This year, A Castle For Christmas is one of the big Christmas offerings from Netflix, an answer to the Hallmarks and Lifetimes of the world by throwing a huge budget and casting big names in the lead roles. The factory productions these holiday films have become are laughable, yet people lap them up in droves. So, when one sees Castle, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is just going to be a cookie-cutter holiday romance. That is where you would be wrong, as this sweet and charming film slowly, and I do mean slowly, wins you over.
A Castle For Christmas Is A Fun Little Movie
When famed author Sophie Brown (Brooke Shields) blows up on her friends on national television over decisions she made in her latest novel, she retreats to Scotland and decides to buy a castle. The owner, Duke Miles (Cary Elwes), does not want to sell, especially to a foreigner, but decides to take her deposit and attempts to drive her away so that he can keep the lights on. However, little do they realize that as she spends more and more time there, their relationship takes a turn that neither of them was expecting for the holidays.
A Castle For Christmas is an actual film; let’s get that squared away right now. This is not one of those cookie-cutter, low-cost, cheap-looking holiday films, this is a film with a real budget, and it is apparent pretty much right out the gate — nice cameo at the beginning too. The set-up is groan-inducing, but the film comes to life once we get over to Scotland and Elwes joins the fray. He is great here, and as he and Shields grow on each other, their chemistry gets better. It takes a good long time, but when it happens, the film really takes off, which is good, because there are also some problems. The ensemble is enjoyable, if unmemorable. None of them make an impression, and that really makes the film feel like it is dragging for the first half, and our couple is still learning to love each other. There is even a moment where a traveling couple is introduced and clearly given a villain’s entrance, only to disappear and never show up again. It is pretty bad, and the editing here is all over the place.
But Elwes and Shields really end up going for it in this one, and it ends up working. This is the kind of movie that is not made much anymore for theaters, just a solid adult story about two people who are a little older falling in love. There is a sweetness in A Castle For Christmas that really ends up winning you over, and by the end of the film, you would want to move to this little area of Scotland yourself. In a sea of Christmas romance films, seek this one out and give it a watch.
A Castle For Christmas is available to stream on Netflix Friday, November 26th.
A Castle For Christmas
Review by Jeremy Konrad
A Castle For Christmas is far from a cookie-cutter holiday film, featuring great performances from Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes.