Blessing Brings Hope at Christmas
I need to say straight away that "The Christmas Hope" is the third movie in a series which started with "The Christmas Shoes" followed by "The Christmas Blessing" and then this. The connection between these three Christmas movies is the character of Nathan Andrews who in this movie is played by Ian Ziering but unlike in the previous movie is not the focus. Instead the focus is really on a social worker and her husband who are having difficulties but everyone as in the previous movies are connected in various ways and it is those connections which provide plenty of oh moments, moments which you won't get unless you have watched both "The Christmas Shoes" and "The Christmas Blessing".
Social worker Patricia Addison (Madeleine Stowe - Saving Milly) has already had to find a foster home for one baby in the lead up to Christmas and when she finds herself with Emily (Tori Barban) a recently orphaned girl to house, it is impossible so ends up taking her home. But home is not the best place as since the death of her son Sean (Garth Merkeley) two years earlier her relationship with her husband Mark (James Remar - The Girl Next Door) has been strained to the point that Mark is rarely home. But Mark warms to Emily and wants the young girl to spend Christmas with them, wanting to give her a proper Christmas, something which Patricia doesn't feel up to as she still misses her son. Meanwhile Dr. Nathan Andrews (Ian Ziering) and his wife are expecting their first child when he discovers a gift which one of his patients dropped and he had made a promise to return it to the patients' parents but forgot all about it.
So like in the previous movies in this series "The Christmas Hope" features a storyline of interweaving characters but as mentioned the focus of this third movie is on Patricia and Mark plus young Emily. The focus is on them because their marriage is in trouble as Patricia hasn't got over the death of their son two years earlier and by having Emily stay with them brings emotions to ahead. But as I said there are other characters and we have a young boy who when we meet is trying to leave a cafe without paying who we learn later on knew Patricia and Mark's son Sean. And of course there is Nathan Andrews who discovers the gift that a patient he lost on the operating table dropped on the way into ER a couple of years earlier. These connections may seem extreme to those who enter this series at the third movie but for those who have watched the previous two movies will appreciate the importance of it all.
And in a strange way that is really about it because the joy of "The Christmas Hope" as was the case with "The Christmas Shoes" and "The Christmas Blessing" is in the discovery and warmth of the unfolding drama. Sadly whilst we have Nathan Andrews again as well as the use of the same haunting music from the previous movies those are the only connections as there is no Rob Lowe this time and we have Ian Ziering taking on the lesser role of Nathan. It does lose something with the lack of Rob Lowe but then in Madeleine Stowe and James Remar it makes up for it as they deliver characters who are easy to warm to.
What this all boils down to is that "The Christmas Hope" is a pleasant third movie in this series of movies which whilst not quite as good as the previous movies still has a beautiful storyline and performances.