'A Castle for Christmas Review': Brooke Shields' romcom is all about second chance at love
Contains spoilers for 'A Castle for Christmas'
'A Castle for Christmas' is the sort of fantasy all of us would have dreamed of at some stage in our lives. It's gentle and comic in parts, easy on the eyes, downright sappy, adorably cheesy, and even manages to induce a few joyful tears. The holiday-themed Brooke Shields' tale directed by Mary Lambert is all about love and the effect it has on people especially at this time of the year.
The Netflix rom-com follows Sophie Brown (Shields), a successful rom-com author, divorcee, and a mom to a teen daughter. After a meltdown following a botched ending to a novel, she buys a castle in Scotland, meets the Duke who one would have only imagined from a book, and shows the world that everybody deserves a second chance at love. And perhaps, the second time, these relationships are meaningful and genuine and even meant to last forever. Cheesy? Blame Shields for that one.
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Brown garners global fame for her 'Emma Gale' series. However, the decorated author comes under intense flak by her fans after she chooses to kill off her protagonist’s love interest — a decision fuelled by her own bitter divorce after her husband left her for another woman.
A breakdown on-air in 'The Drew Barrymore Show' sees her rethink her moves and she heads off to Dun Dunbar, a tiny town in Scotland that's host to the castle in which her father was raised. Her father, the son of the groundskeeper, had a penchant for telling romantic stories about his childhood, inspiring Brown as a writer. However, surprises, both pleasant and stinging await her in town. For starters, the place recognizes her as a world-famous novelist, and to her dismay, the castle is up for sale and is owned by Myles (Cary Elwes), a bit of stiff-necked dobber, so to speak.
Eventually, the two come to a deal, a 90-day escrow that allows Brown (later McGuinty, her true family name) to take immediate ownership provided Myles continues to remain with her at the castle during that time. The latter is sure of Brown jetting off as quickly as she arrived after putting in her a dingy, damp, and leaky room, however, the troubles just bring them more closer. The other key character who just enhances the cuteness quotient is Hamish, an adorable and over-excited dog following Brown like a puppy.
The romantic repartee and comedic flirtations between Myles and Brown form the most enjoyable parts of the Yuletide movie. There's some stress the characters undergo, and predictably so. That said, it is a Christmas movie, so there's no room for bad and tragic endings.
The supporting cast gets ample screentime as well. Brown's knitter’s club is woven seamlessly. Helen (Tina Gray, Angus (Stephen Oswald) are still overwhelmed with grief after the death of his husband. Innkeeper Maisie (Andi Osho) is yet to forgive former beau Thomas (Lee Ross), while baker Rhona’s (Eilidh Loan) journey is about staying herself rather than being egged to do something. There are glaring errors, but Lamber consciously steers clear of complicating the plot by bringing in the exes of both the lead characters.
The pacing is slow at times, and the cheese factor is a bit of an overkill, but this is forgivable after the cast puts in performances that keep us firmly in the story and hope that nothing bad should come to the quaint townsfolk and the still-navigating-a-relationship couple. Just over 50, Brown and Myles look for a rewarding life with each other and that forms the crux of the story. It's all about a second chance at love. And just as the world would root for one, they get their second chance and make it work.
'A Castle for Christmas' is streaming on Netflix.