A Castle for Christmas (2021)

A Castle for Christmas
Director: Mary Lambert
Writer: Ally Carter, Kim Beyer-Johnson
Cast: Brooke Shields, Cary Elwes, Lee Ross, Andi Osho, Tina Gray, Eilidh Loan, Stephen Oswald, Vanessa Grasse, Desiree Burch, Antony Strachan, Drew Barrymore
Seen on: 7.1.2022

Sophie (Brooke Shields) is a bestselling author but after a rather catastrophic talkshow appearance and a general creative rut, she decides that she needs to get away. She flies to Scotland to revisit the castle where her family used to work. Once there, she finds that the grumpy duke who owns the place, Myles (Cary Elwes) is looking for a buyer for the castle. Sophie jumps at the chance. But Myles is actually not very willing to part with his estate and has some stipulations that make it necessary for Sophie to spend a few months at the caste wtih him. Sparks start to fly.

A Castle for Christmas has one thing to recommend it, and that is that it has a romantic pairing that is older. Other than that, it is pretty lackluster in its paint-by-numbers set-up.

The film poster showing Myles (Cary Elwes) and Sophie (Brooke Shields) in matching clothes in front of a castle entrance covered in Christmas lights.

There are not that many RomComs where the central couple is older than, say, 30 and where this not explicitely the point of the film. Here we get a film that just happens to have older protagonists, and it’s not a film about romancing when older, and that was really nice. Even though Elwes’ Scottish accent is not exactly awesome.

Then again, his Scottish accent fits in perfectly with this fantastical version of Scotland that has very little to do with the real country, but is rather every (positive) stereotype of Scotland rolled into a huge ball. Comforting for people who like to fantasize about Scotland. Probably infuriating for any actual Scots.

Myles (Cary Elwes) and Sophie) riding out in the snow.

The story doesn’t even offer a second of surprising developments, or any depth to the characters (particularly Myles is little more than a cardboard cutout, despite Elwes’ best attempt). Every beat, every turn is expected and predictable. And while the formulaic nature can be part of the charm of any genre, here it feels mostly mechanical.

There is a certain warmth to be had here, and it’s not like I entirely hated the film. Some moments were really nice. But ultimately A Castle for Christmas doesn’t have much to offer, I’m afraid.

Sophie (Brooke Shields) and Myles (Cary Elwes) having dinner together.

Summarizing: okay, whatever.

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