You're Right to Love Christmas 'TV Movies'

You’re Right to Love Christmas ‘TV Movies’

Predictable script, agreed-upon direction, flawed interpretation… Christmas movies made for television are certainly not the reason cinema is called the “seventh art”. But whatever the Grumpy of this world, the public finds them as tasty as gingerbread men.

“We are in an America that is more and more divided,” comments journalist Pascale Lévesque, who co-hosts the podcast, among others. Burst of Christmas. It is an acute disgust of this division that, according to observers of the phenomenon, would attract viewers to these films a little bobochesbut unifiers.

About a decade ago, when Hallmark, a channel dedicated to made-for-TV movies, began to obtain enviable ratings, competing networks sniffed out a good deal. Lifetime and Netflix, to name a few, have started producing TV movies of Christmas, which now abound on Crave, Noovo and ELLE Fictions in Quebec. And if we see so many of them, it’s because it works, to the point that we produce them all year round today, for all possible and imaginable occasions.

Like hot chocolate for the soul

“The fact that these are films that are predictable and always have a very happy ending is very comforting, explains psychologist Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier. Yes, we know what is coming, but we like to live it.

This comfort factor is all the more true since productions often call on actors who are “losing momentum”, as Pascale Lévesque graciously puts it. Despite their experience, their cachet remains rather low; an ideal combo for a low-budget film. So we end up with Chad Michael Murray from One Tree HillLacey Chabert of Mean GirlsCandace Cameron Bure Full house and even Lindsay Lohan in our Christmas movies cheap, familiar faces that evoke childhood memories in the target audience. “It has this effect comfort food»launches the author of the book The cheese curd route.

Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier believes that the reactivation of memories is one of the reasons for the success of these adorable turnips: “In these films, there are very banal situations, situations that we experience. Well, maybe not a Santa Claus falling from the roof! But in general, we are able to identify with the characters and that reactivates memories, very often family memories, of a more festive time.

In the same spirit, there is this attachment to traditions, including the viewing of Christmas films. “In a period and in a social context where everything is moving very quickly, where there is a lot of anxiety, a lot of worry, a lot of worries, we need benchmarks that allow us to anchor ourselves in our lives”, believes the psychologist, whose reflection resonates with the dividing factor stated at the outset.

A magic formula

The unifying aspect and the stars of the early 2000s are not the only ingredients for a successful tv-movie, believes Pascale Lévesque. It is also necessary to find the common points between all the protagonists, regardless of their origin, their history or their age. “I realize that the common ground is that that I like of these films.

We’ve seen it 100 times: a businesswoman living in a big city finds herself spending the holidays in a village, falls madly in love with a widower and decides to give up everything to devote herself to the art of making snowflakes with sheets of paper. Two characters that everything separated find themselves united in the happy ending of a film completed in 90 minutes, top stopwatch.

But this classic model has tended to wither in recent years. “Sometimes the common ground is that we can lead this life and continue to have our ambitions”, analyzes Pascale Lévesque, who cites as an example The Christmas Bow, in which a violinist pursues her career even after finding love. Revolutionary, what!

Racialized characters, same-sex relationships, and even Hanukkah celebrations eventually found a place (still quite thin, but existing) in these kinds of films. Something to shock many conservative housewives, but also something to show some people that yes, you can be gay, Jewish or Black and make star-shaped cookies. “I know it seems to be the base, admits Pascale. But there are people you have to take by the hand.

If they contribute, unpretentiously and in their own way, to changing mores, these films are perhaps not so objectively bad as they say, even if it is not tomorrow the day before that Falling for Christmaswhich stars Lindsay Lohan, will be nominated for the Oscars.

5 TV movies must-see Christmas

Journey Back to Christmas (2016): A nurse from the 1940s travels through time thanks to a comet and must find the lost Christmas decorations to return to her time. Available on Prime.

A Christmas Switch (2018): A singer whose career does not rise accidentally switches bodies with a woman who heads a record company. Available in French version on Noovo.ca.

A Christmas Miracle (2019): A journalist is on the hunt for a Christmas miracle story with the help of her son and a handsome photographer. Available on Prime with StackTV.

The Christmas Bow (2020): A violinist sees her career on the line after an accident and reunites with a family friend while recovering. Available on Prime with StackTV or four French-language broadcasts scheduled for December on ELLE Fictions.

The Christmas Setup (2020): A New York lawyer returns with his best friend to her mother’s house and reunites with the man he had a crush on in high school. Available on Crave.

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