Christmas With You Review
Reviewed on Netflix, Nov. 15, 2022. Running time: 89 MIN.
Christmas With You Review
“Christmas with You” gives every Netflix subscriber’s cinematic diet a revitalising, sugary boost while being as sweet, sticky, and snappy as a candy cane. Freddie Prinze Jr., who co-stars in this Christmas offering about a burnt-out pop artist looking for love and creative inspiration, is pleased to return to the rom-com genre after a 20-year absence. Additionally, it provides unexpected seasonal treats with broad appeal. Its ability to combine humorous antics and poignancy with ease allows the idiosyncrasies of Latin American culture to mould and amplify its true emotional impact. And what a beautiful gift that ends up being.
Aimee Garcia’s recording artist Angelina, who has long dominated the pop charts, is currently at a creative dead end. The music business as a whole and her record producer Barry (Lawrence J. Hughes) are keen to compare her to labelmate Cheri (Nicolette Stephanie Templier), who has better songs, social media know-how, and dewy beauty. In addition to her mother’s passing a few years earlier, Angelina’s effort to remain relevant has had a negative impact on her creative output.
Additionally, she is attempting to end her poor relationship with egotistical soap star Ricardo (Gabriel Sloyer), with whom she is only cohabitating in order to improve her unimpressive online reputation. Barry gives her an ultimatum: come up with a Christmas-themed chart-topper in a few days or else she’s fired. This furthers her fears.
Angelina (Zenzi Williams) and her firecracker assistant Monique (Zenzi Williams) flee to upstate New York in search of serenity and a rebirth of their holiday spirit. They want to surprise Cristina, a 15-year-old fan who was moved by Deja Monique Cruz’s rendition of one of Angelina’s songs. When they get there, a snowfall forces them to stay at Cristina’s house with her feisty grandma Frida and her widowed father Miguel (Prinze, Jr.) (Socorro Santiago). It appears that Miguel is also a struggling songwriter. Angelina believes that if they can cooperate, she will be able to reclaim her career, and he will be able to obtain some much-needed funding. She didn’t anticipate falling in love, which will affect both her objectives for her job and the lovely music they are producing.
Director Gabriela Tagliavini almost immediately recognises the narrative’s powerful rhythmic pulse in the spectacular opening titles, which highlight her heroine’s vocal power and tenacity. She even adds glitz to the transitions between settings by using illuminated New York City landmarks and the comforting winter chill of a small rural suburb. The rich, uplifting thematic underpinnings and character design are enhanced by the incorporation of cultural heritage, which ranges from scenes that highlight food to those that celebrate unique traditions.
Technical craftsmanship merits a spot in Christmas stuffers as well. Michael Jablow, the editor, and Tagliavini are adept at capturing the action-packed ebbs and flows of the scene, editing with humorous beats in mind and knowing just how long to hang on the sentimental ones. Wing Lee’s production design is brimming with life, where a teen bedroom tangibly feels lived-in and the family’s dining and living rooms are decked out in twinkly-lit holly jolly, despite a noticeable flattening of the imagery’s depth and dimension (an all-too-common quality with films of its ilk on the streamer).
Garcia gives a charming and emotional performance that is audibly audible in both the comedy stylings and the more melodramatic chords played. Her interactions with Williams, who is this movie’s stealth MVP with her wonderfully timed replies and charisma, have a playful authenticity as well. Prinze gives Miguel a warmth and likeable vulnerability even though, as written, he is tragically a little one-note. He and Garcia produce a considerable deal of chemistry together to sell the collaborative creative effort and, eventually, the love tale.
Although “Christmas with You” is a holiday trifle, there is still enough to be satisfied by the festivities on show, even if only momentarily. The movie has vitality and soul as contagious as a pop song, signalling a welcome return to form for a figure greatly missed from the genre he helped launch into the popular culture zeitgeist. And even though it was well organised, this little tune is catchy.