A Match Made in Mistletoe Parent Guide
This movie is sweet and clean but it really needs a better villain to bump up the plot's tension.
Parent Movie Review
Note: This movie has also been released under the title “Christmas in Washington”.
“Christmas isn’t about opening presents; it’s about opening hearts.” This saying of Emily’s (Natalie Lisinska) late father comes to mind as she gets to know the new ambassador from the (fictional) country of Belmaria. Having just arrived in Washington D.C., Magnus (Damon Runyan) is responsible for the annual Belmarian charity ball and Emily has been hired as the decorator. When Emily meets Magnus, she learns that his priorities are twofold: first, raising more money for the environmental charity than the prior ambassador raised, and second, keeping decorations minimal and the budget modest. Magnus’s late wife loved Christmas and seasonal trappings remind him of her, adding extra impetus to his directive: “decorum; not décor.”
Emily’s goals are directly opposed to the ambassador’s. Restarting her design business after a previous failure and family crises, Emily needs the ball to be a spectacular success, generating publicity and buzz for her new agency. As she debates the decorations with Magnus, he finds his chilly heart melting in the face of her sincerity and enthusiasm.
Like almost every other low budget romantic drama in the film universe, A Match Made in Mistletoe suffers from weak writing and a predictable plot. I’m not exaggerating about the poor quality script. When was the last time you heard a man talk to a male colleague about “opening your heart again”? As my male family members inform me, there are three acceptable non-work topics to discuss at the office: sports, cars, and the weather. Highly emotional conversations are strictly taboo. Also unrealistic is the dialogue given to Magnus’s daughter, Lily (Tessa Kozma). I’m hard-pressed to imagine a ten year old who bounces into a room and says “I feel like I’m in Santa’s workshop. Could I be an elf?”
A more compelling plot would also be a big help. In particular, the script needs more tension: differences of opinion about décor don’t exactly make for a lot of excitement. Creating a more convincing villain would give the story a boost. “Big Dan” (John Cleland) is apparently a ruthless property developer, but further misdeeds are never described. He’s loud and crass but he doesn’t give viewers anything to really worry about. It would also help if the writers had bothered to give the embassy’s critically important charity a name. Having actors refer to “the charity” all the time just sounds fake.
Surprisingly, what saves this festive production is the acting. Natalie Lisinska does a lovely job as Emily, imbuing her with joie de vivre, vulnerability, honesty, and kindness. Her big blue eyes simply overflow with emotion and she has enough wrinkles to make her life experience credible. She feels real on screen, and in the fantasy world conjured up by the frankly ludicrous plot, that’s a significant achievement. Her mother (Kathleen Laskey) also projects vivacity and genuineness with a touch of wackiness. The women hold this film together, but Steff DiDomenicantonio, who plays Magnus’ assistant, has the forced diction of a high school drama student projecting for the back row.
As for larger messages, fear not - there aren’t any. The movie’s overarching theme seems to be that Christmas spirit arises from festive swags and lavishly decorated trees. If you’re looking for mindless, feel-good entertainment that will give you a happy ending and no deep issues, drop some marshmallows in your hot chocolate and have fun.Directed by Adrian Langley. Starring Natalie Lisinska, Damon runyan, James Kall, Kathleen Laskey. Running time: 88 minutes. Theatrical release December 1, 2021. Updated February 24, 2022
Watch the trailer for A Match Made in Mistletoe
A Match Made in Mistletoe
Rating & Content Info
Why is A Match Made in Mistletoe rated TV-PG? A Match Made in Mistletoe is rated TV-PG by the MPAA
Violence: None noted.
Sexual Content: Two women hold hands and gaze affectionately at one another. A man and woman kiss.
Profanity: None noted,
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters drink alcohol in social settings.
Page last updated February 24, 2022
A Match Made in Mistletoe Parents' Guide
Do you think Christmas decorations have a role in fostering the Christmas spirit? What makes you feel the spirit of Christmas? Why?
Related home video titles:
Romances with royalty (not ambassadors) are regular Hollywood fodder. In Christmas with a Prince, a doctor winds up caring for a prince who is an incognito patient. The Prince and Me is a much better romance, featuring a pre-med student who falls in love with a Danish prince who is attending an American university in order to escape the spotlight. An American author falls for a Scottish duke when she buys his ancestral home in A Castle for Christmas.