Reviewed by Adam Donato
A Castle for Christmas is the latest in the onslaught on Christmas content coming out on Netflix this holiday season. This one sports two stars who have seen better days: Cary Elwes and Brooke Shields. The film is directed by Mary Lambert whose most notable feature is 1989’s Pet Sematary. Does this Netflix movie have the star power to make it feel like any more than a dime a dozen Hallmark Christmas movie?
Shields plays Sophie Brown, a famous romance novelist who is being shredded by her fans for killing off the male romantic interest. She decides to get away from it all by taking a work trip out to Scotland so she can start writing her next project. After visiting a castle, she decides to buy it, but is confronted by the reluctant and stubborn Duke who is forced to sell his land. Now they’re stuck in the castle trying to outlast each other, but things get messy when they start to develop feelings for each other.
Wow, this is one of the most cliche Christmas romances there is. Start off with a forced meet cute where they awkwardly fall into each other’s arms. He’s a Christmas Grinch and she’s going to steal his heart with the magic of Christmas. It’s sappy and cheesy content that the target demographic has seen a million times. That being said, this is some single mom’s favorite movie of the year for sure. She grew up watching Blue Lagoon and crushing on Westley from The Princess Bride. It’s the perfect movie for the type of movie casual whose standard for this movie is that it has romance and is about Christmas.
Speaking of moms, the movie starts off with an odd cameo from Drew Barrymore. Sophie Brown makes an appearance on Barrymore’s real life talk show promoting her latest book. Barrymore chastises Sophie for killing the male love interest. Sophie responds by asserting her power over these characters insisting that she could kill him in a variety of different ways. Credit where credit is due, this is so over the top that it’s decently funny. The rest of the movie does not have this kind of energy. The special effects are hopefully a symptom of the low budget, but nobody is watching this for the effects. The cliche third act conflict is completely ridiculous and is resolved in the most insignificant way possible.
There’s an audience for this movie, but it’s certainly not anybody who takes film seriously in any capacity. It’s perfectly serviceable for what it is and it does help that the leads are a couple has-beens instead of two no name actors. This story has been told a million times and it’s not even a good one. Steer clear of this Christmas dud.
A Castle for Christmas is now streaming on Netflix.