional couch, but not a good enough best friend to give Beth a proper bedroom, or heck, a cot, with all that money. So Beth is all down on herself, even reflecting on how she was voted “Destined for Greatness” in high school (not a real superlative) and she hasn’t done anything with life yet!
Beth is up for a play and she’s waiting to hear back if she got the part, but in the meantime, she has no shifts at the diner she works at or any rehearsals for any shows, so her rich best friend Nicole buys her a ticket home to Kern (no idea where that is) for Christmas. I guess I shouldn’t rag on Nicole – that’s actually nice, but still, let Beth have a damn bed.
Beth surprises her mom at home (in the undisclosed location of Kern). Of course, the home is basically a model home, though I’m not sure how the mom can afford that house all by herself as a baker. I should mention that there is no dad – I’ll let you place your bets now; Jail? Divorced? Dead? We’ll see. While home chatting with her mom, we learn that Beth had a high school boyfriend, Barry, and they had ~an emotional break-up~ because Beth went to the city to act and Barry decided to stay home.
Now that Beth is home for Christmas, her mom and her go to the local Christmas tree shop. While picking out a tree, they see Santa, and Santa is ALL about Christmas wishes. While mom stops to tell Santa about her Christmas wishes, Beth wanders off and bumps into ex-boyfriend Barry! OH NO! He’s carrying a tree with another man, Dean, who is tall and wearing a scarf and I definitely take note of this because there are no unnecessary cute men in Hallmark movies. Running up to Barry is his wife Eileen with their daughter. Beth, Barry, Eileen, and Dean all went to high school together and it’s so exciting to see each other, wow. Beth had ZERO idea that Barry and Eileen got together, so she’s feeling a bit awkward, which is very obvious. Then for some reason, superlatives are brought up again (I guess that’s the only thing really going on in this random suburb) and we learn that Barry was voted most athletic (he looks average athletic, like calm down Barry) and Dean and Belinda (she’s not around) had been voted most likely to get married (also not a superlative). Turns out Dean and Belinda DID get married, but then got divorced because Belinda “changed” (that’s Hallmark speak for Belinda became a bitch). This wraps up, Beth is feeling down that everyone’s life at home is going great and her NYC life sucks, so she goes to Santa and wishes that she gets the part in the play on Broadway. Santa tries to be all deep and says “What we don’t wish for is more important than what we do.”
Beth, Dean, Barry, and Eileen meet up for drinks at the local pub and ask Beth about her wonderful New York City life. Beth fake smiles and says it’s great, but Dean’s concerned eyebrows tell us that he picks up that not everything is great in the city. They shoot some pool, have some drinks, and then there’s a moment between Beth and Barry where they talk about how their lives went different ways and there are no hard feelings. PHEW. That’s good. Now she can start getting the hots for Dean – we were promised love in the title for God’s sake!!! Quick career updates: Barry is a pharmacist (snooze), Eileen runs the local paper (snooze), and Dean is a firefighter (WHISTLES). So yeah, they’re really setting Dean up for us.
Dean and Beth walk home together after the bar, and the chemistry becomes apparent. BUT THEN Beth gets a phone call from her agent – she didn’t get the part AND he’s dropping her as a client, double whammy. She’s bummed and decides to go yell at Santa. Beth and Santa talk about whether or not Beth leaving home to go to NYC was the right decision in the first place, and how she thinks she made a mistake with her life. Santa gives her a magic key necklace (MAJOR POINTS FOR RANDOM CHRISTMAS MAGIC!!!) that will help her find all the answers she’s looking for.
Dean randomly comes over and they make cookies. Beth is so happy and “feels like herself” when she’s home. So Dean naturally says “then you should stay home” which, sure, is sweet and flirty, but is also the only logical answer to her statement.
That night, Beth has a dream (because of the magic key?) where she sees an alternate life for herself and she has twin boys and a house full of all-white linen but she wakes up before she can learn who her husband is.
The next day, Dean asks Beth if she’ll help him run the Christmas Festival, you know, since she’s all about drama and theater, and she says yes. I guess she must be in town for a solid two weeks+ because she’s getting like legit chores now. She goes to the first festival meeting and the local the principal offers her a job here at home as the drama teacher even though he’s never seen her teach. The meeting gets underway and it’s boring – so boring that Dean and Beth sneak out to go get food and eat in the FIRE TRUCK. Like, at this point, they MUST know they’re flirting, right? You don’t eat messy food in a municipal vehicle if love isn’t involved. They have some deep talks while shoving food into their mouths in a tax-payer funded truck about how Beth went to the city to find greatness, but maybe she can find greatness doing something else besides acting on Broadway. Dean tells her not to give up her dream but that she should think about if the payoff is worth the effort.
THEN Dean does the ultimate flirt move – he tells Beth that he always thought that Beth and Barry weren’t right together and that he had a crush on her back in high school – DRAMA!!! Then he tells her how great she is and that he wishes she could see herself the way he sees her. Smooth, Dean!
