Thursday, January 7, 2016

Movie Review: A Royal Christmas (2014) with Lacey Chabert, Stephen Hagan, and Jane Seymour

I've so been looking forward to reviewing this! For... what seems like months. :) 

(And warning, this may be a little more rambly of a review than ordinary. Also shorter. Part of which is owing to the fact that it's a pretty straightforward story and the spoilers are all pretty good ones, which I'm determined not to spill, so... you'll just have to take my word for certain things. The sweetness factor, for instance. ;))

First, since it's quite new and still rather unknown, I decided to opt for the risky route of sharing the official summary (since you could all look it up anyway) and this way I can give some provisos.

"The holidays get a royal sparkle in this charming romance starring Lacey Chabert and Stephen Hagan. Emily (Chabert) is a young seamstress in Philadelphia who is thrilled to be spending the holidays with her new business-school boyfriend, Leo (Hagan). But when Leo proposes and reveals he's actually a prince of Cordinia, Emily is suddenly whisked into a dreamlike world of pomp and ritual where she feels painfully "common." When Leo's regal mother, Isadora, invites one of Leo's former girlfriends to the palace's Christmas Eve Ball, Emily must summon all her courage to prove that she's the one who really belongs with Leo in this heartwarming story crowned with happiness and laughter."

I really consider that summary to be more than a little... well, yes. So. The provisos are that: #1, they had actually been dating for about a year (which, to me, isn't that 'new'), #2 he wasn't exactly proposing, and #3, she doesn't ever try to 'prove' herself in the sense of lowering herself to fight over him. She does prove herself most worthy, but not exactly in the way that's implied. 

Throughout, the directors make some rather neatly obvious bows to Certain Royalty, but honestly, I don't find it cliché. Or if it is, it's just altogether fun and I don't mind in the least.

At the center of the story, of course, is Emily and Leo's friendship/romance. One of the reasons their romance story is such a favorite of mine is the serious, everyday fun they have together -- the enjoyment in each other's company. There're all the little jokes and catchphrases; the little teasing moments where the other person actually gets it. I absolutely love that through and through.

And there are so many charming little moments in the film as whole... 

Watching Emily gamely sampling the delicacy of jellied eels, for instance.

(Incidentally, Jane Seymour does quite the job with the imperious and overbearing "stepmother" role.)

More sweetness...

Then after the ball, we get to the heartbreak and heart-achingness of the story.

This scene's amazing. 

I get teared up each and every time. 

It has all the elements of the classic Cinderella story: an 'ordinary' girl meeting her prince, the social divide and tension, a quite disagreeable rival figure + several nice 'sister' figures, servants fulfilling the role of a fairy godmother, and then Cinderella renouncing her prince and her prince coming in pursuit.

(As a note, Emily's best friend, Toni, is marvelous. And her father's hilarious.)

Now we're reaching the ending... And here I'm purposely going to become extremely vague and deliberately leave out sundry details and also numerous, delightfully splendid screencaps as I really, truly do have your best interests at heart and intend to do my level best to guard you against spoilers. ;)

But I will say this. It's adorably sweet. I mean, look... He's kneeling down in the middle of the snow covered street. 

(And the poor young man. He has to propose not once... not twice... but thrice!  :))

But he perseveres. And he does. And it's all most wonderfully happy and satisfying.

(And we get this beautiful, fairy tale-ish, wintery wedding... :))

Altogether -- from beginning to end -- this film is entirely sweet, charming, family friendly, and romantic. I love it!!!

Tell me! Have you seen this 'now-a-days' Cinderella?


  1. I have NEVER seen this but now feel I must! It looks possitivly adoriable!

  2. ADORABLE!!!! I SO have to see this movie now. ;)

    1. Faith P.,
      I hope you can see it sometime soon!! :)

  3. Very nice review, Heidi! I have never seen this movie, but you've definitely made me interested in seeing it. It sounds quite fun! :)

    1. Miss March,
      Thank you and oh, good! Mission accomplished then. ;)

  4. I must watch this. It is official. :-)

    Lovely review, Heidi--I really, really enjoyed it! Thanks so much!

    1. jessica,
      *grinning* Yes, you MUST. ;D And thank you!!

  5. I haven't seen this, but it looks adorable! Plus, Jane Seymour ;)

    1. Olivia,
      YES, INDEED!!! Methinks you'd really like it. ;D (And yes, Jane Seymour...)

  6. We've watched some many Hallmark royal Christmas movies. One of my sisters, rather sarcastically said, "I love how all these people in all these foreign countries speak with an English accent." That is mostly true for many fairytale retellings, not just these Hallmark movies.

    1. Livia,
      Hee. Yes, often true, but I love that part!! ;D And watching behind-the-scenes sometimes, it's amazing to me how they've often been able to train NOT always to have as strong of an accent while filming. It's amazing. Like in the 2015 Cinderella. (Where, of course, I wouldn't mind at all either way. But I already said that. ;))

  7. I watched this on you tube after I saw it on your list of Cinderella films and I REALLY liked it (despite it being rather...well, a typical Hallmark movie...meaning there are some cheesy, cliche parts. heehee But sometimes sweet, short movies like those are so fun to watch!)
    I even would have liked reviewing it myself, if I had more time. Oh well. :)

    But YES! I really, really, liked Leo (his accent...) (and ha! I too thought he looked much like Prince William...) and Emily's and his relationship was soo sweet. As you said, they have "serious, everyday fun" together and it's so refreshing seeing that in a movie. It's a picture of what "real life" relationships can look like in that it's not always glittery, swirling romantic occasions, but sometimes the simple fun of going someplace ordinary (like the grocery store) and enjoying it just because you love who you're with!

    I really liked the scene of him going "undercover". And then the girl immediately knows who he is. :D haha

    Ohh, the proposals. :')

    Thanks for reviewing this, Heidi!!

    1. Natalie,
      I'm sooo happy you were able to see it! And yes, that's all it E-X-A-C-T-L-Y. :D

      Heehee. *grinning* I love those scenes... so sweet and fun! And yes, his disguise, such an utter failure. ;)

      And ohh, you're so welcome, dear!! :)

  8. I really liked this movie a lot. :D Saw it last year. :) This year I watched one called A Princess for Christmas, which in some ways was very similar! It was also fun... I like A Royal Christmas better but since you liked it, you should check that one out too. :) (Also the prince in it is another cute guy with a cool accent who wears suits and combs his hair, I mean, what more do we want. :P)

    1. Melody,
      I'm so happy to hear you liked it and thrilled to get your comment! ;)

      And I've seen Princess for Christmas! Same here (i.e. I like Royal Christmas better), but one of my sisters reeeaally loves it. ;) I actually had a big discussion/debate with yet another sister before the party about whether or not it should go on the Official List. It definitely has some Cinderella elements, but I felt like -- with the children in it -- the focus/conflict was in a slightly different place, so in the end I decided to leave it off, with the provision that if someone wanted to do it they could. :D

      And haha. Very funny, indeed. ;P

  9. I'd never heard of this before you posted the picture in the Cinderella Week heads-up post. But I really like Jane Seymour, so I'll keep an eye out for it. It definitely looks charming!

    1. Hamlette,
      Yes! It's Hallmark (so, I mean, you know what you're getting ;)), but it's sooo super sweet and delightful and all around fun... I find it's perfect for some evening when your brain happens to be running on overcharge or something. :)


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