Christmas at Graceland: Home for the Holidays (2019 Hallmark)
Cast: Kaitlin Doubleday, Adrian Grenier, Priscilla Presley, and Chase Bryant
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Synopsis (via Hallmark)
World-traveler Harper returns to Memphis for the holidays and nannies for wealthy widower Owen while awaiting news about a job overseas. As they grow close, Harper encourages Owen to break out of his routine and spend more time with his children, while Owen encourages Harper to have confidence. Harper and Owen prepare for a joint event at Graceland featuring a fundraiser for Owen’s company and an Elvis at Christmas exhibit Harper is producing. They develop feelings for each other; Harper realizes how much she enjoys living near family and must decide if her home for the holidays will be her forever home.
Harper is home for the holidays in Memphis. She is a museum curator and travels the world; she loves Budapest at Christmas. She is home not just to visit, but also to interview for a job at the museum. (The position is in London? I’m not sure why.) Her sister, Maggie, hosts her in her home, which has lots of wine. It is going to be pretty crowded because their parents are also staying with the sister.
Adrian Grenier is a medical equipment salesman (or something) who is raising three kids on his own. He schedules everything and even has “Relax” on his calendar. (His full-time babysitter left for the holidays.)
Harper brings her nieces to Graceland. The tour bus moves to reveals none other than Priscilla Presley and a tour guide named Regina; Mrs. Presley says, “Welcome to Graceland” in the most monotonous and unwelcoming way. Her face is frozen, and she looks terrifying. (I’m sure she is a nice lady, but this was very unnecessary.) Regina has a meeting with Adrian Grenier, and Harper (who used to do tours at Graceland.) takes his kids on a tour while they have their meeting. Regina suggests that while she is town Harper be Adrian Grenier’s temporary au pair.
When she is relegated to the couch because her sister’s house is so full, Harper decides to take Adrian Grenier up on his nanny offer. I hope this movie will now be a modern-day “Sound of Music.” It truly has that feeling with his wife passed away and a very regimented schedule. Harper isn’t into this level of planning but movies in any way. Then she decides to make clothing out of curtains. JK, she agrees to coordinate an Elvis at Christmas event at Graceland. (Because she isn’t busy enough during her vacation.)
On her first day with the kids, Harper bakes with them and makes a mess. Adrian Grenier comes home and is horrified to learn his kids didn’t do their chores. He asks her to keep on schedule so his kids can enjoy Christmas as he has planned. This conversation continues as they go shopping for a Christmas tree and then while decorating. Since the family is low on decorations, Harper encourages them to make their own and get creative. Then they sing an autotuned version of “O Christmas Tree” around the piano. (Julie Andrews would never.) Adrian Grenier finally comes around and thanks to her for going off-script.
Harper gives the family a music box advent calendar, and they creepily sing “Up on the Rooftop.” Harper tells Adrian Grenier that the kids want to spend time with him. That is the best gift of all. Then she schedules her second interview with the museum.
Harper and her sister take the kids sledding. “The fast you go, the safer it is!” the kids shout while careening down the slopes. Adrian Grenier leaves work early to join them, and he invites Harper to his holiday work party.
At the holiday party, at The Peabody, Harper and Adrian Grenier talk about past heartbreaks. Adrian Grenier notices that the party is very similar to the party his company is throwing and freaks out. Harper calms him down by joking about stealing the centerpieces. They go home after the party and decorate cookies and decide to marry their events into one big event. (A fundraising event at Graceland.)
Event prep montage happens while Elvis Christmas music plays.
Harper brings Adrian Grenier and his family to Graceland to help Priscilla Presley decorate her Christmas tree. Mrs. Presley shares memories of Elvis at Christmas time. Then they all put tinsel on the tree together. Adrian Grenier is very thankful for Harper arranging the special treat for his kids. He asks Harper to be his date at the event.
At the big event, the guest singer is running late, and Adrian Grenier has to do his fundraising speech first to stall. Harper gets offered the job while he is getting on stage. The speech happens, but it doesn’t stall long enough. The Von Trapp Family singers go on instead and sing “Edelweiss” or Harper and the kids go on stage and sing “There is no place home for the Holidays” until Chase Bryant shows up to sing. (“Blue Christmas” naturally.) Adrian Grenier raises the money he needs and tells Harper that she is incredible. Harper tells him that she got the job and has to leave after Christmas. He thanks her and is disappointed she will be going.
Harper talks to her sister and brother in law; they give her advice and confidence to follow her heart. I like the family dynamic between the sisters, and even the brother in law feels natural and positive.
Adrian Grenier finds Harper outside, and he tells her that he will make it work wherever she is. He doesn’t want to be without her. Harper doesn’t want to be without him and asks her new job to let her stay in Memphis. They kiss. Finally, they climb every mountain to escape the Nazis.
Minority Report: An extra at the airport and on the Graceland tour, Alison from the museum, an investor, some party goers.
Kaitlin Doubleday is perfect for Hallmark. I really enjoyed her.
Just an FYI. The racial makeup of Memphis was 63.33% African American, 29.39% White, 1.46% Asian American, 1.57% Native American, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.45% from other races, and 1.04% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.49% of the population.
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*Photo Credit: © 2019 Crown Media United States, LLC