'The Christmas Promise' review: A lesson in coping with grief and loss
It's hard not to experience that sinking feeling while watching The Christmas Promise. Hallmark's latest film is about grief and joy, with a mix of gut-wrenching pain balanced with fleeting moments of pleasure.
Torrey DeVitto's Nicole's tryst with loss forms the central theme of this romance where carpenter Joe (Dylan Bruce) acts from the sidelines until they realize that their bond could go beyond a business relationship. The 90-minute romance drama, despite its predictability, hits close to home.
Nicole, a toy store owner, is yet to come to terms with her fiance's death. As part of what she thinks is a healing process, she decides to put the house they were building together for sale. Enter Joe, who fixes walls and her heart, all seamlessly over the weeks leading up to Christmas.
'The Christmas Promise' deals with more than just love
The Christmas Promise, a worthwhile watch, beautifully approaches concepts such as death, love, loss, and healing. It may border between dark and light, but that's the charm of it.
DeVitto does a great job of portraying the grieving now-single woman who is finding it hard to soak up the goodness that Christmas offers. But Joe outshines as the friendly and charming agony aunt who doubles up as a renovation expert. The supporting cast does their job of popping in and out of the narrative but never stealing the limelight away from the lead couple.
Hallmark's Christmas movies are all about love, happiness, and miracles. The Christmas Promise checks all boxes, albeit in a measured manner. Here, there are no over-the-top proposals, no outlandish coincidences, or extra cheerful families in their holiday sweaters waiting to gather around a town Christmas tree. This is a mature and straightforward love story between people who have seen tough days and are grappling with the idea of moving on.
What adds depth to The Christmas Promise are Joe's thoughtful gestures. Not only does he encourage Nicole to start her own business, but he also builds her a miniature of the house she and her fiance once built. He thought it would be a nice way to respect his memories, given the house is going up for sale.
Even though it is equal parts fun and emotional, The Christmas Promise is not without its flaws. The pacing is uneven, which may put viewers off, hoping to kick back and watch a fun Christmas film. The central theme is somber, which may not keep up with Hallmark's usual holiday slate. But that's what makes this film unique.
This article reflects the opinions of the writer.