As a writer and an architect battle over ownership for an idyllic cottage, they soon discover that they might be a match made at Christmas.
Christmas in the Pines is about how everything that starts out wrong turns out right. It’s about selfishness giving way to selflessness, about war turning to glorious peace, and about recognizing the blessing that’s right in front of you rather than having to go halfway around the world to find it.
Magazine writer Ariel Colt is headed for “the least Christmassy Christmas ever,” when her boss drafts her to write an antithetical Christmas story less than a week before the holiday. He’s interested in sensational stories rather than the sappy ones his father sought when daddy owned the magazine. So he wants her to write about a Grinch, a Scrooge, somebody who hates Christmas and doesn’t think twice about it.
Never mind that this is galactically bad planning on his part. Never mind her reluctance to write such a story, even if it wasn’t on such short notice. This leads her to the cottage she just bought in Winter Springs, N.C.
Or rather, the cottage she thought she bought. When her agent gives her a tour of her new property, she encounters Mark Henderson with his own agent. Turns out that Ariel and Mark submitted the same offer to the genial old Mr. Noel, who owns the place and accepted both offers.
Here, the movie turns into something akin to The War of the Roses. The contrived way that this double-ownership problem is to be solved is negotiation under duress. Possession being nine-tenths of the law, as the saying goes, neither Ariel nor Mark can leave the property without forfeiting their claim to ownership. And if they don’t come up with a deal by Christmas, both lose the right to buy it.
The water’s been shut off. There’s no food. They’re adversaries. How will they survive this?
Enter their families, each secretly summoned by the other with warfare in mind. But the families unexpectedly get along, supply missing pieces (info, food, holiday companionship) and slowly Ariel and Mark grow on one another. Sensational starts listing toward sappiness.
Of course, there are a few more trust-issue twists that complicate matters as we careen toward the unorthodox resolution, but suffice it to say that it’s a heart-warming tale that families likely will enjoy watching during the holidays. As such, it merits the Dove-approved Seal for All Ages.
The Dove Take
War becomes warmth in this sensationally sappy Christmas tale.