December is finally here! Which means it’s time for another Christmas film review. This week I’ll be reviewing one of the first Netflix Christmas films published this year: Let it snow. Will it beat the other films in the battle of becoming the new Christmas classic? The answer to that is not as easily given as you might think.
Confusion at first sight
“What a shitty movie”, I call out to my empty living room as soon as the credits of Let it Snow start rolling. Apart from a few quotes, my notebook is empty; the lack of interesting happenings in the film weren’t worth jotting down. After one and a half hours of watching an abundance of gen-z stereotypes live through an ordinary, but snowy day, I feel nothing. I don’t even feel particularly glad that they all got their happy ending, even though I’m a hopeless romantic. I am absolutely sure that this film didn’t do anything for me. Or am I? I have to admit that the quotes I wrote down were quite funny. And when I think back to those moments I realise there might be something about this film that isn’t obvious after just watching it for the first time.
Snowy teenage rom-com
And sure, you might think that at least one of those intertwined love stories would turn on the waterworks
Let is snow is based on the book by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. The three interconnected stories take place during a heavy snow storm in a village in the United States. We meet eight teenagers, paired up with one another for their own main storyline. It reminds a bit of, in my opinion, one of the best Christmas films ever made: Love actually. You might think that that’s a good thing, but as we saw with all the rom-com anthologies that followed Love Actually, such as Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve, it comes with a price: there is no depth whatsoever.
The most important story lines are about -what else could it be- young love. There’s Angie and Tobin: two best friends since kindergarten who can’t believe they’re falling in love with each other. There’s Dorrie and Addie, two best friends who complain about their relationships to each other. And Julie and a famous musician Stuart, who wants to lay low over the holidays. They have a storyline that every nine-year old One Direction fanfiction writer could have come up with. Oh, and Keon and JP are somehow also two of the eight main characters, but they’re only there to fill up the holes in the story.
I think you can see where I’m going with this. This film covered a bit of everybody’s backstories in just 70 minutes, and jumped into a happy ending with only fifteen minutes left. With such a short time to cover everybody’s storylines, the ending is destined to feel hasty, which it did. And sure, you might think that at least one of those intertwined love stories would turn on the waterworks, but it didn’t even make me cry once! Me, the number one cry baby when it comes to films. I even cried at Netflix’s last animation with the most predictable plot: Klaus. For me, that’s a huge indication of how well a drama romantic comedy did.
Beyond the bad script
Why is it then that, after writing this review, I can’t say that it is a bad film. I really like the actors, they had great chemistry and with an average age of 22, it’s surprising that they out-perform the story writers. The music too contributes heavily to my overall judgement. This film brings back songs like ‘The Whole of the Moon’ by the Waterboys from 1985 and ‘Mr Santa Claus’ by Nathaniel Mayer from the sixties, which adds to the cozy christmas ambience that Let it Snow desperately wants to create.
But the main answer can best be found in the modern-day feel of this film. The casual LGBTQ+ storyline, feminist remarks and the tangible pressure of society on the characters make this film more than relatable and relevant. And to top it all off: Joan Cusack ties everything together perfectly with her performance as the ‘Tin Foil Woman’. She narrates the beginning and ending, wears tin foil (no one knows why, the viewer included) and complains about smartphones and how everybody seems to be glued to them.
As much as I would love to say that this is the ‘new’ Love Actually and that you should all see it, I can’t. After all, I didn’t enjoy it very much. The film takes too much time to build up, and makes you check every once in a while how much time there is left for the ending, which isn’t a lot. I get the idea though, it is a relevant and relatable film, just not well executed. I will say that it is OK: a bland and boring word, just like the film.
Cover: Jade van Laar