Each movie listed includes: 

(1) Title (2) Rating (3) Genres (4) Starring (5) Synopsis (6) My Personal Review (7) Scoring 1-5

 

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Happy Christmas (2014)

Rated: R

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Lena Dunham, Mark Webber, and Joe Swanberg

Synopsis: A hard-partying 20-something moves in with her brother’s family to get over a breakup, turning their everyday lives upside down.

Review: Given the star power, I expected a great movie.  Instead I got awkward situation after awkward situation with poor transitioning between scenes.  It was well acted but still boring.  I think part of the problem was the story didn’t give us time to know and care about the characters.  Rather than being about the characters, it was about the scenarios they experienced.  Baby Jude was sheer perfection.  He made sitting through the rest a better experience.

Scoring: 2

Hats Off To Christmas! (2013)
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Haylie Duff and Antonio Cupo
Synopsis: Mia, the loyal and hard-working manager of her small town's Christmas hat shop, is blindsided when her boss of over ten years asks her to train his son, Nick, for a vacant upper-management position that Mia had been coveting. While training Nick is frustrating to Mia, his interest in her son’s life may be the miracle she’s been waiting for. 
Review:  I love this movie. Yes, it can be overly sweet at times, but I adored the characters and the plot.  I especially liked that the son was in a wheelchair. I know that sounds weird but you don’t often see people with special needs in movies and I think that’s important. Mia's devotion to her son and the company she works for are inspiring and she does it all with a smile.
Scoring: 4

Headed South for Christmas (2013)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Abby Corrigan

Synopsis: A troubled teen and her single dad spend Christmas with family members they hardly know.

Review: I enjoyed this movie.  A girl grappling with her mother dying when she was born which makes her feel responsible and means she’s grown up without her.  A single dad trying to maneuver through the rough teen years alone.  Add an eccentric aunt and a genius young cousin and you have a complete story.  They main plot is the journey of the Mac but all the characters are relatable in their own way.  It wasn’t super deep but it was moving.

Scoring: 3

The Heart Of Christmas (2011)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family, Religion

Starring: Candace Cameron Bure and George Newbern

Synopsis: The Locke family are devastated when they learn their 2-year-old son, Dax, has leukemia.

Review:  I appreciate that this is based on a true story and that’s the only reason I felt the emotions of it. It was poorly acted except for Bure and Newbern. It’s very dark and sad because of the story but it’s an example of priorities and people supporting each other. It also seemed very slow. I believe people will love it or hate it. 

Scoring: 2

 

Hearts of Christmas (2016)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Romance
Starring: Emilie Ullerup, Kristoffer Polaha, and Sharon Lawrence
Synopsis: When a beloved neonatal intensive care unit supervisor is forced to take early retirement, her young colleague, Jenny, decides to turn the upcoming staff Christmas party into a surprise celebration for her. But the plan is complicated by the hospital's new CFO who's been tasked to cut costs.
Review:  The setting of the NICU provides such a loving and warm feeling. Matt being brought in to fix the hospital’s finances seemed easy until he could put faces to the numbers. Jenny’s work to save Alice’s job and her budding relationship with Matt are heartwarming. A charming movie with an ending that had me reaching for the tissues.
Scoring: 4
 
Heaven Sent (2016)
Rated: PG
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Religion
Starring: Christian Kane, Marley Shelton, Ryan McPartlin, and Mallory James Mahoney
Synopsis: Marie, a businesswoman, says a prayer that her husband, Billy, find the strength to let go of their marriage.  Billy, says a prayer that Marie find the strength to hold on.  Their answer comes in the form of a 8-year-old runaway from heaven who works to rekindle Marie and Billy's romance that has faded following a heart-wrenching loss.  She uses all her skill and charm to try to heal their broken hearts and help them save their marriage.
Review:  There aren’t enough adjectives to describe how special this movie is. It left me feeling happy, melancholy, just so emotional. Little Taylor will steal your heart. I didn't see the ending coming and it simultaneously brought a smile and tears.  This is a must see.
Scoring: 5
A Heavenly Christmas (2016)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy, Religion, Romance
Starring: Kristin Davis, Eric McCormack, Shirley MacLaine, Jaeda Lily Miller, and Robert Moloney 
Synopsis: Upon her untimely death, a workaholic, who never put much value into the joys of Christmas, finds herself recruited to be a Christmas Angel -- and is assigned a hard luck case that she accidentally falls in love with.
Review:  I was disappointed given the star-studded cast. It moved so slowly. It had a nice ending and it’s an okay story but it’s missing something. Even the little girl couldn't make it shine.
Scoring: 2
Help For The Holidays (2012)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Summer Glau and Eva LaRue
Synopsis: Parents hire a nanny to care for their two children while they’re busy with their Christmas store. Christine is an elf who wonders about the world. Santa sends Christine to be the nanny and bring back Christmas spirit to the family. 
Review:  It’s so much fun seeing the world through the eyes of an elf who surprisingly had very little knowledge of how people live.  Seeing her develop a relationship with the children’s uncle as the parents slowly reevaluate priorities is a darling storyline. Waiting to see how she could possibly get her happy ending is what kept me invested. Summer Glau's acting makes this movie extra sweet. 
Scoring: 4

Hip Hop Holiday (2019)

Rated: NR

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Ta’Rhonda Jones

Synopsis: Larger than life hip hop diva, Leesa J, rekindles an old friendship over Christmas and her walk down memory lane forces her to reexamine her life, her habits and the real reason for the dislike for the holiday that she once loved so dearly.

Review: Leesa J. is so dislikable for so much of the movie and they don’t take the time to really let us see why she is the way she is.  Also, the changes for her come too late in the story.  Her assistant and cousin are there but there isn’t enough attention paid to how they are affected by Leesa’s behavior.

Scoring: 2

His And Her Christmas (2005)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Starring: Dina Meyer, David Sutcliffe, and April Telek
Synopsis: Tom is a writer for the San Francisco Sun newspaper and they’re considering producing a TV show starring him. Liz is a writer for a small town paper.  The Sun bought the paper Liz writes for. They can either keep Liz’s paper or do Tom’s show. To boost readership, Liz starts a column about the meaning of Christmas. Tom rebuts with his own column about practicality at Christmas. Their columns become a personal battle as their friends think there’s more love than hate going on. 
Review:  It’s fun seeing the characters Liz and Tom go back and forth between sentimental and practical then finally meeting in the middle. Their competing articles debate the traditions and sentiments of Christmas which keep the holiday spirit going through the movie.  The support cast add flavor.  Sweet and entertaining. 
Scoring: 3
Hitched For The Holidays (2012)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Joey Lawrence, Emily Hampshire, Marilu Henner
Synopsis: An attractive pair agrees to be each other's supposed significant other throughout the holidays to keep their meddling families at bay.
Review:  Learning about Rob and Julie helps you understand and relate to them. We learn slowly about how their pasts and families have affected them. We get to see them learn to understand themselves. Their families are a little over the top but that adds the humor.  Rob's family celebrates Christmas and Julie's celebrates Hanukkah.  The things that happen because of that difference illuminate that we are all people regardless of how we celebrate.  The movie has funny and moving moments. 
Scoring: 3