All wrapped up, but there isn't much warmth in this Netflix originalnetflix

Let It Snow is one of a number of Christmas movies in the Hallmark-style Netflix is releasing over November and December. This one is a version of Love Actually that focuses exclusively on teenagers. During a snowstorm, the main characters throw a party at a waffle-themed diner, most of them finding love over the course of the movie’s hour and a half runtime.

Clichés may be expected in the genre, but they are not done well here. The jokes are by and large not funny, and the emotional moments feel empty. There is a popstar, and a girl who wins his heart because she, unlike other girls, does not care that he is famous. At one point the popstar has to escape from a group of excited fangirls, while the love interest looks on, very much above it all.

She is, the movie tells us, not at all like them. She is going to Columbia, and she buys Christmas gifts for her sick mom, while the fangirls, as they are shown to us, are more concerned with their iPhones and their yoga pants.

Then there are the two best friends who confess their feelings to each other in the final moments of the movie. Early in their subplot, one half of the couple is instructed to, “just tell her you like her already!” Both of them are so blandly quirky they are not worth dwelling on, although one is played by Kiernan Shipka, whom I have liked so much in other things that I was happy to see her on screen, no matter the context.

Even Kiernan Shipka can't feel the Christmas spiritnetflix

The same is true of D’Arcy Carden, as the pop star’s publicist who wants him back in the big city, and Joan Cusack, who is credited as ‘Tin Foil Woman’ and offers advice to another of the main characters (there are quite a few of them) about her cheating boyfriend and the dangers of social media.

Finally, there is a lesbian couple, one of whom had been a part of the group of fangirls chasing the pop star, and is the only one of them who gets anything close to character development. Neither of them have very much personality either, beyond the fact that they like Harry Potter, but this alone makes them the two most engaging characters in the movie and I would have been glad if it had focused entirely on them.

The Christmas spirit would be better achieved by simply watching a Yule log burn on YouTube

For all my complaints about the clichés in this movie, there were a few that I enjoy in the genre which were missing from this one. For instance, in a movie that is ostensibly about the power of snow to bring people together, there is very little actual snow. Sure, there is snow in the background in a couple of scenes, and a car chase (don’t ask) over snow covered roads. But there are no shots of falling snow. No snow-covered landscapes under the moonlight. Not even the sense that the characters are snowed in at the waffle-themed diner. Throughout the movie they drive to it and away from it without any trouble at all.


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If they had been stuck there, the movie might have been able to convey the magical feeling of reality slightly altered as everything comes to a stop for snow, and people gather together in unexpected places, making their own pockets of light and warmth while a storm rages outside.

That being said, there was one part that gave me the sense of coziness and togetherness I think is essential in any Christmas movie. In that scene, two characters dance to a song I had not heard since I was a child, and the song brought back memories, almost as vivid as if I was there again, of Christmas parties when I was small, of cookies, and picture books, and Christmas tree decorating. This had little to do with what was happening in the movie, but it moved me to nostalgia and warm feelings for the world nonetheless.

Let It Snow is not very good, and not very original either. The Christmas spirit would be better achieved by listening to carols, or even by watching a Yule log burn on YouTube, but there are still worse ways to spend an afternoon

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