So, in burgeoning media superpower Netflix’s grand scheme to take over entertainment, to be all things to all people, a string of made-for-TV quality Christmas movies have cropped up, beginning last year with the apparently popular Christmas Prince, and continuing this year with The Princess Switch. Among this new line, I watched Christmas Inheritance as the 5th film in my challenge to watch 25 Christmas movies before December 25th. I’m largely behind schedule, but I wanted to watch a majority of the 25 after Thanksgiving anyways. Now I’m in the spirit and ready to build towards the day.
Christmas Inheritance came out sometime last winter, as part of Netflix’s aforementioned push for exclusive seasonal entertainment. It stars Eliza Taylor, from CW’S The 100, as Ellen Langford, kind, but spoiled, who has a reputation as a party girl. She also has a boyfriend who’s selfish and snobbish. Her father sends her on a mission to hand-deliver a letter to an old friend in Snow Falls and gives her a test to go with it. If she can deliver the letter, complete this trip with no more than $100 in spending money, and without revealing her status as heiress to a small fortune, he will hand her the reins to his company. She accepts. Once in Snow Falls, Ellen falls in love with the small-town people, notably Debbie (Andie MacDowell), who runs a local diner, the pride she gets in helping others, and the handsome leading man, Jake Collins (Jake Lacy) she meets through a chance encounter.
You’ve seen this movie before, you know the ending, and all of the notes in between. It should be impossible to give “spoilers.” You know if you like this movie just by reading the plotline. Knowing full well what’s bound to happen before it starts, does the film interest you? For many people, Christmas Inheritance will be a perfectly satisfying holiday romance. The stars are sweet, the setting idyllic, and the story comforting. I just happen to prefer a different kind of movie fantasy. The rogue hero bringing justice to the west. Barring that, I’m not above a cheesy rom-com. There certainly are some great ones I keep coming back to. Christmas Inheritance, however, is cookie-cutter and simply fine. It’s better than sitting in a dark closet doing nothing (a low-bar, but there are hundreds of films I can’t say that about). It’s better than not watching a movie. It’s okay.
-Walter Tyrone Howard-