Ever since she was a little girl, all Sadie dreamed of was growing up to become a master chocolatier and running her family’s sweet shop, just like her father. But little girls grow up, dreams change, and now Sadie is a late-20-something-year-old cooking up ad concepts in the harsh world of corporate advertising. Far away from her childhood dreams, and neglecting her love of creating sweet treats. When Sadie’s disinterested boyfriend cancels their holiday plans, she finds herself back at home — and in the kitchen — for Christmas. Just as she begins to dream again, Sadie is confronted with startling news: her parents are retiring and selling the family’s beloved business. Sadie spent her childhood in the chocolate shop, and in one fell swoop she sees her secret heart dream and her childhood memories fading away. To add insult to injury, her parents have decided to hand the reigns over to an inexperienced (albeit handsome) young man named Alex. Reluctantly, Sadie agrees to teach Alex everything she knows, hoping to at least preserve her family’s recipes and the shop’s reputation for quality. As the pair cook up treats for the shop and her parents’ Christmas Eve retirement party, a love story takes shape. But can Sadie and Alex stay sweet on each other when things take a bitter turn?
“Chocolate Covered Christmas” is a holiday film filled with romance, sweetness and all the accoutrements you’d expect in a Christmas movie. Centered around a simple premise, Sadie’s dream to take over the family business, and her nemesis-turned-love-interest, Alex, the film’s pacing allows the romance to develop in a realistic and natural way, without the forced, phony feeling of some holiday romances. Although there’s not much to these characters, they’re all likeable and pleasant to watch. We’ve got Sadie, consistently organized and focused on all the tasks at hand; Alex, the big-hearted and generous (yet kind of mysterious) softie; Sadie’s adorable and supportive parents, as well as secondary characters that pop in now and again to help move the plot along. Viewers are treated to Christmas carols, baking montages, impossibly fluffy snow, and an innocent, dare I say healthy love story…until a few old familiar tropes are thrown in (cue the “simple misunderstanding threatens to derail the relationship” scene) to disrupt the apple cart.
What I like about this film — besides the fact that it is easy to digest (pun intended) and accurately sweet — are the subtle messages that lie just under the surface of the saccharine romance. Sadie is a perfectionist, no doubt about it; and that often prevents her from enjoying life or even trusting those closest to her. Her rigidity is softened by Alex’s disarming kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness; he is truly a perfect gentleman, which is lovely to see on film. Sadie’s parents are endlessly supportive and patient; in fact, all the characters portrayed in the film (minus the flaky ex-boyfriend) are refreshingly kind and positive. The story isn’t revolutionary, but it is well-delivered and uncomplicated. I was actually really proud of the filmmakers for not using more tropes. Alex and Sadie’s relationship (for the most part) is a wonderful example of a healthy dating experience between adults — full of communication, respect, and honest connection. Positive examples of integrity are plentiful in “Chocolate Covered Christmas”; moments that teach compromise, conflict resolution, generosity, love, encouragement, and more.
I must say, it’s a nice break to see such a wholesome film amidst the kind of year(s) we’ve been having; so much so, I’m willing to overlook the film’s at times generic delivery, sit back, and just soak up the joy like a sponge cake. As far as content goes, there’s nothing objectionable — “Chocolate Covered Christmas” is a clean Christmas romance the whole family can watch together…just don’t forget the sweets!
Chocolate Covered Christmas has been awarded the Dove Seal of Approval for All Ages.
The Dove Take
Chocolate Covered Christmas is a holiday film filled with romance, sweetness and all the accoutrements you’d expect in a Christmas movie.