Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas (2020)

Hallmark Summary: “Five guests are mysteriously invited to an inn to celebrate Christmas. With the help of the owner Ben, Sarah discovers that an event from the past may connect them and change their lives forever. Starring Lacey Chabert, Stephen Huszar.”

My Reaction? A heartwarming portrayal of love and loss sprinkled with the right amount of mystery. Everything about this movie clicked for me – the story, the pacing, and the community of characters drawn together by mysterious invitations to the Snow Fall Inn. The question of who sent the invites and why is intricate enough to keep the larger plot question moving forward and create connections through the various characters.

Most everyone in “Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas” is recovering from some degree of loss, but the movie sustains a hopeful tone while acknowledging each character’s source of grief. As with all my favorite Hallmark films, there are multiple subplots woven together with the attention they deserve. I particularly loved the father-daughter storyline.

At the helm once again is the incomparable Lacey Chabert who also appears in “Christmas Waltz” in Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas 2020 repertoire. In “Time for Us to Come Home for Christmas,” Chabert plays the grieving yet gracious Sarah. The tone of this movie is reserved and gentle, and Chabert has the seasoned skills to convey those layers of emotions.

Stephen Huszar brings emotional depth to the role of Ben, the determined owner who acquired the Snow Fall Inn rather impulsively after a major life curveball. Business isn’t booming at the Snow Fall, however, adding a SAVE THE INN subplot to ramp up the non-mystery tension. I watched this movie with my 80-year-old mother, and she could not stop commenting on how cute Huszar is. I guess you’re never too old to look!

This may be a mystery, but it’s a Christmastime mystery, and if you want a heaping helping of the Hallmark Christmas Movie Tropes, you got ’em! Decorating ornaments, visiting a tree farm, drinking hot chocolate, attending a tree-lighting ceremony, decorating a Christmas tree, decorating gingerbread cookies, dancing at a Christmas party…. This film teems with Christmasy moments, but none of them feel forced or cheesy or OTT. The tropes enhance the larger story like whipped cream enhances pumpkin pie, pleasant and welcome but never overwhelming.

The real Christmas miracle of 2020 is how Hallmark and its gang of writers, actors, producers, crew members, etc. were able to turn out so many new holiday movies in the middle of a pandemic.

Teachable Moment: When Ben advises Sarah to READ “A Christmas Carol” instead of just watching the movie adaptations. Agree to agree! It’s a short book and well worth reading, even just once. Love those Muppets, but they’re not quite the same.

Festival, Wedding, or Ball? Christmas party with dancing, so…ball.

My Verdict? LIKED IT A LOT! Pairs well with a hearty winter stew and Cabernet Sauvignon.