'Let It Snow': Netflix's new romantic comedy is light-hearted and charming but falls short of becoming another 'Love Actually'
It is Jubilee's and Stuart's story that rises above the rest. Played by Merced and Moore, their story feels like a young-adult, Christmas-y version of Richard Linklater's 'Before' franchise.
There may be more than a month to go for Christmas, but that doesn't mean you don't have to get into full-on Christmas mode as Netflix, Lifetime, and Hallmark release a plethora of Christmas movies.
Netflix's first offering of the genre this year is 'Let It Snow', adapted from the book of the same name, featuring three stories written by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. Unlike the book which featured the stories separately, Netflix fluidly interweaves them to form a cohesive timeline of the events in a snowy town in Illinois. There are also quite a few changes from the book, so the movie will feel new even for the fans of it.
Featuring big names like Kiernan Shipka and Shameik Moore, the Luke Snellin-directed movie does not offer much in terms of scenes to show off their acting skills, and though the writing feels choppy at times ("The universe is not some wicked lady, the universe is an infinite hug"), it does offer moments that many — especially the audience it is directed at — would enjoy.
There's Angie (also called The Duke) played by Shipka and Tobin (Mitchell Hope), whose story goes along the cliched boy-in-love-with-best-friend route, with the difference here being that Angie is more of a tomboy. They also have a big musical number in a church and feels more Disney than John Green's other offerings. Their story does have a very 'Empire Records'-esque setting for the scene when the two confess their feelings for each other — on the roof of the (W)AFFLE TOWN restaurant — just a whole lot cheesier.
Liv Hewson ('Santa Clarita Diet') ties for best performer in the movie along with Isabela Merced ('Dora the Explorer'). Hewson plays Dorrie, Addie's best friend who is gay — her character is one of the differences from the book. Addie is obsessing over her boyfriend for most of the movie until their breakup catalyzes her to take a look at how she has treated Dorrie and her general attitude. Addie's talks with Joan Cusack's tinfoil-wrapped character helps her with this self-reflection. And Dorrie gets to have her happy ending too.
But it is Jubilee's and Stuart's story that rises above the rest. Played by Merced and Moore, their story feels like a young-adult, Christmas-y version of Richard Linklater's 'Before' franchise, where the two characters meet on a train and have a long conversation throughout the movies, although in 'Let It Snow', one of them (Stuart) is a pop star.
And though the plots for all the stories are predictable even if you haven't read the book and though it doesn't come close to the best Christmas film with an ensemble cast ('Love Actually'), 'Let It Snow' is a stronger movie than some of Netflix's other Christmas movies like 'The Christmas Prince' franchise, or 'The Princess Switch'.
'Let It Snow' is now streaming on Netflix.