A Christmas Mystery
When a mail worker opens a child's letter to Santa it cause mass interest as it is such a sad letter about his divorcing parents and how he plans to leave the world. The letter comes to the attention of TV executive Ted (Ernie Hudson - Nowhere to Land) who has M.J. Jensen (Patricia Heaton - The Engagement Ring) his top reporter travel to the town of Seacliff to cover the story. At the same time former Seacliff resident and aspiring writer David Reynolds (Rick Roberts - The Town Christmas Forgot) receives a mysterious package of artwork which leads him to return to Seacliff in search of the artist. But the pictures are curious as one seems to tell the future, one seems to tell his past and one seems to tell the story of Chris, the little boy who sent the letter to Santa and who everyone is trying to find.
This may not sound possible but when it comes to "A Town Without Christmas" I am disappointed and entertained at the same time. I'm disappointed because the opening of the movie paves the way for the story of Chris and his letter which tugs at your heart strings because of it almost being a suicide letter but the movie evolves in to some thing else. At the same time I am disappointed because we have this other story of David the writer and the mysterious paintings which seem to connect to both his story and that of Chris but again the movie evolves into something else. Basically "A Town Without Christmas" has a couple of clever ideas but then does something quite predictable with them.
Yet I tell you what despite being disappointed that "A Town Without Christmas" ends up heading down a pretty predictable path as M.J. and David end up having to share a room at the hotel I was still entertained. You see whilst it veers towards a predictable romantic subplot you still have this mystery as to who this Chris is and who the artist is who seems to be able to see into the future. It is by no means subtle when it drops clues but still there is this need to work out how it all connects and how it all works out or at least confirm your suspicions.
As for the acting well I admit to having a soft spot for Patricia Heaton and she does a nice job of playing reporter M.J. giving her a decent amount of cynicism. And then there is Rick Roberts as David and to be honest the character is so ordinary that unfortunately whilst pleasant is also forgettable. But "A Town Without Christmas" also has some good supporting performances with both the well known faces of Ernie Hudson and Peter Falk showing up with Falk delivering yet another wonderfully curious and mischievous character.
What this all boils down to is that "A Town Without Christmas" has a real mysterious side which gets you hooked. But at the same time it does something rather predictable with the characters which unfortunately let it down.