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Home TV Movies A Christmas Stray (2021) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)

A Christmas Stray (2021) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)

by Amari

A Christmas Stray addresses all those who focus on the hustle, perhaps out of fear of economic destitution, and reminds them there are more important things than money.


Director(s)Roger M. Bobb
Screenplay ByTobin Addington
Date Released12/14/2021
Where To WatchOWN
Genre(s)Comedy, Romance, Holiday
Duration2 hours
Content RatingTV-PG
Noted Cast
EthanAndra Fuller
FosterRhyon Nicole Brown

Film Summary

With Ethan wanting to make it big at The Bellington Group, he is ready to hound a potential client, even on Christmas. However, thanks to a dog, later named Gopher, he crashes his car and ends up in a small town called Beacon Hills. From the moment he gets there, Ethan is annoyed. For if it isn’t any ride-sharing options or a rent a car place, it is the small-town culture that gets on his nerves. However, what doesn’t help is the dog who caused this following him around like he raised him.

But, it is because of that dog that Ethan meets Dr. Foster Price, the local veterinarian, who is single, maybe not looking to mingle, but with both Ethan and Foster catching each other’s eyes? While neither may have wished for someone special this Christmas, it seems that is the gift they’re gonna get.

Things To Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered

  • Reason(s) for Film Rating: Outside of some light drinking, not to worry about here, folks.
  • So, whose dog is that?

Review

Highlights

There Was No Cheating

I don’t know why so many Christmas movies, especially featuring people of color, involve some form of cheating, including messy transitions from one relationship to another. But, thankfully, that isn’t the case here. Ethan and Foster are single, and their only commitments are to their jobs. Thus making it so, as you see them eyeing one another, being shy or anxious, maybe even flirty, there is nothing to taint the feelings you know are about to come.

It Works As Both A Christmas Movie And A Reminder To Live Life Beyond Accomplishments

While all Christmas and holiday movies usually contain some kind of message, the topic is usually family, forgiveness, and things of that nature. The type of stuff that puts Christ in Christmas. A Christmas Stray doesn’t really do that. It takes place during the Christmas season, and there are conversations about Christmas traditions, decorations, and celebrations, but that’s the shallow level offering.

The meat of the film deals with giving up a sense of control, or even fear, and learning to enjoy yourself and the company of people around you. Foster, for example, used to live her life based on a plan that, despite outgrowing, she stuck to until she realized that continuing to commit to said plan could mean getting someone else involved and being stuck in her trajectory out of guilt.

Then with Ethan, because of the financial issues his father had and how that led to the dissolution of his family, you can see an economic fear. This makes him penny smart, dollar stupid, and seemingly averse to experiences, things, and people who can’t make him, or who he works for, money. And with these two characters, we explore what it means to be married to your work, keeping your head down, and not enjoying life. All for a hustle that, if you died today, someone would likely step over your corpse and continue tomorrow.

Nearly Everyone Was Given A Backstory

I don’t think I can recall a movie that had damn near every speaking role give you an idea of who they are and where they come from. Everyone had a story, from Ethan talking about his childhood in Chicago to Foster speaking on her life in New York to people noting what they did in San Francisco, Seattle, Philly, and more. And while I wouldn’t say the supporting characters were notable enough to name them, I appreciate the effort of showing how small towns draw people from various walks of life, usually from places where it is easy to get lost in the crowd.

Foster and Ethan Were Cute

Foster and Ethan taking pictures together

Here is the thing we loved about Ethan and Foster, they were cute, but they were cute in a way that didn’t give you butterflies, swoon, or envious. During the two or three days we see them together, you get a sense of peace when watching them. Like, this isn’t some teenage, hot, and heavy romance or a case of two attractive people flirting with one another. Between talking about their childhoods, seeing them dance, and how you can imagine them shifting their worlds to make room for each other, it’s like they found who they needed to rest easy.

On The Fence

The Dog Played A Minimal Part In All This

Gopher, the dog, is seen throughout the film, but his role is similar to you seeing a breeze and a bell gently ringing in any other Christmas movie. And while a cute dog, who doesn’t necessarily get in the way, I wouldn’t say he adds value either. Gopher’s inclusion feels more like a gimmick since dogs are cute than because he amplifies anything.

Overall

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended

A Christmas Stray might be one of the best OWN For The Holiday Christmas movies yet. It is well-acted, doesn’t have anyone cheating, physically, emotionally, or has characters tapping the line. Add in it presents a message to viewers about taking control of your life and focusing on what’s important. Especially considering how fleeting time is and the opportunities there are besides chasing that next project, check, or promotion.

Hence the positive label and recommendation. With A Christmas Stray, you get nearly everything you’d want from a Christmas movie, without some of the flaws that too many writers treat like an obligation to the genre.

Available On/ At Amazon

Movie Directory

An old school film reel drawn by artist Dean Nelson.

Ratings

  • Recommended: Some of the best-seen movies we have ever watched and mentioned to friends, family, and strangers as films that need to be seen.
  • Positive (Worth Seeing): Whether you’ll have to go to the movies, download, or stream, movies of this category are worth your time and money with few, if any, qualms from us.
  • Mixed (Divisive): Due to this movie having a few quirks, of which may work for some and for others be a problem, we believe your enjoyment of this movie will depend on your taste.
  • Negative (Acquired Taste): While one or two elements kept us going until the end, unfortunately, we’re of the opinion this film never reached the potential it was marketed to have.

Special Categories/ Tags

  • Indie: By our definition, independent films are films you have to seek to find due to limited availability or lack of a marketing push.
  • Film Festival: Featured in this tag are films and shorts which were discovered thanks to various film festivals, so some of the productions may not have wide availability but still may deserve to be on your watch.
  • Shorts: Be it ten or fifteen minutes, or a half-hour, these quick teases or films get right to the point, often show the potential of filmmakers and the actors who have joined them in their journey.
Title Card - A Christmas Stray (2021)
A Christmas Stray (2021) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Who Is This For?
Those who want Christmas movies that may not be about people seeing their families but present what the holidays mean beyond the economic aspect and instead focus on it being a time to reconnect with loved ones and what really matters in life.
Highlights
There Was No Cheating
It Works As Both A Christmas Movie And A Reminder To Live Life Beyond Accomplishments
Foster and Ethan Were Cute
Nearly Everyone Was Given A Backstory
Disputable
The Dog Played A Minimal Part In All This
85

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