Hallmark has made cheesy romantic Christmas movies a holiday staple in American homes. It is a level of kitsch right up there with ugly Christmas sweaters and $10 White Elephant exchanges. While Hallmark used to have the monopoly on these films, for the past couple of years Netflix has taken its own stab at the market.
As you find yourself scrolling through Netflix this last weekend of the season, you may ask: are these films worth the time? Well, here is a comprehensive review of the romantic Christmas movies currently on Netflix. Please note that each one of these films has a level of cheese to it, as that is the point.
The Christmas Prince (2017)
Netflix’s first ever original Christmas movie, this will take you on a fairy-tale level journey. Amber is an aspiring journalist working as a fact checker at a magazine. She is given the opportunity to get her big break in journalism by covering a press conference with the Prince of Aldovia, a man who has not taken his upcoming kingly duties very seriously. Through misunderstandings, Amber finds herself posing as the tutor of the princess in the castle, attempting to uncover the true story of the prince from the inside. Along the way she discovers secrets, and love, that make her question if she can, and should, keep up her lie.
The movie is great. It’s funny, has an intriguing plot, and just the right dash of melodrama. The main cast acts well (although some of the supporting characters were a bit eh). This is a solid, feel-good film for the holiday. We recommend watching with a hot cocoa sprinkled with cinnamon.
(Also, fun fact, Netflix revealed that 53 subscribers had watched the film everyday for the 18 days after its release. That’s dedication.)
Rating: 5/5 Mistletoes
A Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding (2018)
Who doesn’t love a sequel? Back in Aldovia, Amber and Richard are preparing for their wedding. After a year of being together, Amber is thrilled to finally begin her life with her love. However, everyone in the palace is telling her what to do, how to dress, and how to act. Even Richard won’t let her help in the crisis hitting Aldovia. Will Amber be able to maintain her own identity while still respecting the crown?
It is always nice to have closure, and this movie provides it. Continuing seamlessly from the first, this film keeps the same feel with some extra quirks. The plot does feel a bit forced at times. There is also the introduction of some characters who are a little too over-the-top (ahem, the wedding planner). But overall, a nice sequel to the original. We recommend just marathonong the two together and keeping that cocoa coming.
Rating: 3/5 Mistletoes
The Christmas Inheritance (2017)
Ellen wishes to take over her father’s gift business. In order to prove this party-heiress is responsible enough to do so, her dad sends her on a mission to deliver a special Christmas card to his old partner in his hometown of Snow Falls. After being stranded at the town inn due to a snowstorm, she learns what the simple life looks like and finds romance along the way – of course.
Straight out of a Christmas card. This film is an ode to the small town beginnings many have. Ellen learns the importance of finding your roots and never forgetting them. There are fun, witty moments throughout. Ellen’s character is mildly unbelievable, as her personality does not consistently vibe “thoughtless heiress,” but she is still endearing all the same. All in all, a solid choice for a cozy night in. We recommend a slice of apple pie and a snowstorm (if applicable) for your viewing pleasure.
Rating: 4/5 Mistletoes
The Holiday Calendar (2018)
This was my personal favorite. Abby is a struggling photographer who makes a living as an elf photographing kids with Santa. Her grandfather gives her an antique advent calendar that doesn’t seem to open. However, every day starting December 1, a little figurine magically appears. Each day the figurine seems to correspond with an event that happens that day – the meeting of a special someone.
With love triangles, self-discovery, and a little Christmas whimsy, this is an excellent Christmas romance. The sets are festive (her studio apartment is a DREAM), the plot is steady, and the characters endearing. Abby’s best friend Josh is everything one wants from a male lead. This movie easily slides into my holiday regulars. We recommend dark chocolate peppermint bark for this viewing (little bitter, little sweet).
Rating: 5/5 Mistletoes
The Princess Switch (2018)
Stacy (Vanessa Hudgens), a baker who doesn’t enjoy deviating from the plan, ends up spontaneously traveling to the country of Belgravia for an international baking competition with her sous chef and best friend Kevin. While there, she meets Duchess Margaret Delcourt, an adventurous soul engaged to the prince, who looks exactly like her. The two of them devise a plan to switch places for a couple days. In this time, both discover a bit more of what they really want in life as well as a tangled love-mess that could get them both in trouble.
In a classic prince-and-the-pauper tale, we see a delightful story of balancing duty with desire. While there are some random plot points which feel irrelevant and some that were a bit unbelievable, overall the movie had a nice pace and a magical feel. It’s also always a delight seeing Vanessa Hudgens in a film. We recommend freshly baked sugar cookies for this film.
Rating: 4/5 Mistletoes
As romantic Christmas goes, Netflix is making their way steadily into this niche market. We are excited to see what Netflix will bring in years to come!
Danielle Crowley is a staff writer for the Daily Runner.