A Christmas Village Romance (2021 Lifetime)

A Christmas Village Romance (2021 Lifetime)

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Cast: Jake Epstein, Jeni Ross, Olivier Renaud

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

When talented interior designer Emily Barnes (Lisinska) is hired by a foreign embassy in D.C. to When romance novelist Diana (Ross) learns that Maple Creek, a charming pioneer village, is struggling to stay afloat, she uses her notoriety to help generate interest in the town by sponsoring a Christmas gala. Diana rallies her family and friends to pitch in, but she’s challenged at every turn by the village blacksmith and town historian, Carter (Epstein). Sparks fly as the two must work together to save the village in time for Christmas. But when her gorgeous cover model and secret crush, Greg (Renaud), surprises Diana the night before the big Christmas gala, she’s torn on who to choose and must take a page out of her novels to figure out her true happily ever after. (2021)

Recap/Wine Thoughts

The movie starts in San Francisco; it feels like the opening to Full House. 

Diana is a young romance novelist who has never been in love, but she has a crush on the model from the covers of her book, a hunk named Greg. Her publisher, Holland, bullies Diana into asking Greg to go home with her for Christmas at Maple Creek. 

Hunk Greg stops by Diana’s place unannounced with BIG news. She is in full-on writer mode and quickly tries to sexy it up. Diana trips all over her words, complementing his biceps and calling him gorgeous. She tries to invite him to her hometown, but Greg is in going on a Christmas triathlon. He decides to drive her home on his way.

Diana tells Greg about the historical town, which has an actual blacksmith, her uncle Timothy. She vents about romance to her uncle as he works on a sleigh. When he comes out from under, Diana is shocked to see it is not uncle Timothy; his nephew Carter is his replacement. Carter is also a history professor at the local college.

The town’s tourism is lagging, and Diana’s sister, Kayla, and Aunt plan a Christmas festival to try and rent out the cabins they own. Diana moves into one with the empty cabins, and Carter gets his tools to fix it up for her. She wants an authentic pioneer Christmas. (Something Carter knows a lot about, he tells her that she ignores history in her Romance Novels. They argue about the merits of their POVs.)

Diana decides to call her novel “A Pioneer Christmas” and use that as inspiration for the Christmas festival set in 1870. 

Diana and Carter play dress-up in 1870’d attire to publicize the event. They take photos around town in a photo-taking montage set to a song, “I think I’m falling in love.”

Even if they sell out every cabin, they will not make enough to save Maple Creek. Carter suggests they pimp out Diana for a book signing/meet and greet. Then they will throw a whole event. Including a writers retreat, a Christmas ball will be thrown by the heroine of the novels, and Greg will probably show up shirtless. (Oh no, we see THAT in a gratuitous phone call scene from the beach.)The whole event will be like stepping into one of her novels in real life. 

A storm rolls in, and Carter helps batch up Diana’s cabin’s leaky ceiling. They talk over electric candlelight. Diana lights her scented candle and puts on perfume. She sprays Carter in the face, and he screams that she maced him. 

They cook biscuits and gravy or “Frontier Hash Pie.” They drink wine and listen to hipster music. Carter reveals that he has started reading her books; he is hooked and compliments her as a writer. Diana tells him that she is writing the last novel now and share the ending.

The next day, they almost kiss while chopping down a Christmas tree. 

The SOLD OUT festival opens, and we get a montage of Carter blacksmithing, not in a tank top, and Diana playing school teacher. Pretty lame montage, to be honest. 

 Father Christmas brings the mood down by sharing that his wife, Amy, recently died of cancer and lost sight. He would read Diana’s stories to her. He still reads the books aloud in hopes his wife can hear him wherever she is. 

Just when Diana and Carter start really connecting, Greg shows up. He admits to being jealous of Carter and wants to be with Diana but thinks he isn’t good enough for her. Carter is awkward around Greg, shading the hunks chin. Greg offers to take pictures to raise more money. Diana loves the idea. 

Carter overhears their conversation and tries to downplay his feelings for her. He gives Diana an ultimatum and then tells her that he can truly be himself around her. He wants to give it a shot, but Diana isn’t sure and needs space.

Diana’s Aunt tells her to remember her heart before the big Christmas gala. She signs books while Greg takes pictures in a revealing shirt. Carter is a no-show and heading to Montana. 

Greg and Diana slow dance, but she keeps an eye out for Carter. Greg tells her that he knows she still has feelings for Carter and thinks she belongs in Maple Creek. They don’t want to be with one another. 

Carter shows up and sees Diana with Greg. He thinks they are together and is heartbroken. He gave up his dream of moving to Montana and gave the money to Maple Creek. 

Diana runs after Carter in her gown; she finds him in the blacksmith shed, and she thanks him for what he did for Maple Creek. He plans to stay and start a ranch on the land. Diana tells Carter that she is falling in love with him, even if he is stubborn. They kiss and Diana is inspired to write her next book.

Diana rushes into the gala and announces happy endings and will continue the novels after their happily ever after. 

Carter and Diana dance and kiss in front of everyone. He dips her, and I can tell you that is scary when it happens to you. The music plays as snow falls. The end!

Side Note

Minority Report: Street Vendor, Holland, 

Also Known as Christmas at Maple Creek

Jake Epstein is like the TV movie version of Mark Ruffalo. 

📺. Stream/Watch the Movie (Ad): https://amzn.to/33euYip

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Christmas Trees represent the Christmas vibes. *** I’ve updated the rating system. Wine is overall enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know if they should watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend). 

Overall rating

Christmas Feels

🎄🎄🎄 (3 Christmas Trees)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine.)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked

*Photo Credit: © 2021 Lifetime

Live tweet along with @LifetimeUncork using the hashtag #AChristmasVillageRomance #ItsAWonderfulLifetime

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