My, my, my, Hallmark is really packing in the good movies this year, didn’t they? So many to choose from! Maybe because everything went down the toilet this year, all these movies seem especially sweet? I don’t know. There’s just so much going on, sometimes it’s just better to dive into a place where no one has to buy food or meal plan, or figure out how to lose the quaran-fourteen pounds they gained by learning how to bake in the Spring. Let’s dive in to A Timeless Christmas, starring that guy from the dog Pride and Prejudice and some other girl.
We start in 1903 at an auction in upstate New York, where our hero just bought a Christmas Clock for his beautiful fiancee. Why is it a Christmas clock? Because it’s red and green and has some kind of engraving on it? Oh who knows. His name is Charles Whitley, and there’s some kind of snake guy who’s got the hots for the fiancee, and seems to be a jerk. Charles is a workaholic, who won’t go to his fiancee’s Eliza’s parents Christmas party in Manhattan. He’s focused on the future, and Eliza is all like, be focused on me, in the present. And because she’s not in a hot cocoa mood (don’t ask) she storms out and does not even put on a coat.
Why does rich Charles Whitley have a secret compartment in his study floor? He hides some blueprints and his journal in the floor, and we find out that the Christmas clock doesn’t work. Charles has some very nice relationships with his maid, it’s like she’s an aunt or something. Maid Rosie tells him that Eliza and Charles are not suited, but he’s like, nope, we’re fine. Time will tell, says the maid. And since the title of this has time in the title, I guess it will.
The clock says to wind it at the Christmas moon in order for true love to find you soon, and we just cut to a full moon in the sky – so Charles is going to wind that clock at 9:00 pm in 1903, and then the clock goes freaking haywire and it transports him into the future. And he’s such a good actor that this only creates bemused wonder on his face before he crashes to the floor and we cut to future time, where dark haired heroine is giving tours in Charles Whitley’s house. (FYI she’s dressed as a maid).
The history is that Charles Whitley disappeared on Dec 18 1903, but huzzah, he wakes up in the future on his study’s floor, which is surrounded by “Do Not Touch” placards and his desk encased in lucite. The weird tour also encompasses fake Eliza and fake butler Fredericks. Mr. Whitley showed up during the tour and is freaking out about all the people in house, and the actors also do not understand who this guy is. Heroine’s name is Megan, and she’s trying to tell him he’s an actor, but Charles just stormed outside and is freaking out about cars and airplanes.
Actor playing Eliza microwaved tea. WHY DOES EVERYONE IN HALLMARK MOVIES MICROWAVE TEA?
Megan is the museum director, and is the great-great-granddaughter of the real Maid Rosie. He’s not going to back down about his whole I’m Charles Whitley thing, and she’s not really buying it. He also just dropped that he had dinner with H.G. Wells, and now Megan is so fascinated because she’s a history buff. As he goes off with the sheriff to figure out what’s what (maybe just to get himself out of the house) he tells Megan about the compartment in the floor, but she doesn’t go find the stuff, she moons about the painting of Charles in the hallway for a bit in order for Sassy Friend Amber to tell her that she should notice that he was cute. But then, off she goes to the study. Which is on the 2nd floor – who has a study in the second floor? That does not make much sense in terms of Victorian architecture. Inside the floorboards is his journal full of invention sketches and she’s amazed.
Megan shows up to help him from getting arrested by making up more lies to the sheriff, and she takes him out for pizza. As you do. She believes him, but she doesn’t want to tell anyone else because of the media circus that would happen if it was announced that a man traveled through time. Megan is up for a teaching job, and she wrote her dissertation on Charles Whitley, which seems weird. And he gets introspective and thinks about Eliza and wonders what happened to her, and I think she lied about not knowing what happened to her.
He also finds out that because he disappeared, his company went into receivership and the town took his house – and he can’t live with that at all, so he asks Megan for help in getting back to 1903. Of course, she’s just going to break out her flux capacitor and it’ll all be fine. Oh, I’m kidding, she instead takes him back to the museum so he can sleep in his old bedroom, which he doesn’t appreciate that they renovated. As per usual, there is way too much garland in this house.
The Christmas Eve party is the best fundraiser for the museum, and assistant director Kenny is asking for more garland, and swallows the lie that Charles is an actor from the agency and he just got hired to be himself at this weird tour thing that seems really popular. Charles is rubbish at being an actor, except when he’s interacting with Megan and they have cute banter among the guests.
Oh fun fact, this is based on a book.
Ok, quick break – this guy is not a good actor.
In the Q&A with the tour guests, one guy just spilled the beans about the snake guy from the beginning marrying Eliza, but Megan stops him from finishing the statement. See, told you that she knew what happened to him! But for some reason, this oh so smart inventor guy doesn’t figure out what that guy was going to say and thoughtfully eats a sugar cookie without wondering about Eliza and the Snake guy (named Moran).
Megan introduces Charles to the delights of an email blast (FYI they are not delightful), and Kenny is happy enough to offer Charles money from the tip jar. Megan and Charles head off for more pizza, but not before they go shopping and he is not happy to be wearing dungarees. And Megan says she can’t have him looking like a road company member of Hello Dolly, which is delightful, and then says she’ll intercede with him with the fashion police, and he is like wait, that’s a thing? So far, that’s the only fun thing in this movie.
