The Borrowed Christmas

The Borrowed Christmas ★★½

It's like the last act of Funny Farm, but sadder and more painfully peculiar.

John Dale's the local rich man. He's got no family, living in his huge one-room mansion with his two servants, so he decides to fill some hole in his heart by throwing money at the problem: "borrowing" a Christmas from the local rental store. Armed with five orphans and an expense account, the romantically unattached Anne Weston sets out to replicate the quasi-Dickensian Christmas to match Mr. Dale's desires.

What could possibly go wrong...or go right?

The thing about this movie is that nothing actually goes wrong. The audience knows where it's going, almost from minute one, and there's literally no impediment to getting there. Even the most basic romcom has that third act miscommunication that threatens to derail everybody's happiness. This has a ticking clock, of sorts, but you will never, for an instant, doubt where this is going to end up.

It's not horrible. In its way, I feel like it's fairly earnest. The minds behind it don't think this concept looks that strange. But it is. It's sparsely directed, with some shots out of focus for no reason, and the vast majority of the film is people sitting down and talking about things. Uncovering lost photographs... Idealized Christmases... Broach donation etiquette...

All the usual yuletide topics are covered and more.

Curtis liked these reviews