‘A Castle for Christmas’ Review: Romance Wrapped in Brilliant Tropes

key art for Netflix's A Castle for Christmas

Netflix’s A Castle for Christmas is the holiday film we’ve all been waiting for. It’s romantic, it’s utterly charming, the lands are stunning, the cast is exceptional, and the tropes slam hard. Dun Dunbar castle is the dream location for a film like this, and the leads are everything.

Starring Brooke Shields, Cary Elwes, Vanessa Grasse, Lee Ross, Suanne Braun, Andi Osho, Eilidh Loan, Tina Gray, and more, there is nothing A Castle for Christmas is lacking. The plot, the friendships, the love story all thread together so perfectly that at no point will you want to avert your gaze.

Forced to share space? Check. Grumpy castle owner, somewhat of a sunshine author? Check. A duke? Check. Enemies to gradual friends to lovers? Check. A lingering embrace followed by longing looks? Check. Dances? Check. The only trope absent from this film is basically forbidden lovers—everything else is set. There’s even a precious pup named Hamish, and I wouldn’t trust anyone who doesn’t love that? She walks on him bathing, folks—need I say more?

A Castle for Christmas is a delight from start to finish.


The Romance Writes Itself

Brooke Shields as Sophie in A Castle for Christmas.
Cr. Mark Mainz/Netflix © 2021

Shield’s heroine, Sophie Brown, is a best selling author in need of inspiration after killing a character upsets her fans to the point of “cancelation.” A talk show goes array, and her ex-husband is a piece of sh–t, why not escape to a castle for inspiration? Sophie brings just the kind of heart needed to the dreary castle and Myles’ despondency. 

It’s a little surprising how many excellent quiet moments are written into the film as we watch Sophie struggle to find the words for her new story. Because when the words do finally come, when her own life inspires the text, and when the truth starts to hit her hard, it makes the words on the page that much lovelier. It makes the magic feel real. And a film centered around writing a potential new romance novel feels tailor-made to all of us here at Marvelous Geeks. 

Sophie is just the kind of writer you want to be a fan of—the one whose successes aren’t just her own, but something that she shares openly and without regret. Those of us who write or consume in romance bask in the idea of shared joy. We bask in the concept of good deeds, lovely moments, and payoff to the kind of angst that makes life feel that much more rewarding. She might have killed a beloved character, but she’ll write another, right? That’s the point of this story—it’s understanding what’s behind the written work and being gentle about the approach. (Unless you’re Myles because then, you get a pass to be a grump about it.)

Sophie exudes the romance heroine warmth throughout the entirety of A Castle for Christmas by showing the audience the heart that she momentarily left behind—the pain that left her broken and the gratitude for both the platonic and romantic relationships that stitched her back up. 


A Castle for Christmas, A Love Forever

(L-R).  Cary Elwes as Myles, Brooke Shields as Sophie in A Castle for Christmas.
Cr. Mark Mainz/Netflix © 2021

Elwes and Shields have such brilliant chemistry that even through the bickering, there’s an undeniable warmth in all their scenes. Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs, and to feature it in this film through both these scenes made for something utterly magical. The lyrics speak for themselves. Their blossoming adoration for one another in the form of a montage could not have been more perfect.

The adamant declaration that he’s mad at himself for all things (everything) right before he kisses her straight up gave me butterflies. We see many of these types of stories through younger couples, and to have something this magical, this beautiful for two people in their 50s is utterly stunning. Their scenes are a marvel, and the cinematography does such an entrancing job of exposing the kind of gorgeous sequences that encapsulate the warmth of love and trust.

Brooke Shields as Sophie in A Castle for Christmas.
Cr. Mark Mainz/Netflix © 2021

A Castle for Christmas has so many lovely moments to pick apart and dig into—every look, every conversation, it all means something more significant. It’s the kind of romance content we all yearn for. The big gestures, the funny moments, the softer, quiet angles. There is no part of the film that’s unnecessary or hard to appreciate. I laughed, and I cried, and I now plan on re-watching it every year.

The characters all feel like home, the music is stunning, the scenery is divine, all the plaid is a sight to behold, and if you’ve never been to Scotland, the wanderlust itch is bound to be strong. If you have like me, you’ll go through all your photos and cry for a good 10 minutes. Or, rather…I don’t know. You might be a normal person who doesn’t do any of those things.

Similar Christmas Film Recommendation: The Spirit of Christmas starring Jen Lilley and Thomas Beaudoin

A Castle for Christmas is now streaming on Netflix! Have you watched it yet? If so, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.



  1. I’m a romance writer and I loved this movie! Sweet and charming. I want to buy it so I can watch it every year. And Cary Elwes makes such a handsome, loveable grump. A heartwarming holiday movie.

  2. I loved Hamish the dog initiating the Meet Cute and bringing Myles and Sophie together again and again as if he was Canine Cupid. Barley is a superb actor! Everyone else in the film was great, too. And the importance of friendships and familial relationships was equally important: Sophie’s blossoming friendships with all The Knitters;Myles’ long history with his pal Thomas; Sophie’s loving devotion to her adult daughter, Lexi. Just lovely…

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