He admits to Megan that he didn’t love Eliza, that it was a marriage of status and he knows Eliza wanted more than he could give her. Megan admits that she got dumped 6 months ago, while they are shopping in some antique store, and she finds an overly large snowflake pendant that she likes, but they leave before buying in order to watch the lighting of the town Christmas tree.
But you know that he’s going to buy that with more of his tip money. FYI – it’s a very basic Christmas tree. Husband even said he’s underwhelmed by it. They sing a very bad version of We Wish You a Merry Christmas in the town square. It makes me sad.
Uh oh, mistletoe along the town sidewalks. HOW IS THAT STILL A THING? She gets to tell him about the internet and cell phones just as her parents show up to gush about how great Charles is. Seriously, her mom is freaking out, and her parents are bugging her to get going on her career as a teacher, which she doesn’t want to do. But we also find out what a Christmas moon is – it’s when there are 2 full moons in December. His theory is now to wind the clock on Christmas Eve in order to go back in time. Off they go to find the clock, but not before she almost falls off a stepstool and he catches her. Where oh where did that clock go?
Please carolers outside the mansion museum, stop singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. It’s upsetting. Charles is despondent about not finding the clock so he retreats into literature and re-reads HG Wells and Mark Twain, and Megan is not having this depressed Charles and gives him a pep talk about living in the present and then she storms off in her maid’s dress, but not before giving him a printed invitation to the holiday party, which is way better than an evite. Charles then gets out of his black mood and goes to entertain the tourists.
There is a full kitchen in this museum and it has a pot filler. I so want a pot filler. But we also find out that Charles never went to his own Christmas parties, and she takes pity on him not knowing any Christmas traditions so she takes him to her parents’ house for a traditional grilling and putting a big ornament on a large tree outside for charity – please, don’t ask.
Her mom is thrilled that Megan likes someone again. And Charles gets so excited about the tree topper thing he actually hugs Megan and then apologizes. This family party is like no family party I’ve ever been to. Oh my goodness, we’re at a Christmas slideshow of family Christmas pictures past, and we finally get to the point that Eliza married Moran the Snake. But since he admitted five scenes ago that he didn’t love her, I have no idea why this is such a big deal to him, other than the fact that he didn’t like that Moran guy and thought he was a jerk. Which has more to do with Charles being a macho man and not caring about his fiancee’s feelings, so shut up, Charles.
Husband is trying to annoy me with the scary bear that lives in our room. No joke, this bear is possessed and will try to kill me at some time.
Oh, turns out he’s ust mad that Megan didn’t tell him about Eliza’s marriage. Husband just asked if this is the Sad Times. And it turns out that Eliza’s life was really pretty great – she had four kids, eleven grandchildren, was a world traveler, and died an old lady – wait, who is she, Rose from Titanic? But Husband has correctly guessed the Sad Times, because Charles has to walk morosely through town to the sad Christmas tree. Charles also gets earful about how Moran was a good person, a philanthropist, like Miser Madison in The Music Man. Somehow he ends up in the pizzeria chatting with the actor who plays the butler (who is married to the girl who plays Eliza) and butler is having an existential crises about not being happy being a part time actor at a small time museum in a weird little town. Who knew. But Charles says you can be happy if you’re with someone that you love. Aww, it’s like his little heart grew 3 sizes that day.
Megan is at her job interview at Moran University – and wouldn’t you know it, I spy the clock! Megan asks to borrow the clock for her party, I’m guessing, even as we see Charles rehearsing apologies to Megan for storming off in a huff. But she brings him the clock! Huzzah! They both trip over themselves to apologize to each other, and it’s Christmas Eve, and the Christmas moon, and oh, how is he going to leave when he’s so obviously in love with Megan?
Cut to the Christmas Eve party – and I do not get all these people who are not home with their families. Kenny, the assistant museum director, is acting like the total full head museum director and I don’t get that at all. Why is Kenny going to give the speech, and not Megan, who is the actual museum director? He’s clearly comic relief, but he’s just annoying. Seriously, Megan, give the damn speech!
Husband is criticizing the costume choices in this scene of the party, as all the bow ties are crooked. And for some reason, now Charles is giving a speech? Seriously?! But he’s learned to live in the present, just what Eliza wanted him to do from the beginning of the movie. For some reason, Megan is wearing an old timey dress with an ostrich feather in her hair, and off she goes to find Charles. Amber and the butler husband have a cute moment, and she answers the phone with a coy “Hello?” and we don’t know what’s that about. And now Megan has to confront her parents about turning down the job at the university and keeping her job in the museum, and all that parental pressure has just evaporated because Megan is happy. And while yay, I will say that her parents are confusing in their demands for her to get a real job and their delight that she likes the museum. Don’t they know that children need consistency?
Megan can’t find Charles, and thinks he went back in time, but no, he didn’t and he sabotages the clock so that it won’t ever work again! How is that fair? How are they going to give it back to the university if they broke it? But he went back and got her that gaudy snowflake necklace which does NOT go with her dress. But they kiss and they’re in love, so yay. And aww, Amber and the husband butler got jobs in a bus and truck tour of Taming of the Shrew. And Charles asks Megan to share his present and future with him and they kiss again and thank GOD this dang movie is over.
I really wanted to like this one, but I just….didn’t. But I valiantly watched it, just so you don’t have to.