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Carole’s Christmas has a nearly perfect mix of cheesy, but cute, relationships, mixed with the unfortunate realities many people go through.
|Directed By||David Decoteau|
|Written By||Jay Cipriani|
|Date Released (OWN)||11/22/2019|
|Genre(s)||Family, Holiday, Drama, Comedy, Romance|
Plot Summary/ Review
Since college, Carole and Marcus have been together, and that has led to a marriage, their daughter Maggie and their son Travis. But, after Marcus loses his job and his landscaping business struggles, combined with Carole needing $10 million for a new affordable housing development, there is a fear part of the dream is over. This leads to Carole wishing that she perhaps took a job at Nexcorp that she could have worked at around the time she got pregnant with Travis. Said wishful thinking conjures up Iris, who allows Carole to live out a few different lives to see if the life she currently has is so bad.
Marcus and Carole’s Relationship
The whole college part which features how Marcus and Carole met and became a couple, when I tell you those 5 to 10 minutes are 90s-level romance – honestly, it’ll make you wonder what Jay Cipriani could do outside of making holiday movies. For, genuinely, when the flashforward happens to them in present day, honestly, you may find yourself wishing you got to see all the years the film skips through to continue to see all the warm nights and cold winters and get a sense of how things were as they got married, had their first child, and so much more.
The Whole Family Dynamic
This isn’t to say when the film expands for the holiday element, it then falls on its face. As you meet Maggie, Travis, Donovan, Tiffany, and Marcus’ mom Arlene, all it does is make you wish this was a mini-series broken into maybe 2 to 4 parts. If just to get a full sense of how the relationships were built since, unlike a lot of movies, you find yourself genuinely interested in how the lead character created their life and friendships outside of their connection with their spouse.
Does Jackée play a huge role in the film? I would say not. However, she brings the funny multiple times and is a consistent welcomed presence on screen, not even due to nostalgia but being an actual asset that makes the film better.
On The Fence
The Alternate Lives Slow Down The Movie
When the film strips Carole of what hooks you in, you’ll find yourself getting a bit bored. For as we see this alternate world with her working at Nexcorp and dealing with the decisions she would have made to get there, as much as Kimberly Elise’s charm keeps you going, it’s like you are hanging from a cliff, ready to change the channel, and she is digging in her nails, into your arm, to keep you around.
This exceeded my expectations a bit. Mostly because this seemed a bit more in line with what you’d expect from OWN. At least in terms of this balance that it seems they are trying to achieve with their holiday films by showing middle-class Black folk prepping for the holidays while acknowledging life doesn’t just stop because Christmas, among other celebrations, are coming. People still have to make money, secure funding, and take care of their children.
Yet, in the long run, the benefit of the holidays are having a moment to take a look around and realize, as tough as things are, the work you’ve done so far has given you quite a lot. So even if for a moment, you get a chance to appreciate those who stick by you throughout the year and value you as part of their family or community.
Would Watch Again?
Carole’s Christmas is a film to put into your holiday rotation. Maybe not the first film, or something to sandwich in between the classics, but could be a good part of your warm-up.
Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing) – Recommended
While by no means a classic, Carole’s Christmas’ strengths make it something that can’t be a one-and-done film. Which by no means implies that it is perfect, but it has more than enough good to mask the issues you could have with the slower parts of the film.