Christmas with a View (2018)

Christmas with a View
Director: Justin G. Dyck
Writer: David Finley, Rebecca Lamarche
Based on: Teresa Southwick‘s novel The Maverick’s Christmas Homecoming
Cast: Kaitlyn Leeb, Scott Cavalheiro, Mark Ghanimé, Kristen Kurnik, Joseph Cannata, Jess Walton, Patrick Duffy, Vivica A. Fox
Seen on: 26.12.2019

Clara (Kaitlyn Leeb) works as a restaurant manager in the town she grew up in and has plans for more. The restaurant she manages recently landed a big coup: celebrity chef Shane (Scott Cavalheiro) – who just one a big cooking show on TV – has agreed to come and work with them. Shane has a good reason to come to that particular town anyway. Even as they clash together at work, Shane and Clara quickly find that they have many things in common.

Christmas with a View is gave me exactly what I was looking for with a whole lot more food porn than I expected or found necessary. There are some uneven bits and a racist part, but it delivers the expected emotional satisfaction, at least to a white person like me.

The film poster showing some of the main characters of the film.

There’s a lot going on in the film – more subplots than was warranted – so it may not be surprising that some plot developments seem a little weird. I assume that part of that is that the film was adapted from a novel (that I haven’t read) and they tried to keep too much from the novel in the movie, making jumps in the narration necessary that don’t make much sense for people who don’t know the book.

But you don’t really watch films like this for the plot anyway. You watch it for the romance and the emotional pay-off, and the film absolutely delivers on that. Although I have to admit that I was almost more interested in Clara’s best friend Bonnie (Kristen Kurnik) and her boyfriend Clive (Jospeh Cannata) than in Clara and Shane.

A woman (Kaitlyn Leeb) and a man (Scott Cavelheiro) sitting next to each other.

It’s with Shane’s characterization that I struggled the most. Not that he was a bad guy, but I really didn’t understand why he kept the real reason he came to that particular town secret, at least from Clara: it was neither embarassing, nor a bad reason anyway. I also was a little miffed at the fact that they strongly emphasized that Shane wasn’t actually a player who used to have a lot of girlfriends, even if he was portrayed that way on the show. I mean, on the one hand, it’s a good thing that his public and private persona were separated in that way, but on the other hand, there was a layer of “slut-shaming” here that I found entirely unnecessary and offensive.

And while I think it’s great that Clara was shown to have a black mother (her father we don’t know), it is surpremely weird or actually even racist that Chinese-Canadian Kaitlyn Leeb was cast as the daughter of a black woman. Not all “biracialness” is the same. Let black people play black roles.

Other than that (and the absolutely non-consequitur title), I did enjoy the film though. Maybe because I could overlook that casting because I am white. I can imagine that it would taint a black person’s enjoyment of the film siginificantly.

A woman (Kaitlyn Leeb) and a man (Scott Cavelheiro) leaning in for a kiss in front of a Christmas tree.

Summarizing: Mostly fine.

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