Name: A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
Genre: Fantasy, Music, Romance
Michelle Johnston’s A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish follows the widely used romantic storyline sprinkled with Christmas spirit. The film focus’ on Kat Decker (Laura Marano) who is a young woman with the dream of becoming a well-known singer-songwriter. But her dreams feel unreachable, surrounded by negativity and disgusting horribleness from her stepmother Deirdre (Johannah Newmarch), and her stepsisters, Joy (Lillican Doucet-Roche) and Grace (Chanelle Peloso). Kat has an incredibly embarrassing and awkward meeting with Dominic ‘Nick’ Wintergarden (Gregg Sulkin), but the pair grow closer as they work in Santaland. Kat is working as a singing elf with her best friend Isla (Isabella Gomez), while Nick is working as Santa. Kat and Nick don’t recognise each other from their first meeting, due to being in costume. They develop a friendship and starts turning towards romance. They decide to meet up without the costumes at a Christmas Gala thrown by Nick’s family, as a blind date. But Kat’s stepmother and stepsisters try to push her further away from the Gala and ultimately her dreams.
The Christmas Wish storyline has been told many times before following the predicable inspiration of Cinderella. But this time a splash of originality with it being set around the Christmas time. But there wasn’t enough of originality throughout the entirety of the film. Out of all the Christmas elements, Santaland is used at the centre of the film, showing the friendship between Kat and Isla perfectly. At moments I felt like they finally succeed in updating the classic fairy tale to a modern time, but more time than not, the film felt too familiar. Having the Gala at the end instead of the ball at the start of the relationship, gave the a much more interesting spark of attraction between the two. It gives the chance for the two of them to fall in love because of their personalities and not just their looks.
The stepmother and stepsisters feel old and unchanged. Yes, these characters are supposed to make Kat’s life miserable, but they come across feeling like fake plastic people. The connection between them and the Cinderella character could have been more natural and realistic giving the whole evil stepsisters/mother a more believable foundation. They try and do this with one of the sisters, Joy. Her character posts vlogs about other people’s misfortunes, spinning it in a way that it looks like she is helping them. A interesting way to modernise the character, but not enough to feel complete.
Christmas Wish felt like it was unsure if it wanted to be a musical or not. A lot of songs came across as internal singing, but then you have other characters reacting to the songs. This came across as a confusing and unnecessary element. If the film had more musical numbers that wasn’t on stage performances for Santaland, I would have fallen more into the magic of the music between Laura and Gregg. But it just came across as awkward and weird. But as a full, Christmas Wish feels like a film with a few songs, and not a full blown Christmas musical.
What stood out as originality to me was the end of the film. Kat gets her own happiness and happy ending without it being the kiss from the prince aka Nick or needing a man to fix her problems. This film is cute and sweet, giving the Cinderella story adaptations a good Christmas flavour.