Christmas at the Plaza (2019 Hallmark)
Cast: Ryan Paevey, Elizabeth Henstridge, Bruce Davison, Julia Duffy
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Synopsis (via Hallmark)
With Christmas approaching in New York City, Jessica, an archival historian enmeshed in a declining romantic relationship, is hired to create an exhibition honoring the history of Christmas at The Plaza Hotel. There, she meets Nick, a handsome decorator who’s been commissioned to deck out the iconic landmark. When they’re paired together to prepare the exhibition, they wind up enjoying a host of holiday traditions together and find themselves falling for each other. Tensions soon rise as Jessica must figure out her romantic priorities and decide with whom she’ll ultimately spend Christmas at The Plaza.
Jessica is starting a new job at The Plaza and is an archival historian. The Plaza is a fancy hotel and has lots of Christmas decorations. (That is what Jessica’s Ph.D. is in, Christmas trees.) She is on the phone with her boyfriend, Dennis, while annoyed and moving a ladder while a man is using it. She nearly kills him, but he is handsome and amused by her absent-mindedness. Jessica meets Amanda Clark, who is a total bitch and rude to Kenny. (The POC concierge.) Amanda takes Jessica to the basement and has her go through files with the hotel Christmas decorator, Nick. (The man with the ladder.)
Jessica and Nick don’t work well together. She prefers him not to be involved, and she will call him if she needs him, which she won’t because she has her processor boyfriend, Dennis, who invited her to meet his parents in Florida for Christmas. He is distracted and doesn’t listen to Jessica when she speaks.
After dropping some boxes and being bad at her job, Jessica decides to throw in the towel. On her way out, Nick gives her a Christmas decoration to say goodbye. For some reason, Jessica chooses to stay. She goes through old boxes in the basement and puts stickers on them; then, she pulls out tree toppers from every year. (They have historical value and artisanal craftsmanship!!!) Jessica recruits Nick and Reginald (the doorman) to help her.
Dennis shows up to take Jessica to his faculty dinner, and she tells him all about her project. The 1969 Christmas tree is missing a Christmas tree topper, and she needs to solve the mystery! (She even has a magnifying glass.) At the party, the other faculty belittle her study and are rude to her face. Dennis asks her not to bring up her project because it is not impressive. Jessica leaves the party and goes to The Plaza.
Nick gets a call from his old girlfriend, and she asks him to grab a drink with her. He seems like he doesn’t want to do that. He takes Jessica to dinner instead, to talk about work and the project. He gives her a pep talk since she is missing a year in her research. (Amanda Clark is NOT pleased.) He gives her a ride home and offers to work on remodeling her place she inherited from her parents
Nick and Jessica find one of the manufactures of the Christmas Ornaments. It turns out that Reginald used to make ornaments before he became the doorman. He refuses to help Jessica with replicating the decoration from 1969. (How did Amanda Clark not know this?) Nick invites Jessica out to dinner again, but she can’t because she has to go to dinner with her fop boyfriend. (Jessica thinks he is going to propose, but he asks her to quit her project to help him with his. She leaves the restaurant to be with Nick.)
Nick brings Jessica to his family’s house, and they all wear ugly Christmas sweaters. His mom is thrilled that he brought another girl who broke his heart named Alicia home. They then bake cookies and sing Christmas karaoke. Then they slow dance at The Plaza and talk about Christmas Eve plans. Jessica gets spooked and rushes out. (Reginald sees them and is inspired to finish the 1969 Christmas Tree Topper.)
Jessica breaks up with Dennis, and he is stunned but not upset at all.
The tree topper arrives for Jessica, and Reginald tells her that he quit because of love. He was going to marry a woman named Marie, but her parents didn’t approve of him, so he stopped. Reginald tells Jessica that he made the ornament because he doesn’t want Nick and her to give up on their love. Jessica goes to tell Nick the good news and sees him with Alicia. (His ex-girlfriend.) then she storms off before seeing Nick shut it down.
Jessica makes her presentation and draws a parallel through the decorations and Christmas memories. Her speech is vague and meandering. Amanda Clark congratulates Jessica on a job well done and offers her a permanent position.
Marie shows up and sees Reginald. They are reunited, and she loves the tree topper he made her. Nick and Jessica are also reunited, and Nick clears up the misunderstanding. He clarifies his feelings for her, and she tells him that she broke up with Dennis. Nick kisses her on the cheek and wishes her a Merry Christmas.
Jessica goes home and looks at the decoration that Nick gave her at the beginning of the movie. Nick secretly decorated Jessica’s house, and she rushes to find him. (Ditching Cassidy and her family who were taking her in for the holiday.) She finds him at The Plaza, and they dance. They plan their future Christmases and kiss.
Minority Report: Kenny, Cassidy, Desiree, rideshare driver.
I didn’t write about Cassidy because she is a textbook example of a POC serving as a sounding board for the white female lead. Can we give the character background other than a name and job, please!
This lead actress was saccharine sweet, and Ryan Pavey is bland, bland, bland.
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*Photo Credit: © 2019 Crown Media United States, LLC