Hallmark Summary: “After getting fired from her job as a maid at a ritzy New York City hotel, Allie reluctantly accepts a temp gig as the governess to a young girl who is part of a powerful family in Europe that lives in an actual castle. After arriving, Allie learns the girl is named Princess Theodora and her father is Maximillian, the King of Winshire. Staring Danica McKellar and Rupert Penry-Jones.”
My Reaction? Kudos to Hallmark for casting Rupert Penry-Jones as King Maximillian. I’ve admired (a.k.a. crushed on) Penry-Jones as an actor since I binge-watched “MI-5” on Netflix years ago. He takes this movie to the next level as a believable royal still healing from loss and coping with the pressures of being King of Winshire, yet another idyllic mythical monarchy in the Hallmark pantheon. Penry-Jones plays Max as straightlaced (but stealthily playful) without being stodgy or too wooden.
Enter Allie who brings her chirpy, salt-of-the-earth earnestness to one supremely stuffy castle. This is one of Danica McKellar’s best performances in her Hallmark repertoire. Together, she and Penry-Jones make a great onscreen team. I love how the writers give a nod to the fact that McKellar is a bestselling author of math books for kids and an internationally-recognized mathematician. Respect!
One of the reasons this is among my favorite Royal Meets Commoner movies is the fact that Allie is neither unaware of nor intimidated by the king’s status or his staff. Sure, there’s a bit of shock at first when the car pulls up to the castle, and Allie makes some gaffs with the protocol. (Who wouldn’t?) But her character is ultimately defined by her work ethic, her street smarts, and her good heart. She’s not running a con or endearingly awkward or both. (Looking at you, “A Christmas Prince.”) And her handmade gifts to everyone at the end? Pass me the box of tissue!
Added Bonus: Princess Theodora is appealing and crafty without being obnoxious or cutesy. I like how she was written and interpreted by Ellie Botterill.
Festival, Wedding, or Ball? Ball
Teachable Moment: How to learn fractions using homemade Christmas cookies.
My verdict? LOVED IT! One of my favorite Christmas movie traditions. Pairs well with gingerbread cookies and a proper cup of English tea.