Hallmark Christmas Movie Review: Christmas at Pemberley Manor
Movie: Christmas at Pemberley Manor
Starring: Jessica Lowndes, Michael Rady, Cole Gleason, and Maddie McCormick
Straight out of the gate, Hallmark tries to woo us with character names taken from our beloved Pride and Prejudice — the root from which all romance movies have blossomed. Elizabeth Bennett is a party planner who loves white coats, green scarves, and matching project binders.
Her college friend George, who is the young handsome mayor of a quaint small town in Connecticut, has asked Elizabeth to come down and help with the Christmas festival. Although he’s not as much of a rascal as Austen’s Mr. Wickham, Georgey Boy does have an ulterior motive.
He likes Elizabeth! And his assistant Jane can totally tell. Elizabeth, of course, has no clue and babbles on about how George once asked her out by writing something in the front cover of a Jane Eyre novel. How darling. Then a dude named Travis cuts the line to get coffee in the outdoor kiosk by the courthouse. Elizabeth is irritated to learn that this kid, whose name should have been Charles, is getting coffee for his boss and thinks that it’s totally fine to disrespect others in line.
Elizabeth is not having it. She marches over to the vehicle they call a limo, but is clearly an SUV, and tells the man inside that he needs to calm down and get a little Christmas cheer.
Say hello to our official meet cute of the two leading characters. Darcy, meet Elizabeth. George, say good-bye to your second chance.
The next day, all hell breaks loose. Can I say “hell” in a Hallmark Christmas movie review?
Anyway, the town gazebo falls into a sink hole thanks to a main water line break. QUEL DOMMAGE! What will the citizens of Lambton do? Where will they serve the coffee now and who will light the tree for heaven’s sake?
Elizabeth to the rescue. Of course they should use Pemberley Manor. She drove by it on the way into town and it’s perfect. It’s just like a Hallmark card (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)!
Sadly, the manor is set to be torn down and turned into dumb old condos. But that doesn’t stop Elizabeth from knocking on the front door and nearly swallowing her tongue when Darcy answers. He’s not interested, thankyouverymuch, and shuts the door. Elizabeth works her magic and “complains” to the people who will be purchasing the manor, assuring them that her aggravation will be assuaged if they just let the town put on the Christmas Festival at the manor.
Calm, cool, collected, and dressed totally in navy to prove he has zero Christmas spirit, Darcy offers to help Elizabeth, but only if she keeps his name out of the publicity. Then the billionaire gives her a few dozen Benjamins to purchase every candy cane, sparkly ornament, and roles of glittery wrapping paper this side of Hertfordshire.
When they return to Pemberley to set up Santa’s workshop in Darcy’s front yard, Elizabeth is shocked to learn that he doesn’t have a tree inside his home. Shouldn’t there be some sort of holiday cheer on every vertical surface? Elizabeth to the rescue again!
Thankfully, the caretaker of Pemberley Manor painstakingly preserved all seventy-five boxes of Balsam Hill decorations, even though no one has lived in the home for years. Elizabeth and Darcy enjoy a lovely montage of tree decorating, cookie frosting, sleigh riding, and general merriment. By the end of the two-minute rendition of “Joy to the World,” Darcy is in a red sweater. Mission accomplished.
Flames are further fanned with the official festival soloist gets the flu. Luckily, Elizabeth is a proficient singer and can bust out “O Holy Night’ with ease. Darcy finds this super attractive. So much so that he leaves his house to stand on the front porch to listen. They find each other after and exchange pleasantries.
A local reporter takes a picture of Elizabeth and Darcy shaking hands and it makes the paper. Elizabeth’s boss sees it and books the first flight into Lambton so she can hand hold the billionaire herself. She puts Elizabeth in the background (where she belongs) and takes over the entire event, replacing atrocious hay bales with silver tables and chairs like a civilized person. Oh, and her last name is Bingley of course.
Woe to Elizabeth. George sees his opportunity to strike while she’s vulnerable and asks her to dinner. Then he walks her back to the charming Lambton Inn located just downtown, east of the sink hole. He halfway professes his love and Elizabeth lets him down gently, as only a Hallmark Christmas movie leading lady can. She’s in love with Darcy. They hug it out and George goes about his merry way, glad that his friend has found true love.
An accurate reaction, don’t you think?
Across town, Christopher the caretaker, who looks amazingly like Santa Claus, encourages Darcy to go after Elizabeth. He can tell that she loves him! Also, she sent Santa a wish that she would find true love this Christmas season and he wants it to come true!
When Darcy rolls up to the inn, he sees George and Elizabeth in what he believes is a loving embrace. He decides right then and there that he will leave town because bah humbug.
The next morning, Elizabeth is concerned. The Christmas Festival extravaganza is being packed away and it’s the day before Christmas Eve. WHAT?! Caroline explains that the manor has been sold and the new owners don’t want the liability of all the people traipsing around a tree. PS: Darcy is gone.
OH NO HE DIDN’T!
George, Jane, and Elizabeth are determined to save Christmas. In a business detail that is too boring to explain, the team learns that the deal isn’t technically done until the board approves. That won’t happen for days. The festival is back on!
Darcy is at the airport with Travis, who has known him for five days, but he listens to his young squire when Travis explains that Elizabeth is in love with him and is determined to give the people of Lambton the festival they deserve. Darcy is all in, thanks to that thirty second speech.
But now he’s snowed in and he can’t get to Elizabeth to tell her he loves her. Christopher to the rescue! He just happened to be passing by in his sleigh and gives Darcy a ride. They leave Travis and the driver in the snow to freeze.
They finally arrive back at Pemberley. Darcy is able to step in to recite The Night Before Christmas when the local news anchorman’s wife goes into labor. It’s Elizabeth’s turn to swoon. Darcy makes his way over to her and they share a kiss in front of the manor door, all decked out with lights. Then they share ANOTHER one. TWO KISSES!
- You don’t have to enjoy a spontaneous snowball fight to fall in love.
- If you want to fall in love for real, write a letter to Santa.
- It can be both snowing and sunny at the same time in Connecticut.
- Even if only twenty people live in the town, it’s important to give them a festival.
Christmas at Pemberley Manor = C+