Beth has another dream. In this one, we get the development that in this alternate life, she’s also the drama teacher, but still no progress on the husband’s face. Cool. Let’s move on.
Planning for the Christmas festival has begun and Beth is killing it and Dean is holding it down. All the kids love Beth, the stage looks great, etc etc. Dean even says “we make a great team” and honestly I love it because Dean is doing a great job making those flirt moves. Dean then legit invites himself over to Beth’s house to help her and her mom put up lights like the dream man he aspires to be.
We finally learn more about Beth’s dad…drum roll…HE’S OBVIOUSLY DEAD!!! If it’s a Hallmark movie, there’s NO WAY the dad is out of the picture for something other than death. Jail and affairs only happen on Lifetime. Yes, Dean is divorced, but that’s not his fault because Belinda became a bitch, remember?? The dead dad is important because Beth and her mom talk about how the dad would take Beth ice skating around Christmas, so that night, after the lights are hung up, Dean takes Beth ice skating at the local rink that he somehow got decorated in 4 minutes (he called in a favor, he says, but I’m still suspicious…).
Ok so FINALLY they are skating and holding hands and outright flirting. Beth is straight up like “Belinda was stupid to let you go” – uh yeah, Beth, because Belinda is a stupid bitch! She continues, saying that Dean is the most selfless and caring man she’s ever known. Then – this is the part that made me actually laugh out loud – Dean says, “Where is this all coming from?” UH, I don’t know, Dean, maybe it’s coming from THE COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF FLIRTING HAPPENING BETWEEN YOU TWO FOR THE PAST 1.2 WEEKS? Anyway, they finally kiss and it’s great.
That night, Beth has another dream, and she finally sees the husband’s face – surprise, it’s Dean! One kiss in and we’re ready to get it on lock. Beth goes back to Santa with the key necklace to return it since the magic has shown her her future and she’s good, and Santa reveals that it wasn’t a magic key – just a nice necklace he found! I guess this is supposed to mean that she has figured out for herself what she wants? A bit unnecessary for the plot, but definitely necessary for the signature Christmas magic.
Dean tells Barry that he and Beth kissed, Barry is all for it but warns Dean that Beth may leave to go back to NYC, so he better be prepared for that. Dean realizes that Barry’s right, and talks to Beth, who tells him that she’s going to stay! A hunk, a job, her inexplicably financially comfortable mom, it’s all good!
But, since there really hasn’t been any conflict up until this point, Hallmark realized they needed to add in an actual problem, so Beth’s agent (who I thought dropped her???) calls and tells her that the understudy broke her leg and that Beth is replacing her and needs to be in New York City tomorrow to start rehearsals. Beth decides that she NEEDS to go to see if being on Broadway will actually make her happy. She tells Dean that, and he’s bummed – he doesn’t want a weekend girlfriend, he wants to get settled down IMMEDIATELY (reminder that they’ve kissed like twice and have been dating for maybe 4 days).
Beth goes back to NYC two days before Christmas and she’s already annoyed to be back in the huge apartment and back to sleeping on the couch. That night, she has another dream (on the couch) and she sees what would happen if she never went home for Christmas – basically her mom and Dean are sad and alone, we could have guessed that.
We flash back to the hometown and Dean is doing his best to continue the rehearsals for the festival, but he doesn’t have the same natural talent that Beth does. Beth, in the meantime, shows up for rehearsals on Broadway and it turns out that being an understudy sucks and she has to just sit there and watch the whole time to learn the part – not exactly thrilling stuff – so she decides to leave and go home, pretty quick decision.
She flies back home and learns that in the one to two days she was gone, the entire festival got canceled because some sprinklers went off. Beth decides to make a huge gesture and put the festival back on, just instead having it outdoors. While running around to get everything set, she bumps into Dean who DIDN’T KNOW SHE WAS BACK HOME. It’s been TWO days – she could probably still have called him and things would be great – but she says she’s back, she’ll explain later, and she has to finish planning.
Through a sappy blurb in the newspaper that tells all the townsfolk, especially Dean, how great they are, Beth invites the entire town to the Christmas festival she managed to get off the ground on Christmas Eve. It’s a hit, everyone loves it. I guess Beth really should be the drama teacher.
Dean and Beth FINALLY talk – Beth explains what happened in New York City and how she realizes she can be great here, she’s taken the drama teacher job, and how she wants to be with him. Cue the snow, cue the romantic kiss. In the last few seconds, we see Beth and Dean in bed a few years later waking up in the same white-linen home that Beth dreamed of and her two twin boys run in to wake them up for Christmas. See – she was seeing the future! Maybe the necklace was magical after all!
So there you have it – there was Christmas, there was love, just as the title promised, and even a little Christmas magic for good measure. A solid 7.