Hallmark Movies

by Ursula Stickelmaier, Editor-In-Chief

Imagine yourself sitting on your couch, cuddled up at home, ready to start the newest Christmas movie you’ve found on Netflix or Hulu or wherever else you go to watch TV. The movie opens up and you’re greeted with the main character, some business person who most likely is so caught up in their job they don’t have time for Christmas. You watch as they’re sent to a charming little town by their boss on a business deal where they will meet the love of their life and decide that maybe Christmas isn’t so bad. The movie is halfway through when you get the sense that you’ve seen this before, like you already know the exact ending even though the movie isn’t over. 


All this déjà vu isn’t just something that’s in your head. Most likely, if you’ve seen any Christmas romance movie before you’ve seen some variation of what you’re watching right now. From characters to setting everything feels the same. Everything is so overly done that each new movie is just a new reimagined version of the last one.


Let’s start with the setting. While the characters and plot are incredibly important parts of any film, none of it would work without the appropriate setting to place them in. This is no different for a holiday movie. Now when it comes to a Hallmark movie the setting is usually limited to either a small town, a nondescript city, or a vague European country. Each just as “magical” as the last, and each with a shockingly low population.


And if you’re wondering why all these movies look like they’re filmed in the exact same location, it’s because they kind of are. Most movies you find on the Hallmark channel are filmed in Canada with the rest being shot in the Northeast region of the United States. As long as it looks like a snowstorm just blew through shown by sheer amount of snow piling up despite the weather always being nice and sunny, the location is set.


When it comes to the characters of these holiday romcoms the lack of variety continues. Though there has been more representation in holiday films in the recent years, with Hallmark releasing their first Christmas movie featuring a same-sex couple this year, typically you get the same straight white couple from movie to movie. Not only are their personalities the exact same, with attitudes ranging from being too busy to enjoy Christmas to love’s Christmas an alarming amount, they also all look eerily similar. 


Most actors in Hallmark movies act in several films for the channel building a community of sorts throughout the network. Lacey Chabert, more commonly known for her roles in “Mean Girls” and “Not Another Teenage Movie,” has been in over 30 movies on the channel. Old stars creating a career for themselves on the Hallmark channel isn’t exclusive to Chabert though. This is also seen in Candace Cameron Bure, who played DJ Tanner in “Full House” and has been in over 10 movies on the channel, and Danica McKeller, who’s been seen in shows such as “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Bang Theory” and has also starred in at least 16 different Hallmark holiday films.


Though maybe it’s for the best that the cast in these films rarely changes because the plot in every single one of these movies doesn’t change either so you at least know the actors know what they’re doing. 


Though not every film is the exact same, they typically follow one of two storylines. The first is that of the no nonsense business CEO who is sent to a small town in order to trick the poor inn owner into some sort of backhand deal, only that inn owner happens to be a charming person that helps the main character get their love for Christmas back. The second storyline consists of a prince from a fictional European country that is in line for the crown but can’t inherit the throne till he gets married, which just so happens to need to be done before Christmas, though it just might be possible through a chance meeting with someone of no royal descent that will most likely cause conflict amongst those fighting for the throne. 


Another common characteristic in these movies is the hint of magic throughout it all. Now they won’t always go out and admit to it, but throughout the film the idea that something more magical is going on is heavily implied. Sometimes this extra addition to the plot makes the movie more fun and enjoyable and sometimes it adds more confusion to an already absurd movie. 


But the biggest thing that ties all these movies together is the lesson you learn at the end. The lesson being that when it comes to the holidays it doesn’t matter what bad things may happen as long as you are surrounded by those you love. So despite the unclear locations with names that could only exist in fictional tales, a stereotypical cast with the love interests posed predictably on the cover of the film, and the same overworked plot that you could guess in the first few minutes of the movie, Hallmark movies may be ridiculous but they can also add a bit more fun to the holiday season.