World Record Christmas (2023 Hallmark Movie)


World Record Christmas (2023 Hallmark)

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Cast: Aias Dalman, Nikki Deloach, Lucas Bryant

Director: Jason Bourque

Writer: Mark Hefti

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Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Charlie (Dalman) is an autistic boy determined to set a Guinness World Record by stacking 1400 Jenga blocks. His mother Marissa (DeLoach) and stepfather Eric (Bryant) encourage him to reach for his dream and they all celebrate when he gets the good news that he’ll have get his chance on Christmas Eve. In the spirit of the holiday, they organize a fundraiser giving the townspeople an opportunity to donate and decorate a Jenga block, with the proceeds going to benefit kids with autism. Charlie’s journey to setting the Jenga world record gives them all the chance to learn more not just about themselves, but about what family really means. Starring Nikki DeLoach, Lucas Bryant and Aias Dalman.

Recap/Wine Thoughts

Marissa and Eric work at the local library, or perhaps they just decorate the whole town with Christmas decorations. They raise Charlie, who is a sutistic pre-teen. His triggers change from day to day, and Charlie’s parents navigate his ever-changing needs with optimism and a sense of calm. A fire alarm can be too much for his senses, so Marissa and Eric coddle him, maybe a bit too much. 

Charlie wants to break a world record, but more than that, he wants to be with his biological dad for Christmas. He tells his mother he has been writing emails to his dad, and it breaks her heart to hear that Peter hasn’t responded to his son. (He has been MIA since the autism diagnosis.) It bothers Eric that Charlie won’t call him dad, but he understands that Charlie has particular labels for everyone in his life.

Eric asks Marissa for a date night, and she drops Charlie off at his friend Amy’s house. Charlie and Amy try to think up what world record he can break to win his father’s attention.

On their date night, Eric and Marissa only talk about Charlie. The date is cut short when Charlie needs help. He locks himself in his room after becoming upset. He tells his mom and Eric that he wants to break a world record, and they agree to help him figure out which one. 

The family goes out to pick a Christmas tree, and Charlie asks Amy to join them. Amy tells him that you don’t pick the tree; the tree sings out, too. When they find one they like, they sing Halejula, which is cute.

While working late on a briefing for a deposition, Hilary (Marissa’s boss) tells her that Peter is in town for a trial. They are all lawyers. Marissa thinks it is pretty low for Peter to be so close and not visit Charlie. Hilary gives Marissa Peter’s information, and she sees him. Thankfully, Peter is not actively ignoring his son and gives Marissa his new work email. He asks to meet with the drinner to catch up after his case. 

At the bar, Marissa meets Eric and doesn’t even take off her coat. She is standoffish and annoyed. Her emotions turn to anger after learning that Peter has lived nearby for TWO YEARS! She storms off. 

Eric and Marissa call the Guinness World Record lady and beg for a chance meeting. They are excited about the opportunity and set up a Zoom meeting for Charlie. Charlie nails it by explaining how good he is at Jenga. When asked why he wants to, he explains he wants to show what Autistic kids can do and to make his dad proud. Charlie also speaks with the adjudicator’s daughter, who is recently diagnosed as Autistic. He tells her that it is her superpower.

Marissa and Eric discuss having another baby and are surprised to learn that Charlie’s Christmas wish is to have a baby brother or sister. 

Charlie finally works up the nerve to ask Amy to ice skate with him. Marissa and Eric accompany them and wish Charlie the best while remembering their love story. Charlie tells Amy how he feels; she doesn’t reciprocate and just wants to be friends. Eric tells Charlie that it is good to be vulnerable and open your heart. 

Santa shows up in the town square and gives Charlie a Jenga set and a $10,000 check to donate to Autism charity. Charlie worries that he won’t be able to build his Jenga tower in front of a crowd. 

The product placement!

It is time for the official stacking. The town watches on as Charlie starts to stack many blocks on one little vertical block. 

This had me stressing!

The town watches on and Charlie becomes overwhelmed that his father isn’t there. On the last block, Charlie knocks the tower over and runs off upset.

Eric and Marissa tell Charlie that they love him. Then Amy talks to Charlie and tells him that they are best friends, and they share a hug. Charlie takes Eric to the chair he saved for his dad and tells him he is his real dad and always has been. (I’m not crying, YOU are!) 

The town goes on to break the world record for wrapping presents. 

Charlie works on the Jenga blocks again, this time for himself. The town watches on and cheers him on. (Quietly!) Charlie’s dad ends up showing up, but that guy sucks! 

One year later, the family welcomes a Christmas baby; it is all good times. Yay! This movie made me so happy.

Side Note/Stray Thoughts

Props to the writing team of Mark Hefti & Antonio Cupo (Lifetime Movie All-Star). The script was engaging, educational, and funny. I loved the POV of this film. 

Actor/writer Aias Dalman advocates for authentic representation of autism on screen. 

Overall rating

Pour it up

Put a Cork in It 

Christmas Feels

🎄🎄🎄 (3 Christmas Trees)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 (5 glasses of wine.)

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

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*Photo Credit: © 2023 Hallmark


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