The Holiday Calendar (2018) - Review

by - January 04, 2019

Synopsis: A talented photographer stuck in a dead-end job inherits an antique Advent calendar that may be predicting the future – and pointing her toward love.

We're all fairly aware that Hallmark wears the Christmas rom-com crown, but after the rom-com successes of Set It Up and To All the Boys I've Loved Before, it seems like Netflix is now attempting to corner the market on fluffy Christmas romances. I went into The Holiday Calendar with low expectations, simply because I'm not that big a fan of Hallmark's plethora of Christmas rom-coms and let's be real, the set up for The Holiday Calendar sounds as if the movie was headed for Hallmark and took a wrong turn onto Netflix's original programming schedule.

A struggling photographer who feels stuck in her dead-end job is given an antique holiday advent calendar from her grandfather. She quickly realizes that the calendar may be predicting the future and leading her to love. Now if you're going into The Holiday Calendar expecting a masterpiece of a film, this is not the movie for you. Is it as good as To All the Boys I've Loved Before? Absolutely not. Is it predictable and full of fluff? Absolutely it is. But it's also charming and mindlessly entertaining and unlike quite a few silly, Christmas romantic comedies, I didn't feel regret for watching it when the credits began to roll.

Kat Graham (Abby) is the force that carries this movie and keeps it from sinking into an eye-roll inducing surgary coma. She has a presence about her that leads me to believe she will have no trouble moving beyond The Vampire Diaries into a career with longevity. Abby has a decent, but mundane job taking family photographs, a ridiculously nice apartment (how she affords it on her meager salary is beyond me! but... romcoms tend to require you to forget most things based in reality), an adorable best friend, Josh (a delightful Quincy Brown), and a family who, despite perhaps not being as supportive of her career choices as they should be, are still loving and eager to help Abby find happiness.

Her 'gramps' (Ron Cephas Jones) gives her an antique advent calendar that once belonged to Abby's grandmother. Abby soon realizes that the small wooden toys inside the calendar are predicting her future, including her meet-cute with Ty Walker (Ethan Peck), a handsome single dad (and doctor to boot!), though you just know he's going to have a flaw or two. Abby seems to take it pretty well that her calendar is predicting her future, informing Josh that she's pretty sure her calendar is haunted, but making no steps to get rid of the creepy thing. I suppose if a haunted wooden house is giving you gifts and a sexy new boyfriend, it can't be that bad.

It's very quickly realized that Josh's feelings for Abby go far deeper than 'just friends', but rather than try to sabotage Abby's relationship, or make some grand gesture to try and win her over, Josh simply allows her to make her own decisions and supports her, as best friends should in these kinds of movies. Abby and Josh's natural, easygoing chemistry helps make The Holiday Calendar work as a romance, because it could have easily been solely focused on Abby realizing her dream as a photographer, despite her circumstances and the doubts from her family. You will see the ending coming from a mile away, but the journey is worth the 95 minutes it takes to get there if you're willing to accept this movie as the silly, cornball fluff that it is.

Starring: Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, Ethan Peck, Ron Cephas Jones
Directed by: Bradley Walsh
Watch It: Netflix
Rated: NR
Watched: 12.11.2018
Fun Facts:
- The movie Fernando is watching when talking to Abby on the phone is Christmas Inheritance, a Netflix Original Christmas movie released in 2017.
- Kat Graham's father is godfather to Quincy Jones' children, and Quincy Jones is godfather to Quincy Brown.
- Nick Hornby has a cameo in the museum scene.
Notable Song: Christmas Wish by Kat Graham and Quincy Brown

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