Would you believe that a) it’s Halloween and I’m writing about a Christmas movie; b) we’re just 2 months away from this entire shitty year and c) this is my 100th blog post?!?!? I can’t believe it and I’m living that right now!
I’m sure you’ve all noticed that I’ve taken a huge break from doing these this year. And with this year, I’m sure you all understand. For a long time I didn’t want to watch sunny shows where the hero just wants to be happy and explore his need to be a mime in Paris while simultaneously running away from his family’s law practice, where the heroine just needs him to buckle down and be serious. Running away from a well-paying job? Are you freaking insane? And love might be all you need, but it sure is helpful if you don’t have to worry about medical bills. This year has been exhausting, and I just couldn’t. As much as these movies are comfort food, I needed something different, which explains why I watched Great British Baking Show twice, learned how to make a killer lemon drizzle and amazing bread, and stress-read Twitter about the state of the country. All of which means that this weekend, which saw me take time off to self-care and watch BBC’s North and South for the first time and immediately plan for a re-watch, has me back to Christmas Movies, with this gem of a movie that should have everything. So let’s get going for One Royal Holiday.
I will start by saying I love Laura Osnes. I voted for her when she was on the Grease reality show, and saw her in Bandstand 3 times. I am less of a fan of Aaron Tveit, more so because of the horrendous man perm he had to sport during Les Miserables. However, it’s not nearly as bad as the man bun I just saw on the latest concert version of my favorite musical, so I guess I should move on from the perms. Except how the hell did those perms mean an Academy Award for best hair and makeup? WTF? Anyway.
Aaron plays His Royal Highness Prince James of Galwick. Is that near Lichtenstein, or Cornwall, like that one where the heroine was from New Jersey? His mom is played by the amazing Victoria Clark and she better sing, damn it. And in the very first scene, where Queen Gabriella and Prince James are in some kind of hospital benefit thanking them for the care they gave their late husband and father, Queen Gabriella is wearing a tiara. I’m sure we’ve learned something from the countless viewings of Downton Abbey (as well as anything the Queen does) and one does not wear a tiara to a benefit during the freaking day. British accents are on point though. Good for them.
Laura Osnes is a nurse named Anna, who is heading home for Christmas, and her home is some tiny New England town where her dad owns an inn. Looks like her mom is dead. Present wrapping montage, and we’re not even 10 minutes in. And Anna is off home where there’s a wicked nor’easter heading her way (she’s in Boston).
James has to make a Christmas Eve speech, which apparently the entire monarchy of Galwick is depending on. But not before he and his mom stop at Donny’s Donuts for tea. Anna’s there for coffee and is freaking out over a “Christmas Cruller” which is basically an eclair. But horrors, the storm has grounded the royal plane, and the hotel in Boston is full up, and James and Anna have had a meet cute over the eclair, and we’ve found out that Galwick is in Northern Europe. Anna is offering her dad’s inn, and now her own car when the royal car driver says he’s not going to drive to Connecticut. Queen Gabriella is already in love with Anna, and her free eclairs, and they are all carpooling to Connecticut on roads that are remarkably traffic free. Oh, and BTW, James has not told her he’s a prince, and she’s just said her town has a Christmas Eve Pajama Ball and Oh My GOD I think I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of Christmas Movie Cliches and I love every minute. BTW, James is a huge pill.
Royal retainer has just let the cat out of the bag to Anna’s dad and now Anna knows that they’re royalty. But because James is such a cool guy, he’s going to carry up their bags up the stairs but because he’s also royal, he doesn’t know that suitcases have handles. Anna’s BFF from high school is now the Sassy Mayor. And James has just asked for the “pillow menu” where the guests get to choose which kind of pillow to sleep on. Sassy Mayor is all about getting the royals on social media for the town, but then she gets an eyeful of Christopher, the royal retainer, and Sassy Mayor is all heart-eye emojis. And here is the first commercial break.
Sing-a-long at the Inn, and the carolers are dressed like Dickens characters – because carolers are only allowed to dressed like Dickens characters. Gabriella and Anna are bonding over the buffet, while James is on the phone with the Prime Minister of Galwick who is clearly not a monarchist. But Gabriella loves the food at the Inn, and methinks Queenie is going to play matchmaker between Innkeeper Dad and the Cook. James missed dinner and is eating his feelings through a 5 lb container of popcorn, but Anna is nice and brings him a plate of lobster mac and cheese.
As expected, there’s been a huge snowstorm, which is not in evidence with the b-roll of shots of the house. They are snowbound and Anna wants to know what royalty does all day. James says it’s not like a Jane Austen novel where they drink tea and read poetry. No, not at all. Sometimes they have elaborate picnics. And that is a line from this beautiful movie. Another b-roll shot of the Inn, which shows the road completely plowed. But the airport is still closed, so now they can attend the Kentsbury Christmas Parade. James can’t measure up to his dead father with his make-or-break Christmas Eve Speech. FYI, James started dragging the sled of donated toys, and next shot, Anna is dragging it. So much for the chivalry of princes.
