I will admit that I have watched this one more than once. I may, or may not have, DVR’d it last year, and then again this year. Why? Doesn’t it have all the cliche moments that we so love in these movies? Of course it does. I think, in this never-ending catalog of sweet, can’t-you-just-feel-the-magic-of-Christmas, I love this one the best. Maybe it’s the very blatant rip off of The Sound of Music, which is a perennial favorite, maybe it’s just because I just re-read Jane Eyre, maybe I’m a sucker for those commoner-who-loves-royals tales. So, let’s dig in, to Crown for Christmas.
Danica McKellar stars as big-sister Ally, an aspiring artist who works as a maid with her little sister at a glamorous hotel in New York City. She has a brother in college, and tons of past due bills. On the day our story begins, she and her sister are cleaning the VIP floor, where King Maximillian of Winshire (near Luxembourg) is staying. Rupert Penry-Jones plays the King, and he was the only good thing in the recent PBS version of Persuasion that had Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliott run around Bath like she was doing a marathon. Anyway, they have a meet-cute in the hallway where she bangs him with her toiletries cart. Which is decorated with fake poinsettia leaves. Why do that? And for another question, King Max’s hotel room has a Christmas tree in it. Do hotels really do that? How much does that cost? Someone please answer this pressing question. Anyway, she offers him a sewing kit from her cart of shampoos and soaps as a way of making amends for assaulting him in the hallway. Final hotel question – does anyone use the sewing kit?
Ally’s sister leaves work early to go to an audition, and Ally must clean the rest of the floor by herself. Oh my goodness, it’s a HUGE job, especially in King Max’s suite, where King Max left his watch – and his man Fergus overhears Ally get fired by the very bitchy manager for not cleaning the room fast enough for a guest who wanted an early check in. Now, at this time in the movie, it’s probably around 10am. How early does one need to check in? But anyway, plot. Ally returns the very expensive gold watch to bitchy manager, and Fergus is completely blown away by such honesty. He follows her home to offer her a job as governess to King Max’s daughter Theodora for two weeks. And after a token what are you talking about, I’m a total stranger and you want me to look after a little girl, Ally’s off to Winshire.
This might be a royal palace in winter, but I refuse to believe that they can’t plow the driveway better than this.
Max’s Chancellor says that Max needs to get married. In five lines of dialogue, Chancellor proves he’s a giant dick.
Theodora is like Liesel (“I don’t need a governess”) and Michael and Jane Banks (pranks and running off of the last ones employed) combined, with an annoying British accent. Wouldn’t they sound more German, than British, if the country is near Luxembourg? She gets Ally in trouble with the King, but the King doesn’t seem to mind.
Oooh – romantic meeting in the stable – that is basically right next door to the castle. Who keeps the stable right next to the front door?
Backstory time – Max’s wife died right before he turned 30, and then his father died. He’s had to be king, single parent, and widower, all in one blond package. Says the cook, “I don’t think he’s let anyone in ever since.” Hmmmmm.
Theodora is again trying to get Ally fired, but they bond over worms and the fact that both their moms are dead. It’s amazing; Theodora clearly is a neglected child with serious issues, but she’s pretty much cured by five minutes of discussing Ally’s family.
Back to the Chancellor, he’s pushing Max to marry a Lady Celia, who sounds like a paragon, but Max is like, dude, no. Chancellor tells Max that his duty is to his country, not his heart. Yeah, because saying things like that is going to get you the result you want.
Now there’s another moonlight horse excursion in the snow. That has got to be severely uncomfortable. And a very close near kiss when he helps her off the horse. But the Chancellor saw the whole thing, and now he’s invited Lade Celia to the castle – can he do that? The chain of command in this very small country doesn’t seem to make much sense.
Chancellor just complained that Ally didn’t sing “O Christmas Tree” in the original German. Really dude?
Lady Celia is just the type of person you would think she is – Caroline Bingley mixed with Baroness Schraeder and Blanche Ingram, all with great hair. She asks Ally to put a good word in with Theodora for her…because Theodora can tell that Celia is just a horrific person. After Max lets his hair down (so-to-speak) with a courtyard snowball fight, Celia and the Chancellor vow to do.something.about.the.governess.
One of the decorations in Theodora’s room is a giant acorn. Why would ANYONE have a giant acorn? Seriously?
Chancellor pulls Max’s mother’s gaudy purple and diamond ring out of storage for Max to give to Celia. Max just doesn’t want to do it. Why does this tiny country need him to marry someone from Luxembourg? Because she brings…disdain? low-carb dieting (girl could barely choke down a bite of Theodora’s cookies). Plot. It’s all in service to the plot.
Christmas Eve – there’s a gala, because why wouldn’t there be a gala? Ally just put the cheapest looking tiara on Theodora’s head for this gala. The one I wore for my wedding looked way better. Just saying. Plus she has a peach ribbon on her ginger hair, and her dress is red and white. Costume designer, WTF?
The cook helps Ally to a dress, and she makes a big-ass entrance where everyone stops to stare, more because Fergus the butler announces her to the whole room. And there is applause. Why applaud?
King dances with Ally – and while it’s not Captain Von Trapp and Maria on the terrace, it’s still nice. And Lady Celia is staring daggers at them from across the crowded ballroom. Oh the drama. Maybe because Ally can’t keep the fact that she’s totally in love with the King out of her face?
The over-large engagement ring is now missing, and Lady Celia and the Chancellor totally think Ally took it – because…she’s from Brooklyn?
But who took the ring? Theodora did! Because of course she did. Ally returns the ring, and now she has to go. But the King has the last laugh because he totally disses Lady Celia in front of the entire room by saying he won’t marry her. King Max finally grows a pair and fires the Chancellor.
In Ally’s spare time in the past week, she’s managed to do portraits of everyone and have them framed, which have been passed out while she’s on her way to the inn she has to stay in before she can leave this tiny country. These are not great portraits.
Final scene – we’re almost there! Ally wanders around the mild flurry of snow till she hits a picturesque portico on the front of city hall, and who shows up, on horseback no less? Fergus. No, just kidding, it’s King Max. He’s in love with her, and she had him at sewing kit. Awwww. And so they show back up at the palace, both on the same horse. And everyone greets them at the door.
So. Crown for Christmas is done for the year. I was happy to revisit, just so you don’t have to.