A Ghost for Christmas
The Chandlers had everything going for them, that is until the night when on their way back from Christmas shopping they are involved in a car accident and Tom Chandler (Conan Graham) is killed. A year on and Susan (Jaime Ray Newman - Wedding Daze) is struggling being a single mum to their teenage son, Jonathan (Burkely Duffield - My Mother's Future Husband), who following the accident gets visits from the ghost of his dead dad. It leads to Susan having Jonathan talk to the school counsellor, Kevin Harrison (Michael Shanks - Christmas Lodge), who Susan had a small car incident with outside of school. It is whilst spending time with his father's ghost that they decide it is time for Susan to meet someone new with Jonathan liking Kevin (Michael Shanks), a widower and an ice hockey coach. The trouble is that Susan is more interested in Greg (Russell Porter - Paper Angels) a slick lawyer.
"Under the Mistletoe" was not exactly what I expected as when I read the synopsis it sounded to me more like one of those cutesy romantic comedies which get churned out for TV at Christmas. I say that because the set up of a son trying to find his mother a new husband with a bit of help from his ghost dad sounds perfect as some light hearted fun set against a picture perfect little town decked out in stunning Christmas decorations. Yet "Under the Mistletoe" isn't a fun little movie but more of a lightweight drama as we watch both young Jonathan and his dead father try to push Susan in to moving on and finding a new man. And it does have some very poignant scenes including one where Susan has an encounter with the piano playing a special song all on its own.
To be honest it makes "Under the Mistletoe" one of those movies which leave me unsure of how I feel about it because it takes a storyline suited for a fun romantic comedy but makes a drama out of it yet still puts some moments of humour in the mix. Despite not being entirely sure whether "Under the Mistletoe" is okay or more than okay one thing is for sure and that is that Jamie Ray Newman delivers a strong performance especially during the movie's poignant scenes. And to be honest Burkely Duffield as Jonathan has one of those winning smiles which make him likeable rather than just cute or annoying.
What this all boils down to is that "Under the Mistletoe" is certainly entertaining and also at times moving. But this is a movie which when it tries to go from lightweight drama to lightweight comedy ends up feeling like it is losing its focus.