Finding Joy at Christmas
Since the death of her parents, author and motivational speaker Rachel Kennedy (Natalie Knepp) has not returned to her home town of Fall Oaks and as such has become a bit estranged from her brother. But with the town wanting to honour her she reluctantly heads back for a series of events as part of her book tour. But things take an interesting turn when she is saved from an accident by Joy (Bonnie Bedelia - Flowers for Algernon) who encourages Rachel to do something nice for someone else in turn which leads to her volunteering at a struggling community centre where Joy works. Rachel also finds herself working with Jack Nelson (Michael Rady - Christmas in Homestead) and whilst they don't see eye to eye on everything it leads to her taking a critical look at her own life and priorities as they end up becoming close.
I will apologise now because this is only half a movie review and it isn't because I have only watched half of Hallmark's "A Joyous Christmas". Nope this is only half a review because this is a movie I don't want to spoil for you as there is mystery in the storyline. But trust me the half of "A Joyous Christmas" which I will review is still worth it as we watch Rachel return to Fall Oaks and thanks to those people she encounters, Joy and Jack, that she begins to question her own life, her focus on work and the message she talks about in her book about putting yourself first. On top of this we have some other familiar elements from Rachel finding herself becoming close to Jack to the whole community centre on the verge of being closed down. But this side of "A Joyous Christmas" benefits from the sort of dialogue which makes you think about things from the use of time to how counter intuitive it is to put yourself first when there is a crisis.
So without giving anything away "A Joyous Christmas" is one of those Hallmark Christmas movies which moves you and makes you think. And part of that comes from a few bits of perfect casting starting with Natalie Knepp playing a woman who whilst leading her life one way has come to a point where she is beginning to question things and that is a very real thing as many people go through times like this in their lives. But on top of that there is the wonderful Bonnie Bedelia as Joy who is not only a sweet lady full of love for others and some sage advice but there is mystery surrounding her which when we meet her spikes our curiosity. And there are plenty of good supporting performances with Steve Bacic playing Rachel's pushy manager with enough single mindedness to make him nasty but not overly nasty.
What this all boils down to is that whilst I enjoy the fun Hallmark Christmas movies it is movies like "A Joyous Christmas" which I love due to their uplifting, moving and thought provoking nature. Plus I like the fact that this isn't just another obvious movie as there is some mystery to it as well.