This is the 5th Hallmark movie I have seen of the 2020 Christmas movie season. Hands down, the best movie thus far. Nikki Deloach was excellent; she has always performed great in Hallmark movies. Benjamin Ayres was pretty good too. And the supporting cast was great. The storyline/plot was a bit outside the norm for Hallmark, which I really liked here: the focus was on a troubled marriage as opposed to two people meeting and falling in love. I think this worked well; it touched on some important issues in this regard. I love Hallmark movies because of their Christmas spirit and festive atmosphere. You will not be disappointed: this movie provides all of this. Overall, well worth the watch, especially if you are a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies (as I am).
Action / Drama / Romance
Action / Drama / Romance
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Married Dawn and Gabe Powell founded, own and operate Cranberry Lane, the brand all things Christmas from products to services to ideas. It was borne out of Gabe being a third generation cranberry farmer - Cranberry Lane Farms - in Bristol, Maine. However the business has taken its toll on their marriage with Dawn constantly on the road focusing on expanding the brand, while Gabe remains in Bristol focusing on the farm. They have only told their family - his parents, her sister and grandmother - that they are contemplating breaking up. In their confusion over how to split what was always their joint Christmas responsibilities in Bristol, they both assumed that the other was too busy to organize this year's annual Christmas Cranberry Festival, which they started ten years ago, and thus were prepared to organize it on their own, which they instead decide to organize together. The Festival and their time together gets more complicated when Pamela Franks, a Renaissance woman who owns her own media empire, including hosting a lifestyle show on her own network, and who met Dawn on a recent segment on her show, wants to shoot some segments of the Festival for the show, those segments to focus on the happily married duo behind Cranberry Lane. They ultimately agree if only for the good of exposing the Festival to a national audience and the business it would bring to town holistically. As they pretend to be that happily married couple for the cameras and for Pamela, Dawn and Gabe may rediscover what brought them together in the first place. However, it may also expose the problem that led to their potential split in their individual lives seemingly headed in two different directions.
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The best one thus far this 2020 season by Hallmark
Nobody should watch Hallmark films with massively high expectations, their Christmas output particularly. If a Hallmark fan or wanting to see as many Christmas films as possible, expectations would understandably be higher. They are very formulaic with most of them being more of the same narratively and structurally, apart from sporadic attempts at changes of pace. There are a fair share of them though that are surprisingly above average and even good amidst the many average and less ones.
The 2020 output from Hallmark did vary in quality but was not near as bad or wildly uneven as it could have been. None of the films from the batch were really terrible, and a small handful of them were actually very good. Along with 'Five Star Christmas', 'Cranberry Christmas' is one of the very good ones and benefits from trying to do something outside the norm and the presence of the reliable Niki Deloach in the female lead role. 'Cranberry Christmas' is a fine example of why Hallmark's Christmas output or even Hallmark in general should not be immediately scorned at.
It drags a little early on where the film takes a little time to get going.
Did think too that the grandmother could have been written and played with more subtlety as she did jar slightly with everything else.
'Cranberry Christmas' succeeds very well everywhere else though. It is visually pleasing and has a professional look. The appropriately festive locations especially. Enough of the soundtrack is nostalgic and pleasant enough. The direction is accomodating while not going through the motions. Nikki DeLoach and Benjamin Ayres don't overplay, any mannerisms not overdone, and neither do they hold back too much. Deloach especially is very good and the main reason to see the film. Their likeability shines through and their chemistry charms, personally actually thought it was there.
Moreover, the dialogue is tighter and less stilted than a lot of Hallmark Christmas films and the cheese and sentiment isn't as much. The story raises some important relevant issues in a tactful manner, making the film heartfelt at points, it also engaged me and was charming and heart-warming while not taking itself too seriously. Did appreciate too that there was more to usual. The characters may be well worn cliches, but they came over to me as likeable enough and any negative character traits didn't come over as over the top like can be the case in Hallmark Christmas films. Actually cared for these characters, not the case with a lot of recently seen Christmas films.
In conclusion, very well done and even very good. One of the best 2020 Hallmark Christmas films easily and one of the few highly recommended. 8/10.
The heart of this story is about a hardworking couple who were childhood sweethearts and have kind of let life get in the way of what really matters, each other. Together they own a cranberry bog/farm and a business called Cranberry Lane that specializes in all things Christmas. The two are brought together again to run the towns Christmas festival. The truth is these two really do love each other and have both been willing to make sacrifices for the other's happiness.
It was really nice to see a hallmark film about rekindling the romance in a marriage and talking about some of those difficult topics like career vs. family.
I for one enjoyed a more mature Hallmark offering.