Here’s the deal with A Christmas Prince. It’s a Christmas romance movie. Watch the trailer or the movie for 10 minutes and you’ll know exactly where it’s going. Sure, it’s not going to win a ton of points for originality, but it’s charming and well worth taking a break from the Hallmark Channel holiday movie marathon to catch this Netflix original. Given the recent royal engagement, the timing on this one couldn’t be any better.
Amber (Rose McIver, iZombie) isn’t satisfied as a junior copy editor at a New York magazine. She wants to write her own stories instead of just cleaning up the train wrecks crafted by others. Amber gets her big break when her editor assigns her to cover Richard (Ben Lamb), the playboy prince of Aldovia. Upon his father’s death, Richard has reluctantly returned home to become the king.
It’s the Christmas season and a new king is about to have his coronation, which explains the lax security that assumes Amber is a tutor for Richard’s sister, Emily (Honor Kneafsey). After some early hiccups, Amber and Emily hit it off and Emily becomes Amber’s main ally. Maybe Amber had it all wrong with Richard as he’s hardly the Lothario she thought. And it turns out Richard just needed Emily’s stamp of approval to get smitten.
The script has some shooting fish in a barrel style plot holes, but go be a Grinch with other films. If you’re holding Christmas romance movies to some high standard, you’re kind of missing the point.
Screenwriter Nate Atkins understands the necessary boxes to check including the not as stuffy as she seems Queen Helena (Alice Krige who killed with some great costumes); Amber’s hip black friend (Tahirah Sharif) and gay friend (Joel McVeagh) and Richard’s old flame who’s back in to him for the crown. And sure Emily may have a slightly unintentional Tiny Tim vibe going with her crutches, but I appreciated the effort to add some disabled diversity.
There’s an earnestness to the film that never fades. That’s why it’s so easy to go along with the various conveniences and questionable antics. Except Amber’s random thoughts masquerading as notes for her big story. That was just crazy. Amber almost got attacked by a wolf, but the most ludicrous aspect of the film was Amber’s note-taking style.
McIver brings a real genuine quality to her performance. Amber makes some odd choices, but it’s easy to go along with it due to McIver somehow making it make sense. Lamb might not be the most charismatic performer, but he fits the role of a prince struggling to come to grips with his future. The romance was expected, but Emily and Amber’s bond was unexpectedly sweet thanks to Kneafsey giving Emily several layers beyond the typical younger sibling role in these films.
Director Alex Zamm wisely doesn’t go too heavy with the melodramatics. Sure, eventually the film’s ‘bad guys’ have to try and make things messy, but their impact isn’t overwhelming. The film was shot at the Peles Castle in Romania, which made for a beautiful backdrop with the snow and set decorations.
A Christmas Prince is a cute Christmas movie. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously and kept me entertained throughout even if at times I was poking fun of its predictability. This makes for a sweet new addition to the Christmas movie rotation.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Netflix