by Amanda Landwehr / Arts & Culture Editor
It’s quickly becoming a seasonal tradition as timeless as Christmas dinner—Netflix-release holiday comedies. So, when temperatures drop below zero, reaching for the remote and pressing play on a wholesome holiday movie is the perfect way to celebrate.
“Let it Snow,” released on Netflix on Nov. 8, nestles neatly into this category. Directed by Luke Snellin, the movie is unchallenging, easy to digest, and as heartwarming as any other Christmas romantic comedy.
The film is an adaptation of the novel “Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances,” co-authored by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. I did not read the novel, so I went into “Let it Snow” with little knowledge of the original source material. Not to my surprise, the movie was exactly what I anticipated—a completely unrealistic, yet charming Christmas rom-com.
The story surrounds three couples as a brutal snowstorm hits their sleepy midwestern town. Although the film is centered around the development of each respective relationship, the snow storm intertwines each of the characters’ stories together.
Julie (Isabela Merced) is concerned about the thought of leaving her sick mother to attend college, and meets pop star Stuart Bale (Shameik Moore) on a train back from Chicago. Tobin (Mitchell Hope) is deeply in love with his childhood friend Angie “the Duke,” (Kiernan Shipka) but can’t muster up the strength to admit his feelings for her. Dorrie (Liv Hewson) is an employee at Waffle Town, and struggles to find balance between her needy best friend, Addie (Odeya Rush) and an on-and-off relationship with her love interest, Tegan (Anna Akana). In addition to the three budding relationships, aspiring DJ and fellow Waffle Town employee Keon (Jacob Batalon) wishes to throw the biggest Christmas Eve party of the year.
Waffle Town is the literal connection between each of the three couples—it’s a greasy, but cherished landmark, and magically works to unite the characters for one epic holiday party at the end of the film. I found this setting to be charming and somewhat relatable, and the dynamic amongst the Waffle Town employees (Keon, Dorrie and Billy) was funny enough to permit a movie of their own.
Most of the characters are generally likeable (aside from Addie, who is absolutely awful throughout the duration of the movie), and despite being an avid hater of rom-coms, I found myself rooting for each of the couples. The inclusion of both a platonic friendship and a lesbian relationship added a nice touch to the film, and I didn’t feel too suffocated by the costraints of a typical rom-com.
To my surprise, the humor in “Let it Snow” was pretty spot on. Some witty adult jokes and smart one-liners delivered by the hilarious Jacob Batalon made for several comedic moments that appealed to audiences without feeling too constrained by the film’s PG-13 rating.
My foremost criticism of the film lies in its pacing. Due to the inclusion of multiple storylines, the development of each couple felt rushed. Each relationship only gets about 20 minutes of screen time due to the short 90 minute run time, and the characters felt somewhat half-constructed. In addition to the weak characterization, significant plot holes go unexplained.
A mysterious tow-truck driver referred to as the “Tin Foil Lady” (played by Joan Cusack) subtlety connects each of the three storylines, but her character is hardly ever explained. Although the Tin Foil Lady’s purpose within the story is supposed to be ambiguous, I found the inclusion of this character to feel somewhat meaningless.
So, if you’re looking to watch an award-winning, genre-defining film, you probably shouldn’t place your bets on “Let it Snow.” But, if you’re expecting a holiday ensemble comedy to be an ultra-realistic masterpiece of modern cinema, you’re probably in it for the wrong reasons.
Perhaps the greatest part of “Let it Snow” is that the movie tries to be nothing more than a feel-good holiday rom-com. It’s heartwarming, tooth-achingly sweet and charmingly average—arguably, everything that a Christmas movie should be.
6 out of 10 Torches.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment