Hallmark Summary: “Well-loved music duo Averie and Jesse, famous for their duet “Wouldn’t Be Christmas,” haven’t played together since they went their separate ways years ago. Averie gave up music and opened a beautiful lodge in a snowy Vermont town – while Jesse still tours, struggling to find the same kind of success they had as a duo. When fate brings them together over the holidays at Averie’s lodge just in time for the annual Yuletide Festival, can the magic of Christmas help reunite them once again? Starring Chaley Rose, Rome Flynn and Teryl Rothery.”
My Reaction? Like Averie & Jessie’s Christmas duet, this movie hits all the right notes. For me, the biggest appeal is the utterly charming lead actors. (Have you ever seen two more beautiful people? Seriously.) And their performances are just as appealing.
Chaley Rose is perfectly cast as the level-headed innkeeper faced with more challenges than Santa has elves. Whoever wrote this screenplay must have started each scene by asking, “What else could possibly go wrong?” Because it does. A hotel critic shows up unannounced. So does Averie’s ex-boyfriend. Her parents get stuck at the airport. Her chef/friend/business partner is WAY preggers. The festival runs out of funds. Half the choir gets sick. Not to mention the spice-tastrophe in the kitchen.
Rome Flynn is also ideal as Jessie who is struggling to find inspiration as a touring singer/songwriter. Like Averie, he’s calm, cool, and kind as he works through his own dilemma. My kind of Hallmark hero! And when Jessie agrees to sing the lullaby for the homemade mobile? ALL THE FEELS! Every time he smiles, I melt like snow on a sunshiny day.
The subplot with the super-picky hotel critic (played by Stargate fan-favorite Teryl Rothery) provided a nice degree of tension. Midway through the movie, I was ready to make Phyllis Selig a reservation at the nearest Econo Lodge on Averie’s behalf. But instead of letting Phyllis remain a caricature, the writers crafted a secondary story arc that results in a love connection. Nicely played, Hallmark.
Added Bonus: When Phyllis orders a sprightly (but not too sprightly) mint green tea that tastes like “tall grass on a summer’s evening.”
Festival, Wedding, or Ball? Festival
Teachable Moment: Averie offers a few botanical tidbits about the blue spruce tree (for which her inn is named)
My Verdict? LOVED IT! Pairs well with a build-your-own cup of cocoa and homemade blueberry pancakes.