Once the film tones down the “Take Down The Patriarchy!” talk, you get a decent holiday movie with lots of awkward relationships and some cringey moments.
|Directed By||Theresa Bennett|
|Written By||Laura Donney|
|Date Released (FreeForm)||12/4/2019|
|Genre(s)||Holiday, Comedy, Romance|
Plot Summary/ Review
Poor Jess. In her late 20s and barely able to hold a job, has issues with commitment, and just as things seem like they could get good, she dies. But, luckily, while dead, a few people can still see and hear her – even touch her on special occasions. One being Kara, her best friend, and the other Ben, the guy who could have been the one.
Between those two, and Ben’s sister Mel, the search for what Jess needs to ascend is pursued.
Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs
My motto is dead until proven s*****.
Mae and Kara
To be frank, Mae and Kara’s relationship is far more interesting than Ben and Jess’. I don’t know if it is because you rarely see couples like them or people like them, or because their awkwardness felt less forced, but you’ll wish this movie focused on them and gave you some sense if they were long game or couldn’t move past a flirtatious, maybe casual, stage.
The Awkwardness of Ben and Jess
Which isn’t to say Ben and Jess are outright terrible. At times, how awkward they are around one another is cute, and Dee, working with Sampson, is a lovely combination. One that certainly presents the idea they could work with one another again and hit it out of the park. The problem is, there is a thin line between awkward and cringey.
On The Fence
Jess Can Be Cringey
And Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas, doesn’t so much dance on that line but fall over and pick itself back up. It starts off that way in the beginning by making Jess the kind of feminist who seems not so much seeking equality, but wants to be a disruptor. Not even for things that make sense like pay equality or not being spoken to like a child, but her wanting a female version of a holiday figure. You know the type. Those who’d rather reinvent than try to create something new.
But considering Jess’ crusade ends early on in the movie, thankfully, you’d think that would allow her to move forward. However, another issue is Jess is kind of written like Kat, from The Bold Type if she didn’t have her stuff together, and while it is a bit unfair to Dee to make such a comparison, there is this push to wonder if she is fine-tuning her personality in roles than trying to become a character. Making it so, as we watch Jess and Ben go out, before and after death, it is less and less adorable and more weird. Making it so, eventually, you’re not so much invested in them as you are Kara and Mae, who you can tell are not going to get the full relationship treatment.
It’s Not Really Christmasy
Anyone else hates when a film is made to seem like a holiday movie, but barely deals with any holiday? With this film, it isn’t about Christmas, Hannukah, or even Kwanzaa really, it’s more so about the winter. Making it seem like a cheap marketing play to involve the idea of Christmas being part of this when it really isn’t.
I have to admit I was disappointed in the main couple and fiending for more out of the one the film, admittedly, felt like it slapped in there to get some browny points. Meaning, did this film really want to dedicate appropriate time to this Asian new age girl and this straight-laced Black woman? Not really. However, the props it could get from having two queer people in a holiday movie was something they couldn’t pass up because – diversity. Even if the diversity feels more like tokenism than inclusion.
Would Watch Again?
No. This is the kind of film that had potential but didn’t fulfill it and then presented this alternative to the original sell and fumbled that as well.
Rating: Mixed (Divisive)
When it comes to holiday movies, you have to put yourself in the mindset of this is going to be cheesy, not realistic, and you’re probably going to question why that character or that story got developed that way? But even with those expectations in place, Ghosting: The Spirit of Christmas feels quite disappointing. Not to the point of giving it a negative rating, but I’d definitely say if you aren’t a holiday movie person, which this film is loosely, or don’t like cheesy romances, this is not for you.
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