Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Ever After: A Crippling Disappointment

Image: On a snowy background with pine trees in white lights, the words "24/7 holiday movies all season long" are in small, red letters across the top. Underneath, the word "Christmas" is in gold with "Ever After" under that in red. On the left-hand side of the image, a white woman with blonde hair sits in a wheelchair holding the hands of a kneeling white man with dark hair. 

Izzi is a writer on a deadline who has a severe case of writer's block. When she goes to her normal vacation spot for Christmas, she meets a guy who looks exactly like the love interest in her novels. 

I wanted to absolutely love this movie. It's the first romantic Christmas movie I've seen with a disabled heroine! Unfortunately, this film missed the mark in so many ways.

Izzi is an inconsistent main character. When the movie first starts, she seems erratic. Her personality then shifts about a third of the way through the film and becomes just bubbly and upbeat. Watching her in the beginning was bizarre, and the change didn't help the incongruity of it all. I like the way the movie showed her navigating through life as a wheelchair-user, but it really felt like they glossed over a lot to do with disability in general; I understand not wanting to make a big production out of the fact that she's not a typical protagonist, but not addressing it in any way in regards to a romantic relationship struck me as disingenuous.

The love interest was bland, though they tried to give him a backstory. Of course, his past would have been incomplete without a dead wife... a cliche I'm tired of. His daughter was cute and his father was kind and boisterous, but the other side characters were mostly cardboard.

The score was not memorable in the slightest, and the cinematography wasn't the best. I acknowledge the way it was shot may have been due to the pandemic.

What temporarily splits the couple is beyond ridiculous. At first the viewer thinks it may be a misunderstanding trope, but it seems like Izzi's real issue is insecurity. I understand insecurity is a big thing during new relationships, but the way it occurred and was resolved just seemed like it was a non-issue.

There is a twist in the movie many viewers won't find a revelation at all. Since it is a supposed selling point, it was a major letdown.

It was still awesome to see a disabled woman in a film like this, and I have a lot of respect for Ali Stroker, but this was a disappointment. We deserve better than just a bargain-bin plot with stale characterization. This was a roll in the right direction, but it fell horribly short of being something I'd watch again.

End note: Izzi doesn't ever have accessibility issues... even in a small town. It might've cracked my disbelief meter.

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