It's that time of the year again when the film industry regales viewers with many Christmas/holiday movies and we are always spoiled for choice. However, over the years I think the quality of films has reduced and most of us fall back to old movies to revive the nostalgic feelings that accompany the season.
So I browsed through the streaming site I use and found a few Christmas movies. I was a little reluctant to watch any because I didn't want to be disappointed. Then I saw EXmas (2023) and interestingly, the familiar faces of two fine actors whom I love to see on my screen are on the poster. It's the good-looking Robbie Amnell (aka DC Firestorm) and lovely Leighton Meester (Gossip Girls)! I can't help it when the cast determines whether I'll watch a film or not.
EXmas is an American romantic comedy about the Stroop family. Graham (played by Robbie Amnell) is the firstborn son, a coder who's working on a game that his boss insists must be ready by Christmas. He calls his enthusiastic and fun-loving parents and tells them he won't be coming for the holidays. They are unhappy about it and invite his ex-fiancee, Ali (played by Leighton Meester) to join them for Christmas. Ali is nice and beloved by the Stroop family.
A few days before Christmas, Graham shows up at home to surprise his family. He's shocked to see Ali helping out with the decorations. His parents are shocked as well and confess they'd put her up in his old room so he would have to sleep on the couch. Graham seethes and vows to expose her as an unloving, uncaring person. Will his plans work out? Is this the perfect opportunity for this couple to examine what went wrong in their relationship?
One word for this movie is - surprise! The plot is cute and believable, and the director uses it to lean into the dynamic of the Stroop family. This film exceeds my expectations considering the kind of holiday films the industry has been spewing out for the past few years. EXmas is a festive and highly amusing comedy that incorporates a little romance and a lot of family connection. I mean, it's Robbie Amnell and Leighton Meester and these two give it their best shot.
The performance of the cast is impressive and their chemistry is so good. I enjoy seeing Robbie Amnell and Leighton Meester together. They are great at delivering on their roles and are a perfect match for this film. The supporting roles of other family members are excellent. They are fun, loud, funny and a delight as they should be in a festive movie. Of course, like most Christmas flicks, there's a sad scene that almost breaks our hearts but the director turned it around nicely.
The cinematography is good. Many colourful scenes put viewers into the Yuletide mood and fill us with wishes and longing for a cheerful celebration like in the movies.
Overall, I'll say this film tipped the scale when it comes to Christmas movies. The romance is realistic and the comedy is genuinely witty and heartwarming. I'll recommend it for the Christmas holidays.
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Other images are screenshots from the movie
Posted using CineTV