A Welcome Home Christmas (2020 Lifetime)
Cast: Jana Kramer, Brandon Quinn, Charlene Tilton, Tim Reid
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Chloe has always supported various military organizations, including the town’s Army toy drive for Christmas. This year, she is paired up with Michael, a vet who recently returned home, and together they recruit other veterans and active military personnel to help in the cause. As the community gears up for the Officer’s Christmas Ball, where all the kids will meet Santa Claus and receive their gifts, Michael and Chloe begin to realize the greatest gift this season has been each other’s company.
The movie begins with Chloe working hard in the kitchen at a shelter for the homeless in her spare time. Chloe also volunteers to run the Army Toy Drive and is the big sister to Savannah, whose parents are deployed. She is also a counselor for veterans. Her mother also is a hard worker running a coffee shop.
Chloe is assigned to a vet named Michael Fischer. When he stands her up for their counseling session, she seeks him out at his remote cabin. While chopping wood, Michael tells Chloe that he has no friends or family and prefers to be alone. Chloe gives him her card and is concerned about his well being. He shows up at the coffee shop and asks for help. Chloe’s mother and sister Trish think she should date the man! They blatantly try to matchmake them.
A lightbulb idea happens for Chloe; she realizes Michael ran a toy drive for the kids on his army base. Michael agrees to get the community toy drive program up and running. They would together and make a pretty good team! They recruit Savannah to bring the cute kid appeal to garner donated toys. (Bribing her with marshmallows to help out.)
Some Christmas stuff happens like a hot cocoa tasting contest, decorating, and Chloe and Michael randomly sing “Silent Night.” (It is good, but, like why?)
The rest of the movie is a “thank you for your service.” message. It is, unfortunately, not very interesting or moving. Which is commendable during the holidays, but what is the call to action here? Is Lifetime partnering with the USO or raising donations? Not that I could find, which makes the movie seem pandering. Here are seven ways to support our troops during the holidays.
The toy drive is a success and the Santa giving out the toys might be the real Santa. He makes Savanna’s Christmas wish come true, and her parents come home from deployment. They embrace as everyone looks on. Michael and Chloe kiss under the mistletoe. For a Christmas gift, Chloe brings home his combat canine and reunites them. They kiss some more, and the movie ends.
This year, Lifetime has been doubling down on the Hallmark copy cat movies, while Hallmark is evolving and truly becoming more inclusive. I’d like to see Lifetime find their own identity in the Christmas movie landscape rather than chase something they will never be.
Minority Report: General O’Toole, Olive, Fred, Aunt Dottie, Savannah, Lt. Pat, Savannah’s parents,
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*Photo Credit: © 2020 Lifetime