The Holiday Calendar (2018)

The Holiday Calendar
Director: Bradley Walsh
Writer: Amyn Kaderali
Cast: Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, Ethan Peck, Ron Cephas Jones, Genelle Williams, Ali Hassan, Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll, Laura de Carteret, Kevin Hanchard, Romaine Waite, Jaeda Owens, Nicola Correia-Damude
Seen on: 26.12.2019

Abby’s (Kat Graham) best friend Josh (Quincy Brown) just returned from his prolongued travels abroad – just in time for the holiday season. Abby is really happy to have him back, but other parts of her life are less great – like her job where her photographic talent is wasted on taking snaps of children on Santa’s lap. When her grandfather (Ron Cephas Jones) gives Abby an antique advent calendar, it seems to be able to predict things – in particular, it predicts Abby’s sudden romance with Ty (Ethan Peck). Or is it all a coincidence?

The Holiday Calendar is one of the few Christmas movies that has people of color in the lead roles and for that alone, it’s worth opening a bottle of champagne to celebrate and watch it. But even disregarding that, it’s a very cute movie.

The film poster showing a young woman (Kat Graham) leaning on an advent calendar and a young man (Quincy Brown) standing behind her.

Holiday movies are very, very white. So to get one where the heroine is biracial (black and white) and one of her love interests is black (plus other people of color in supporting roles) really is great. It’s already nice for me as a white person, I don’t know how it must feel for people of color. That being said, they don’t mention race at all in the film – it’s neither an “issue”, nor is it notable in the way people speak or celebrate the holidays. The former is probably a good thing – race doesn’t always have to be an issue, especially not in a light-hearted Christmas movie – but the latter colorblind approach seems a pity.

Be that as it may, I enjoyed the cast(ing) and the story told. In Austria, advent calendars are definitely a big thing and I still get one every year from my parents, but I have never seen such an elaborate one as in the film. I’m curious whether they are actually used in that way in some places, or if this particular type of calendar is the film’s invention. In any case, I liked it that it is up to the audience to decide whether there’s actual magic involved here. And I also liked how Ty’s reaction to Abby’s magic theory was handled in the film.

A young woman (Kat Graham) and a young man (Quincy Brown) standing in front of a decorated fireplace.

I’m not much of a fan of the classic love triangle and the film would have worked just as nicely, I think, if not better, if they had just gone for the “best friends to lovers with the help of a possibly magical advent calendar” story. But even with the unnecessary dude in the mix, I’m an absolute sucker for friends to lovers, so I’m absolutely here for this.

All in all, it is a nice addition to the genre that brings something special to the mix, even if the film itself is not the greatest. There are definitely worse holiday movies out there.

An old man (Ron Cephas Jones) giving a young woman (Kat Graham) an antique advent calendar shaped like a house.

Summarizing: Totally sweet.

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