In order to fully invest in and enjoy Hallmark’s Christmas Island, viewers must first suspend disbelief and omit asking questions. The logistics here don’t matter. Yes, it’s all conveniently working out in favor of this couple because it’s a Christmas movie, and that’s how it needs to happen. In some cases, Hallmark movies try mapping more out, but here it just feels like they gave all the chemistry to the actors and told them to go running. (We can maybe blame the strikes. Maybe. I’m not sure.) That said, Christmas Island is indeed one of the year’s better films so far.
Starring Andrew Walker, Rachel Skarsten, Kate Drummond, Jefferson Brown, Peter MacNeill, Lauren Hammersley, Britt Loder, Lincoln McNeil and more, Hallmark’s Christmas Island takes forced proximity to various heights and restores the spirit of Christmas. Skarsten’s Kate is a pilot, flying a seemingly famous influencer family from Los Angeles to Europe when Walker’s Oliver breaks the news that storms are too dangerous and they need to dock immediately. Conveniently, airports like JFK and Logan aren’t available, but this Canadian island where Oliver is actually from is open.
In more ways than one, the film relies on Walker and Skarsten’s chemistry to push the plot forward because the dialogue at times flounders between believable and farcical. And thus, when you get to the point where you stop asking about logistics, it becomes riveting to watch a family that’s so keenly focused on work understand that their kids are more important. The romance aside, it’s surprisingly pleasant to observe a moment between the kids in the film where the little boy, Finn, sends a letter to Santa, wishing his sister Cali would like him more. Now, if you have a younger sibling, it’s almost easy to pinpoint the differences in their dynamic and understand that this is one of the (if not the most) relatable parts of the film.
Cali adores her brother—of course, she does—but teenagers can be awfully cruel at times, and it’s because they tend to care more about their friends than anything else. So, watching Cali essentially read the letter herself while helping with postcards makes for a tender moment of understanding that later leads to a sweet little beat, with Finn realizing that his sister would actually give the world for him. The growth we get with this little family works entirely in a film like this, and it’s toward the end, especially where much of the pacing picks up, making Hallmark’s Christmas Island a lovely little delight.
But where the romance is concerned, Hallmark’s Christmas Island provides a steady dose of adorableness. The interactions between Kate and Oliver go from two people who could not be more different to understanding that they’re precisely what the other needs. A sweet little date, quiet moments in each other’s presence, and stolen glances make their relationship believable and provide the right amount of angst that leads to an almost goodbye plus a reunion. There’s also a decent amount of buffalo plaid in his wardrobe, which is always a major bonus.
The film takes a charming turn halfway through when Oliver proves to be peak boyfriend material and switches his snark for kindness, resulting in a lovely little date and moments of vulnerability with so much heart that only Andrew Walker could pull it off at this point. The chemistry starts to sizzle into something delightfully dorky, making it easy for viewers to find themselves grinning from ear to ear despite how saccharine everything gets.
There’s an effortless pull between Kate and Oliver that makes their interactions not only fun but brimming with emotions (which is especially the case during this date). The chemistry alone is worth a thousand words, resulting in an earned kiss at the end that hits in all the right ways. It’s a story about finding a home, fixing the lonely holes within, and finding someone with whom it’s easy to have control and agency. The themes and wholesome approach to romance make their interactions ridiculously joyous. Go Canada! Go Romance! We have a win!
Hallmark’s Christmas Island is now streaming on Frndly TV.