Love, Lights, Hanukkah! (2020 Hallmark)
Cast: Mia Kirshner, Ben Savage, Brandi Alexander
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Synopsis (via Hallmark)
Snowstorm threatens both Lina’s and Max’ holiday plans. They are forced to work together to figure out a way home – without taking it out on each other.
Italian New yorker Christina loves the holiday season and buys huge Christmas wreaths for her Italian restaurant. Decorating helps her feel closer to her mother, who recently died. Her friend Janet also works at the restaurant and helps Christina navigate the holiday season without a family for the first time. Christina takes a DNA test, turns she 100% that bitch. No, she is actually 50% Jewish.
Christina looks for DNA matches and gets a message from Becky Berman wanting to meet up at Lenny’s Jewish deli. Becky and Christina hit it off. Christina talks about being adopted and then meets her new family. Becky has two kids and a hunky brother named Scott. Family friend, food critic David, interrupts the reunion. He wrote a review for Christina’s restaurant calling the food “predictable.”
Becky invites Christina to brunch with her family because her mother would love to meet her. When Christina arrives, Ruth welcomes her for a Hanukkah to remember. David will be staying with the family for the holidays as well. They eat bagels and lox and ask Christina questions. Ruth realizes that Christina is the daughter she put up for adoption years ago. She lays everything out for her kids and explains. Christina is understandably overwhelmed and leaves. David runs after her to check on Christina while Ruth watches from the window. She doesn’t even know Christina, but she already loves her. So damn touching, man I almost teared up already!
David shows up at the restaurant the next day and checks on her. Christina whips up some lasagna for him and asks David if it is forgettable this time around. They talk about their passion for food. Then they pick up an angel statue for the restaurant courtyard.
Ruth and Christina meet up, and Ruth shares more information about Georgio Christina’s father. They had a shotgun marriage that was quickly annulled when his family disapproved. Ruth couldn’t raise the baby on her own and put her up for adoption. Christina forgives Ruth. She goes as far as even to thank Ruth for the wonderful adoptive mother.
Hanukkah traditions happen. They light the first-night candle on the menorah and then look at old family albums. Christina is overjoyed to be included and invites everyone to her place for the last night of Hanukkah.
David and Christina start spending more and more time with one another. David is not a chef but cooks some noodle kugel for Christina. Then they go to an outdoor menorah lighting on the fourth night of Hanukkah. Then they all build a snowman together as a family.
The Italian restaurant is about to reopen. Christina and David put the finishing touches on the decorations but blow a fuse and blackout the whole block. Christina cooks a candlelight dinner, and they talk about WINE. (My favorite!)
Ruth wants to get a special gift for her daughter and asks David to help her find Georgio. David tracks him down, and Ruth calls to tell him about their daughter.
It is Hanukkah’s final night, and Christina practices the traditional Hanukkah blessing repeating “Baruch atah Adonai” over and over with David. The blessing goes great, and then the family takes turns opening presents while sitting on the fireplace. All the gifts are meaningful and priceless. Christina gets a box of framed photos with her new family and one of Georgio. Ruth also gives Christina the phone number for her father to call when she is ready. I like that she respects her space.
David wants to take Christina on more dates, but she is hesitant because he is traveling to write a food book. They don’t see how the relationship could work and are scared to start something.
After a pep talk, they come back together and confess their love for one another. They kiss, which should be the end of the movie, but there is so much time left in the movie. WHA?!?!?
Oh, wait, Ruth and Christina still need to call Georgio on Christmas Eve. Christina and her father talk on the phone, and he invites her to Italy. Then she cooks the feast of the seven fishes and invites her family for Christmas Eve dinner. Christina makes a toast wishing everyone happy holidays. Her Christmas wish came true to spend the holidays with loved ones. Yay! David and Christina kiss some more. The end.
Minority Report: Janet
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*Photo Credit: © 2020 Hallmark Crown Media