FYI – in 2 days, we won’t see any political ads on TV for almost 12 months. Huzzah!
Everyone in the little town seems to think that Anna is dating James because they are walking down the street together. James stepped in a slush puddle and now they both have to take a carriage ride back to the inn. Just go with it. Heart to heart about James’ speech worries. Anna says he should be himself. Oh, how great that advice is.
Husband just asked how great this movie is. I said the words Christmas Eve Pajama Ball. He is seriously thrilled.
The room where the Ball is going to be held had a roof malfunction, and now where are they going to have it? James suggests the Inn, so of course they’re going to do it – and before we can say Hot Chocolate – they are going to decorate the Inn’s family tree! Singing! Tree Trimming! Lights! Husband just is annoyed that all the lights in the big tangle of string lights work, because that is not reality.
DANG IT – they are going to split the ball into Pajama for Kids and Formal Ball for Adults. This is not what I signed up for.
Anna and James meet in the kitchen in their plaid jammies, and Anna name checked Captain Von Trapp, so cool, except for the fact that Christopher Plummer NEVER showed up in a bathrobe. Anna has also introduced James to the magic of a Lazyboy recliner couch. And James is now giving Anna advice about how great a formal ball would be and it’s not a slap in the face of the memory of Anna’s dead mom. Anna is also wearing way too much makeup for late night cocoa rendezvous.
Plot question – why is James a Prince, and not King? Shouldn’t he have been coronated by now?
Anna brought James up to the attic to look for ball decorations, and he seems to have a flair for decorating. They head in to town for more garland, and James borrowed skinny jeans and boots from Christopher, and that’s not weird at all. And Anna has major good ideas for James’ speech, so good for her. Shopping Montage! Decorating Montage! So Many Lights! So Many Trees! Romantic moments by a ladder! Dancing! They are going to Dance to The Christmas Waltz. WHAT IS THIS SONG? Dance Lessons Await! (FYI, I do this with younger son in our kitchen, and it is a delight of my life). Oh, man, dad just messed up that romantic dance.
Dad is Fairy Godfather here and found dresses for Anna to wear that were her mom’s. But first, Gingerbread House Building! James is good at it and he made a castle. And Gabriella just made them a Galwickian Yule Cake (which is an eclair). Christmas Eve is in 3 days, and now there’s black ice on the roads and it’s just too dangerous to go to the airport.
Sassy Friend tells her that she can work it out with Christopher, so Anna can work it out with James, but Anna is being realistic because he’s a prince and she’s a nurse, and if he’s half as eligible as Prince Harry, then she is in the right, and Sassy Mayor is living in La La Land. But whatever, Anna deserves to find Love.
Town Candlelight Sing A Long. Lots of longing looks over the candles, but Anna can’t express her love for James because they have to sing Joy to the World (without the religious 3rd verse). But they are now back in the ballroom for Anna to tell him how she feels, but she is blocked by his phone and the fact that it’s the palace, telling him that he was photographed with Anna in the town square and it’s an international scandal of Christmas Carol proportions. And because Anna is selfless, she says thanks to James and tells him he should care for his people and go be a prince. And because he’s emotionally repressed, he says ok and he heads out.
Sassy Mayor gets to go to Galwick for New Year’s because Christopher is NOT emotionally repressed. Gabriella left a gown for the cook to wear to the ball, and James has arrived home to the literally smallest castle ever. It’s smaller than Disneyland.
SAD TIMES! James and Anna both. 14 minutes left. Anna doesn’t know what to wear, but Dianne the cook looks great in the Queen’s dress. And James has figured out that Anna helped out his dad at the hospital when he was ill. Oh my goodness all the coincidences! Anna’s dress has pockets, y’all. James’ Christmas speech is on the internet, and his military uniform clearly doesn’t fit. And HUZZAH James shows up at the ball and his tuxedo suit does fit. And more about James’ dad, yada yada yada. And they kiss and head into the ballroom where they get to finish their Christmas Waltz. All Laura Osnes’ Cinderella dance experience is clearly paying off here. But we’re not done yet – everyone is in their pajamas at the fireplace for the final scene – and again Cinderella vibes, because James brought her Christmas Royal Bedroom Slippers. But he didn’t bring enough for everyone! The End.
This movie had everything and it was delightful, even if Victoria Clark didn’t sing. Sorry for the blurry pictures – WordPress changed their way of doing things while I was baking and I am still trying to figure it out. Glad to get back into this even if we’re still technically in Halloween territory. Aren’t you glad I watched, just so you don’t have to?