It is a fact universally acknowledged that Aaron Tveit is everyone’s Broadway boyfriend. It is also a fact that the man can sing! (Hello, sole Tony’s 2021 Best Actor Nominee.) It is also a fact that anyone who’s been a fan of Tveit for as long as I have has wondered about a Christmas album. We have. But I’ve also gone far enough to plea to the Twitter universe yearly for a cheesy Aaron Tveit Christmas movie. The blessings in 2020 have been far and few, but the news that Aaron Tveit and Laura Osnes would be starring in a holiday film together was among them. (I was genuinely convinced it was a fever dream before the premiere.)
One Royal Holiday was an absolute delight of a film. Aaron Tveit wore a white cable-knit sweater. Need we say more? It is also a fact universally acknowledged that unproblematic men in white cable-knit sweaters is the Good Lord’s way of saying “all will be well.”
White cable-knit sweaters. That’s it. That sentence alone holds profound weight in the world of fandom until forever. Every time a man wears a white cable-knit sweater, an angel gets its wings. If we weren’t already the types to bask in Christmas joy, we’d be sold on the entirety of this film solely because of the sweater. It’s that good. Exhibit A:
Tveit plays a pompous prince whose family is snowed in on their way back home and well, the rest is history. I have a lot of questions about the accent Tveit was rocking, but there’s no need for that right now. He makes the perfect prince and we’re sure Moulin Rouge Broadway’s Ricky Rojas would agree with us. Tveit and Osnes have chemistry in the bag; all you need to do is listen to their incredible version of “Winter Wonderland” and you’d hear it. James and Anna get to a rough start, but it’s bound to end well given the genre. It takes a while for James to open up, but when he does, the audience learns that his pompousness comes from his doubts that he could be a good leader like his father was.
Here’s the thing, I love cheesy holiday films, but I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of royals in holiday. It’s not my cup of tea, especially when they mock Jane Austen. (Lol!) But nevertheless, I loved One Royal Holiday, and I especially loved that this one was also open to a potential sequel. Yes? Yes. The film is a lot of fun–it’s heartwarming and it’s got Sound of Music Captain von Trapp x Maria vibes. They even allude to with a comment regarding Prince James’ night time pajama and robe kitchen strutting look. Exhibit B.
Fact: I want both their pajamas.
As all Hallmark Christmas movies, most of the characters are struggling with their holiday spirit and it’s up to another to bring the magic back into their lives. But Anna and James both do–they teach each other how to let go and embrace, and it works in telling a convincing story. Their best friends Christopher (Bradley Rose) and Sara (Krystal Joy Brown) also get an adorable love story, and we’re here for it. Laura Osnes’ Anna is an absolute delight–she says things as she thinks them, laughs a lot, and her transparent sincerity is key to unlocking the heart within the stubborn, broken prince. Characters like Anna are often the heart of the films, they’re the ones who’ve lost everything, but manage to smile through it all, and they’re the ones who I often connect to because keeping the spirit of Christmas in the midst of darkness is all we can do sometimes. Anna’s childlike spirit and the genuine desire to always help people is the essence of the film and it’s what you’ll come out adoring too. (She is a nurse so a round of applause to all–these days and always.)
Is it a perfect film? Far from. Are we watching it on a loop and begging officials to release it for purchase? Yes, yes we are. One Royal Holiday gets a lot right, but it does so by grounding the film with vulnerability while being surprisingly funny. There’s a ridiculous line about pillows that I still cannot believe made the final cut. One Royal Holiday makes it believable (Somewhat, we have got to suspend belief with fictional transportation.) that Prince James would make his way back to Anna after confirming that she was the nurse by his late father’s side when he was ill. That final twist simultaneously broke me then put me back together again. It isn’t hard to make me cry during this time of year, but this beautifully intimate execution isn’t something I’ve seen much of in films like this. If there’s anything I love, it’s the “stars aligned to make this meeting possible” trope, and the late King was certainly involved in this.
One Royal Holiday is exactly as cheesy and ridiculous as I imagined it’d be and I could not be more thrilled by the film’s outcome. But now, we need a royal engagement and a wedding, too. We can’t just be left off at the exchanging of formal slippers can we? Let the petition for a sequel begin. Who’s in?
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