Must-See Movie Review: 'My Christmas Love' (2016)

If you believe that a strong friendship is at the core of an enduring romantic relationship, then “My Christmas Love” contains the love story for you. The road from platonic friendship to romance is not entirely easy for some to navigate. For this Hallmark movie, the journey proves to be an incredibly suspenseful and entertaining one.

“My Christmas Love” stars the ever-charming Meredith Hagner as Cynthia. She is an author who heads home for Christmas with her best friend, Liam (Bobby Campo). They are partners in work. He brings her words to life as the illustrator of her books. Waiting for Cynthia at home is her widowed dad, Tom (Gregory Harrison), and soon-to-be-married sister, Janet (Megan Park).

Not too long after Cynthia returns home, the house starts to anonymously receive the gifts from the “12 Days of Christmas.” Believing this is the elaborate work of a secret admirer, Cynthia begins trying to figure out who it is. In the process, she strikes up a romance with hometown flame, Scott (Aaron O’Connell).

The thing that “My Christmas Love” possesses that is rare is two loveable and worthy suitors. Scott and Liam are equal contenders. The movie does not make one guy less likable to have the audience root for a particular character. It is a strength, the triangle benefits from greatly.

Cynthia is also a vividly drawn character. She has a giant, quirky, and charming personality. It all makes her appeal super easy to understand. Hagner brings her to vibrant life with loads of whimsy and effortless charisma. 

Bobby Campo holds his own as Liam, providing the perfect counterbalance to Cynthia. He is calm and not a pushover. Campo makes Liam’s affection for Cynthia obvious, without overplaying it to the point it makes Cynthia look bad for not noticing.

Meredith Hagner and Bobby Campo share an enchanting chemistry. It is fun, friendly, and flirtatious, all of which makes for a dynamic screen relationship. They dial into the writing brilliantly.

Any Hallmark movie aficionado knows that two people will fall in love before the credits roll. “My Christmas Love” does not play that connection safe. It wants you to want it too. Leaving you to tortuously wonder if it will happen.

Cynthia is oblivious to Liam’s interest in exploring their relationship in a romantic sense. To Liam’s credit, he wants her to come to desire that on her own. Rooted in a deep and abiding friendship, it makes the eventual ending all the more fun to watch unravel. 

Let’s face it; a Hallmark movie ending is a lot easier to accept and imagine lasting when there is a friendship-based backstory. It is harder to believe two strangers would forge as everlasting a bond, as two friends who come to see each other in a new way whilst basking in the glow of Christmas lights.

The driving storyline that stirs “My Christmas Love” takes unexpected turns. There is a true air of mystery to the plot and a surprise ending that recontextualizes everything that comes before. Armed with an excellent cast of characters and beguiling love story, “My Christmas Love” is a gift to watch.

Rating: 9.5/10

[Featured Image by Hallmark Crown Media]