It seems like every story is the same. City girl returns to her small hometown for the holidays to discover that she never lost feelings for the boy next door. The only issue is her boyfriend back in the city, who may not be the sweetest, but sure is rich. While the minor details may vary, she somehow always ends up with her lover. Bonus points if she can keep her job.
I have to admit that Hallmark movies, while delightfully romantic and sweet, can be a little exaggerated and predictable. Regardless of the criticism, I stand by my choice that Hallmark movies are an iconic holiday tradition. Let’s take a look at my personal favorite Hallmark movie: “Christmas Town.”
The movie starts with protagonist Lauren Gabriel (Candace Cameron Bure) moving from Boston to Springfield Ill. to start a permanent teaching job. Along with her old job, she also leaves behind her ex-boyfriend Eric Fitzgerald (Jason Cermak), who was unwilling to date long distance. While traveling to Springfield she is forced to make a stop in the small town of Grandon Falls, christened ‘Christmas Town’ by locals. She ends up meeting a man named Travis (Tim Rozan) who offers her a ride into town.
Now during the drive, Travis and Lauren slowly get closer and Travis even talks about his foster son Dillon (Jesse Filkow). Just a few weeks later, she reveals that she found a job and is staying in Grandon Falls. Travis is overjoyed and they share a kiss beside the town’s beautifully lit Christmas tree.
While the plot may be a bit cliché and rushed, it is cheesy and adorable and in the end Lauren does get her happily ever after. Realistically the only way to truly enjoy Hallmark movies is to forget about the technicalities. The whole appeal is the happy ending. It serves as a reminder that even though your own life may not be perfect, it has the potential to be.
Of course, that is not to say that the Hallmark industry is completely free of problems. One of the main issues is the lack of diversity as most movies have predominantly white casts. Fortunately, in recent years the renowned TV channel has taken many steps to even the scales.
In July of 2020, a spokesperson for Hallmark Channel told People Magazine that, “diversity and inclusion is a top priority. [There are numerous upcoming] projects featuring LGBTQIA+ and other diverse storylines, characters, and actors.”
Sure enough, in August of the same year, the channel aired its first movie, titled “Wedding Every Weekend,” which not only features a same-sex wedding, but also a Jewish celebration. The 2020 film “A Sugar and Spice Holiday,” has a predominantly Asian cast while “A Holiday in Harlem,” which released in 2021 has a full African American cast.
While Hallmark movies may not be the height of filmmaking or next in line for any Oscars they offer a sense of comfort during the holiday season. Hallmark movies hold a special place in my heart and they remind me that somewhere out there I have my perfect happily ever after waiting for me (yes, the ending was intentionally cheesy).