Forget Santa Clause; we’re here to talk about the Christmas Prince. Hallmark’s Inventing The Christmas Prince could be better, but it’s sweet enough to provide the right amount of holiday feels with a reformed Scrooge making a little girl’s dreams come true.
While the film should have spent a bit more time developing the romance, it gets gingerbread points for leading with a heroine in STEM. You read that right—90s darling Tamera Mowry plays a rocket scientist single mother with enough fortitude believable to melt even the cruelest hearts. As Christmas films bring in more badass women, they become more nuanced and worthwhile. They’re no longer focusing on cheesy stories but trying to target real, human experiences with the added festivities we all adore. It’s about the range, folks. It’s always about the range.
Plus, bring in a grumpy boss whose heart is softened by the said badass woman and her overly enthusiastic daughter, and we have a winner on our hands.
Shelby (Mowry) is a solid heroine. While we’ve briefly mentioned her career, there’s so much more to the character than meets the eye. When her husband died, she created a support group for single mothers. When her prickly boss Evan (Ronnie Rowe) demands they all work on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, she puts up a fight for all her co-workers. And to keep her daughter happy, she does everything in her power to ensure that she believes in something bigger. Sure, the idea of the Christmas Prince is a bit much, but the sentiment is what matters.
However, the moment that felt most off in the film was Shelby talking about her late husband, stating that he left her when really, it was an illness that took him. While she states that she knows it isn’t his fault, the conversation doesn’t do much to serve her personality and, frankly, comes off odd. I had to rewind to ensure that I heard it correctly because I needed clarification on what she was trying to say, and that’s seldom something I do with these types of films. Still, throughout the rest of the film, Shelby’s a nuanced, layered woman who questions and fights and showcases the necessary amount of vulnerability to evoke raw emotions in the viewers. As a heroine, it’s unbelievably easy to root for her and want the best for her.
Now, our hero is a bit of a puzzle. There’s very little we know about Evan and how he operates the way that he does. It’s a good thing Ronnie Rowe is charming as an actor because the script relied on him to do the heavy lifting and make his redemption feel believable. Evan goes from zero to ten rather quickly, but the truth is, it’s almost always difficult not to give in to children when they’re as bold as Grace is. You understood his changes as they occurred, but as viewers, it’s nicer to see why he got there in the first place. What made him such a Scrooge?
Hallmark’s Inventing The Christmas Prince isn’t A Christmas Carol, so we weren’t going to run through his past in a dream, but we still needed a bit more to understand him. When the film allows his goodness to push through, it’s much lovelier to know it’s all because of Shelby’s spirit.
Similar Christmas Film Recommendation: Six Degrees of Santa
The romance develops intriguingly as most of their moments are shared with other people, but it’s still sweet enough to feel as though there’s an impact. When Evan eventually goes out of his way to ensure he not only completes all the tasks on Grace’s list but makes it to the final ball after his meeting, it closes the deal shut. He’s not the same man Shelby used to work for, but he’s better and will hopefully continue improving in every area.
Inventing The Christmas Prince is now streaming on Frndly TV.