Eirene Donohue and Rhonda Baraka are a match made in heaven in Lifetime’s A Christmas Spark. The writing and directing for the film breed a fresh new romance to our TV screens while giving us the cozy holiday warmth we’re all itching tirelessly for during this time of year. But, of course, the film wouldn’t work without the iconic fan-favorite duo Jane Seymour and Joe Lando showcasing that the spark between them is still burning strong.
A Christmas Spark is the kind of romance we’ve been begging for more of. We don’t get to 60+ year-olds fall in the sort of blissful love that’s both soft and electrifying, yet in this film, we get both. We have the complete package with the kind of lead actors who are utterly remarkable on screen.
Often, when we see older couples on screen, the writing makes it seem like joy is nearly impossible. Or, worse, that their joy is part of a midlife crisis as opposed to simply living. Thankfully, this film allows both Molly and Hank to merely have fun. They get to be reckless, brave, a little scared, and wildly bold. In their meet-cute over the last box of salt water taffy, they get to be sarcastic and delightful, bonding with each other with a confidence that’s almost intoxicating.
And when the couple is finally given a chance to get together, despite the detail that they’re both grieving, we see their romance come to life in an electrifying way. Whatever scene they share together exudes warmth and joy. She brings the heart of Christmas back into his life while he helps her uncover the strength and understanding to be a little more selfish now — to live for herself finally. At its core, A Christmas Spark is about finding light in the little things at every point in life. Whether that’s as a teen or an older person, there’s no instance where a person shouldn’t get to live their life to the fullest measure.
Lifetime is doing a compelling job of addressing second chances through grief this year, and this love story falls in the echelons of the best ones yet. Here, the narrative tells the audience that just because a person loved fiercely once in their life, it doesn’t mean they cannot do it again. During a conversation with her daughter, Molly is reminded that she’s the very person who believes that a heart can expand as much as a person is willing to open it. It’s up to human beings to decide how much love they want to keep adding to their lives because the capacity to adore intensely is within us all along.
As a film about second chances, the audience is fortunate to see so many first moments that make the story more compelling. The chemistry between Molly and Hank runs so deep that we can instantly feel that the sparks between them are something worth igniting. They’re not changing each other but bringing out the best parts simply by being themselves. There’s warmth and safety in all their interactions, which makes the love story much more believable, including the moments where it seems like we might run into an overdone, unnatural third-act breakup. Still, instead, the story frames the decisions through an organic lens. It’s simple to understand why their fears of giving in to love again come to the surface as well as it’s simple to see why it’s impossible not to keep trying to make it work.
In the end, A Christmas Spark makes it clear that where there’s true love, it deserves to be explored thoroughly. The film also features an adorable group of female friendships, sweet Christmas traditions, and family feels, which always add more warmth to the spirit of the holidays.
A Christmas Spark is now streaming on Frndly TV.