‘Your Christmas or Mine?’, directed by Jim O’Hanlon, captures the essence of teenage love during the festive season. The story of two young partners, James and Hayley, who say goodbye before leaving to spend the winter holidays with family members, forms the central plot of the British rom-com.
In a hilariously comic turn of events, James and Hayley decide to go to each other’s houses for Christmas to surprise their partners. As James tries to catch a train, he realizes he has to spend Christmas with Hayley. Eventually, Haley comes to the same conclusion. As a result, they change trains without telling each other.
Train passes are among the smartest family vacations. James enters the world of a loving, cozy Christmas with a kind of extended family in Macclesfield, while Hayley finds herself in a huge, non-holiday mansion in Gloucester.
After talking on the phone, Hayley and James decide to keep their relationship a secret. They soon inform their families that they will be delayed due to a train cancellation. The two eventually find themselves spending Christmas at each other’s houses, interacting with family and learning a lot about their partners in the process. Unlike James’ father, who is a bit reserved, Hayley’s family is more energetic and boisterous.
Although the storyline is simple, there are several elements that make you empathize with the characters. The rom-com is mostly predictable except for the opening surprise, or rather the reckless choice of the lead pair. Nevertheless, there are some good things to savor when James spends time with Hayley’s family and when James’ father comes to Hayley’s rescue.
Not Your Standard
The movie is not your standard rom-com as there are no dating, cute scenes or other cheesy scenes. In this tale, Hayley and James grow closer by visiting their partner’s family. When Hayley first investigates the historic estate built by James’ noble ancestors, she is outraged by his lies, but soon begins to infuse the gloomy old mansion with a festive spirit. James admires the exuberant enthusiasm of Hayley’s extended family, resents the things Hayley keeps from him, and ultimately delights in her family’s genuine sincerity.
Keeping couples apart in a romantic drama is a risky decision, but director Jim O’Hanlon and Asa Butterfield and Cora Kirk reject it. Although apart, the young couple’s love and irritation for each other is palpable.
Asa Butterfield and Cora Kirk get along well on screen, as evidenced by their phone calls and other soft sequences. Unfortunately, there aren’t many sequences of them together that make us want to see them in more movies together.
A romantic drama is content to stay within the parameters of its genre. The storyline never kicks into high gear and spends its time building to a climactic scene, so the resolution doesn’t feel forced at all. The film also has a pleasantly surprising sense of humor based on the “comedy” element of a romantic comedy. Moreover, the film is visually stunning and Paul Saunderson’s satisfying score manages to make it a fun watch.
Butterfield does a fantastic job in his role and he also adds his own flair to the storyline. However, her performance really shines once we learn about a certain turn, the transition she pulls is fantastic, and she has a moment that showcases some of the extraordinary range we’ve seen during Education.
Cora Kirk, who plays Haley, is terrific throughout the film. He was easy to like as he wrapped up his performance with so much charm. It injects a lot of humor and levity into the film, but it also disappoints the protagonist and us once the twist is revealed.
Your Christmas or Mine? It’s a fun holiday movie for rom-com fans that doesn’t overdo the Christmas element. Despite having a predictable resolution, the story seems to have enough crunch and laughs to keep people entertained. It also adds a lot of warmth and fun while imparting valuable lessons about love, integrity and the value of family bonds.
Amazon’s latest original has the perfect amount of cheese to let you really enjoy it. The rom-com fills a void by being a younger film that takes its protagonists and their inner lives seriously. It may not have the lasting appeal of films like The Holiday or Love Actually , but it’s certainly a brilliant addition to the romantic comedy genre.