Ellie, Liz & Beth
As made for TV Christmas movies go "Three Wise Women" is two things, amusingly clever but also annoyingly cheesy. The cleverness comes from the fact that the story is not an adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol but obviously inspired by it with a guardian angel helping a woman by bringing her past self and her future self to the present to show her where things have gone wrong and where they could end up. But unfortunately so much of "Three Wise Women" is cheesy that it ends up being annoying and it is a shame as the basic idea is good.
When Ellie (Lauren Coe) witnesses the two most important men in her life cheating on their loved ones her life changed for ever as she said she would never love anyone. It meant her guardian angel Tom (Hugh O'Conor - Reuniting the Rubins) had failed and had to leave but 16 years later Tom is given a second chance as Archangel Green (John Rhys-Davies) shows him that Liz, as she now calls herself, is about to make the worst decision in her life, one which Tom sees will lead to a life of loneliness through being focussed solely on work. Not able to intervene directly Tom decides to use the past and the future versions of Liz to try and show her the error of her ways.
The first thing to mention is that whilst it is very clear to see the influence of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in "Three Wise Women" the movie is actually based on an original story by Cecelia Ahern. And to give credit where it is due I like what Ahern has done with the story giving Dickens' familiar tale an amusing, clever twist. The whole idea of a guardian angel bringing the past and future versions of Liz to the present to intervene in her life is fun and whilst simple the fact we have Ellie, Liz and Beth as she uses different parts of her name as she ages and matures is a nice touch.
So what does this mean, well first up whilst "Three Wise Women" has this classic element of Liz being shown the error of her ways before she makes a big decision it is also a romantic comedy as she bumps into Bobby a friend from her childhood who had a huge crush on her. So in a cheesy way whilst we have Ellie and Beth along with guardian angel Tom trying to make Liz see the light we also get the romantic complications as she is due to marry Peter but feels something for Bobby. And to add to the fun we have people who meet Ellie see her as a spitting image of Liz as a teen but Liz doesn't see it. It is all relatively straight forwards and whilst it takes you a little time to realise what that big decision is that twist is actually quite enjoyable.
The trouble is that despite having an enjoyable cast which includes Fionnula Flanagan, Amy Huberman and Lauren Coe everything comes across as a little too cheesy. It is a case that everything is over acted, in some cases on purpose as in a scene where Beth tries to spook Liz, but it also makes it too corny to the point where it becomes pantomime like. It is a shame as it spoils what is a good idea and also a movie which has some nice scene framing as the beautiful sky line is used to add an air of romance.
What this all boils down to is that "Three Wise Women" is to be honest quite typical of a made for TV Christmas movie, it is full of Christmas charm but also Christmas cheese. It means that if you enjoy good natured TV movies you will love this fun twist on Dickens' classic tale but if you dislike cheesy over acting you will hate it.