Its taken me a long time to get these holiday movies going but at least we’re getting a little more festive around here! I finally worked in some time to watch some holiday movies on Netflix. Why Dear Santa, you ask? Because I don’t have huge issues with TV movies and I really like Amy Acker. Plus, why not?
Let’s check it out!
Dear Santa (2011)
Director: Jason Priestley
Cast: Amy Acker, David Haydn-Jones, Emma Duke, Patrick Creery, Gina Holden
Dear Santa is a fun holiday treat. While it will for some fall into many holiday and romantic comedy tropes, there is a sweet message behind it. It has a pleasant and charismatic cast and for a TV movie, its definitely some Christmas fun to be had and perhaps a few lessons to be learnt about giving and helping others especially when it really isn’t simply a romantic comedy but somewhat of a coming of age for a girl who never really had to because of all that she had and never saw the real world outside of the sheltered one that she lived in.
With that said, we have to look at our main girl, Crystal here played by Amy Acker. My first and favorite role of Amy Acker is in the TV series Dollhouse. I have quite a bit to catch up on but its different to see her in a role like this one. Crystal is a girl that never had to grow up or think about how much she has because of the credit cards her parents give her. When her parents give her a deadline to shape up and find a job and earn some money or at least find herself a husband, she goes out and by chance finds a letter that the mailman dropped. This letter is to Santa from a girl that is asking for a new mom, someone for her dad. Of course, not everyone will open someone else’s mail and it shouldn’t be encouraged but she goes out and gets to know the daughter and the father and learns a lot about what she can do and becomes attached to them unexpectedly. Amy Acker does a good job of showing her character progression. She can pull off the pretty, entitled girl and the girl that never grew up and also the girl that grew up to care about others around her. Plus, the chemistry she has with other characters are believable.
On the surface, Dear Santa seems like a rather generic movie. Its a love story and self-discovery one about a girl who doesn’t really care much about others and hasn’t found much use for herself except having an incredible fashion sense due to her ability to shop mindlessly. When she finally realizes that she can be more and just how much she has because of her decision to find this man and her daughter and ends up working at the soup kitchen for the community, it changes her a lot. Sure, it seems a little far-fetched perhaps but its a rather hopeful story filled with a lot of great moments. Even though, there is a lot of focus on Crystal and her feelings, when we turn around and have a look at Derek (played by David Haydn-Jones) and her daughter Olivia (played by Emma Duke), there is a little more because they are also looking for something more. Derek is looking for a mother to her daughter, forcing himself to comply to someone who can take care of them and has given up the hope that someone can replace his wife that has passed away. For them, its a story about second chances and building relationships and family. For either of these three, its a generic story, but like many TV movies, there is a deeper message and this one is not too bad at doing it in a way that we realize that they kind of save each other.
At this point, I’ve only really talked about story and Amy Acker. However, I did mention her great chemistry with the cast. Let’s take a quick look at them. Lets start with one of the most fun moments and those goes to Crystal and kind of the voice of reason in the overqualified soup kitchen’s chef, Pete (played by Patrick Creery). They met talking about some lip gloss or whatnot. The character of Pete is one that is so fun to watch, simply because of the dialogue and how Patrick Creery brings him to life. He has more scenes with Crystal but there is one very awesome scene near the end that I liked a lot (albeit being generic and expected but so genuine). Next up, there is the little girl Olivia, played by Emma Duke. Kids in movies are challenging. Sometimes, they can be the reason that it makes or breaks a movie. Luckily, Emma Duke is not in that category. She is cute and yet so charming to watch. There’s a bond that we can see between Crystal and Olivia that is pretty heartwarming.
Lastly, we can’t go without talking about the chemistry between Crystal and Derek, our star couple that we should be rooting for despite Derek’s current empty relationship with ex-college sweetheart that happens to have resurfaced, Jillian, played by Gina Holden. There is an obvious desire to make Jillian seem pretty unpleasant to be around and that she dwells in the past while Crystal makes for a brighter future. Although its a little silly to think that Derek and Gillian’s relationship doesn’t seem to have been cut completely by the end and its always a question of whether its right. There is some nice moments between Derek and Crystal. For that reason, I liked this movie more for its family, Christmas and self-discovery moments much more than the love story emphasis.
Overall, Dear Santa is pretty enjoyable with some new messages and a lot of Christmas stuff and a focus on family and finding love again and yourself. Its a nice relaxing treat. Its a little generic but the cast here puts in some nice performances to make it genuine. I didn’t go into this with any expectations and came out feeling pretty good. I’d say that’s a win.