Finding Things That We've Lost
Journalist Tom Langdon (Dermot Mulroney), after another trip abroad to cover a news story, is returning home to see his long distance girlfriend and as he promised his late father he is making the journey from D.C. to Los Angeles by train so that he can write about the journey. Tom is not the only passenger on the train and soon discovers the likes of Agnes (Joan Cusack), widower John (John Innes) and a couple of young lovers all have fascinating stories to tell about their lives. He also discovers Hollywood Producer Max Powers (Danny Glover) and his script doctor Eleanor (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) are on board who was once his girlfriend till one day she just left with no explanation.
I have mentioned before that when I watch a movie I am reviewing I write notes and due to the familiarity of many Hallmark Christmas movies I find those notes becoming reviews before the movie is even over. Well trust me when it came to "The Christmas Train" I didn't even bother with the notepad when I sat down to watch as I could sense this was a Christmas movie I just needed to watch and enjoy and then watch it again to do the note taking the second time around. And I wasn't wrong as whilst there is that certain amount of familiarity when you have a storyline about former lovers running in to each other there is a lot more to "The Christmas Train" than just that familiar theme.
As such what you get in "The Christmas Train" is a movie built around many characters, their stories and often their pearls of wisdom. As such we have a couple who are young, in love and are running away to get married, we have a widow, a veteran train man, a movie producer, the guard and then there is also the mystery surrounding Agnes who seems to know everything about everyone and is always travelling on the train. Now I won't tell you anything about their individual stories other than to say there is a lot of charm and warmth to it, more than what you get in your average Hallmark Christmas movie with many a scene leaving you with some thought provoking dialogue about how we miss out on life and what we really want.
Now of course "The Christmas Train" is a Hallmark movie and we have lots of beautiful decorations but we also have a lot of classy decorations on a beautiful train. On top of that this is a train which travels through not only some of the most beautiful snow covered landscapes you will see but like a cruise ship stops at various stations for a few hours. As such we get some equally beautiful scenes at various places all of which to be honest are bordering on being a little too perfect but add to the charm of the movie, such as at one station Tom and Eleanor end up going dancing.
What this all boils down to is that "The Christmas Train" is one of those Hallmark movies which is a cut above the usual and is filled with all the usual Hallmark Christmas movie stuff but with los of extra charm, warmth and emotional depth.