Last year I posted (post here) that the Hallmark Channel were premiering An Old-Fashioned Christmas which was to be a sequel to An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008). Because they haven't released the film on DVD it wasn't until this year that I was able to watch it on YouTube. I watched this first with my sister and a day or so later watched it again with our mom. (You can read my review for An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving here.)
Synopsis: Picking up where An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving left off, Miss Matilda "Tilly" Bassett is traveling Europe with her wealthy grandmother Isabella Caldwell. It's Christmastime and Mrs. Caldwell has arranged for them to spend Christmas at Shannon Castle in Ireland the family home of the Earl of Shannon, a famous poet who she hopes will be able to Tilly's writings get published. But they find that Lady Shannon has other plans: the family fortune is spent so she is scheming for her son Cameron to marry Tilly who she thinks will inherit her grandmother's fortune. Scoundrel Cameron's attempts to woo Tilly don't go well at first but when he helps her to find her paternal grandfather she starts to look more kindly on him. Isabella worries that Tilly is falling for Cameron so she surprises her by inviting Tilly's fiance Gideon "Gad" Hopkins to join them at Shannon Castle. Although Tilly is glad to see Gad she is confused by Cameron's charms. Many misunderstandings ensue but it's Christmas to things are sure to end happily.
Script: Characters are based on Louisa May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving but the story is original and created by script writer Donald Martin for the Hallmark Channel. The language is fairly simple and more modern sounding but not too far removed from Victorian manners and customs.
Scenes: Filmed entirely in Ireland at a 200 year-old castle, there are many lovely views of the castle and surrounding grounds.
Costumes: Tilly and her grandmother have some lovely dresses made in taffetas and other gorgeous fabrics! Most of their dresses are also quite modest with higher necklines. The gentlemen have some lovely cravats, vests and jackets as well.
Actors In Their Roles:
- Catherine Steadman as Matilda "Tilly" Basset - British actress Catherine Steadman was perfectly spunky and sweet as Tilly and did a wonderful job of keeping up the American accent (though it sounded a bit Canadian at times). My sister and I actually preferred her over the actress who portrayed Tilly in the first film. Does she look familiar? Catherine portrayed a very sweet Julia Bertram in Mansfield Park (2007) and her photo was recently on my sidebar, header and blog button.
- Jacqueline Bisset as Isabella Caldwell - Reprising her role as Tilly's elegant grandmother she is perfect, I'm so glad that she was able to play the same role in this film.
- Kristopher Turner as Gideon "Gad" Hopkins - Gad is the true gentleman who loves Tilly for who she is and always acts honorably. My sister and I were very happy to see Kristopher Turner again in the role of Gad, he makes the character quite charming!
- Leon Ockenden as Cameron Shannon - Cameron is a scoundrel who spends most of his time lounging about the rambling castle or staying out late drinking and carousing at the local pub. Leon Ockenden was a charmer in the role but we also have to wonder why Tilly is attracted to him when she has a true gentleman in Gad.
- Ian McElhinney as Sean Bassett - Tilly's paternal grandfather who has hard feelings toward her grandmother and calls her "a witch". Ian McElhinney makes the character very funny and I adored his Irish accent!
My Thoughts: My sister and I really enjoyed this film! It's not a serious film, it's just a sweet, slightly cheesy, romantic TV film. There are so many fun and silly moments which we really enjoyed. There's even a sword fight! After watching it together we watched it a day or two later with our mom who laughed along with us. The characters are easy to like and the story of their Christmas together is very interesting.
My Recommendations: This film is family friendly with no swearing or inappropriate scenes. One thing that is slightly objectionable is the mention of Cameron Shannon's visits to the local pub and his carousing with barmaids - on my second viewing of the film I realized they mentioned "barmaids" several times. Also in one scene Cameron takes Gad to the pub and they are scene drinking from small glasses and Gad passes out. You can catch this film on the Hallmark Channel (look at their programming schedule, next showing December 10, 12am) or on YouTube here. (An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving can be seen here.)
Have you seen An Old-Fashioned Christmas or An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving?
How would you like to spend Christmas in Ireland like Tilly did?