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Cozily Confusing: “The Holiday Calendar” movie review


Released Nov. 2, “The Holiday Calendar” was Netflix’s first Christmas movie of the season. In the film, disenchanted photographer Abby Sutton (actress Katerina Graham of The CW’s “The Vampire Diaries”) navigates the trials and tribulations of her personal life, assisted by a semi-magical advent calendar. Although it’s definitely the best holiday original to date, “The Holiday Calendar” was not the exception to Netflix’s wannabe-Hallmark, assembly-line style content production, lacking overall impact and uniqueness.

First, I just want to say how glad I am that our protagonist, Abby Sutton, was plurally confused about her life. Compared to Amber Moore of “A Christmas Prince” and Ellen Langford of “Christmas Inheritance” (2017 Netflix Originals), Abby Sutton was far more relatable to audiences; she’s not the minorly inconvenienced 1 percent, nor does she have to suffer meeting a handsome prince. Sutton is not entirely sure about her future, but homegirl is pushing through, dealing with ordinary problems, like awkward dates and family pressures.

Not so realistically, the movie does provide many the genre-specific details: an extravagantly decorated quaint little town (zero crime rate, I hear), tight-knit family with precisely one enlightened member and protagonist with some soft-skills profession. I can’t say that these characteristic qualities are categorically beneficial or detrimental to the movie; they’re mostly just background noise.

*Next paragraph contains spoilers*

The movie attempted to stray from the simple boy-meets-girl plot and give audiences a little twist, but it was extremely ineffective. It was like the script was written for one very specific ending and then the Netflix Productions Intimidation Overlord (definitely a real position) scraped it right before the movie was filmed. The unexpected twist was just a tad bit too unexpected. You can’t spend 1/2 of the screen time hyping up our favorite local doctor, just to give Abby’s love to the travel blogger bestie. It was rushed and a little confusing.

If you’re still going to watch it, leave your critical eye far, far, far away from the TV.

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