I’ll start this review by saying that I dislike anything related to Hallmark or Lifetime holiday movies or even the bad Netflix ones. I find them to be sappy, often empty of real emotion due to bad dialogue and worse acting. In all reality, they offend all of my tomboy sensibilities.
That said, when I hit play on “Christmas in the Smokies” a couple years back on Netflix I wasn’t expecting to sit through the entire thing let alone enjoy it. Within five minutes I found myself sucked into the small town, Smokey Mountain charm that it offered. The next day I found myself wanting to watch it again. This one was going to stick with me.
Sarah Lancaster plays Shelby, a sweet yet tenacious woman running her parents farm, a place she had lived her entire life. The town is populated by endearing folks who love their small town life. That is until the local bank gets a new owner an starts calling in mortgage debts on local farms so the owner can but all the land to build a resort. The obvious evil corporation cliches run deep in this one, but the charm of the film makes it easy to look past it.
In Shelby’s past is the love of her life, Mason, who deserted her so he could have a big country music career. He returns to his small town roots after hitting rock bottom, much to Shelby’s dislike. When the bank threatens to foreclose after Christmas if Shelby doesn’t pay off their mortgages (there are at least 2), Mason offers to help by doing a concert on the farm to raise money. Of course, there’s always a twist. Mason gets an offer to get his career on track and Shelby feels the deja vu of their past creep back up. Mason must choose between Shelby and his career.
I could say that it is Sarah Lancaster’s performance that carries this film but there are so many things that I like about it that she just adds to the beauty of it. How she doesn’t have a bigger career and isn’t a household name is beyond me. Alan Powell (Mason Wyatt in the film) certainly isn’t bad to look at even if his performance is a bit bland next to Sarah Lancaster’s.
This one is a film I really enjoy, but don’t expect me to have a Hallmark type movie marathon anytime soon. “Christmas in the Smokies” is currently streaming on Netflix.