Christmas with You: Netflix Wants Your Christmas Cheer!
Netflix wants your Christmas cheer and this year they are coming at viewers with a slate of holiday rom-coms. Christmas with You is a standout in that slate.
The Netflix original, starring Aimee Garcia and Freddie Prinze Jr, mixes genre staples with modern, and multilingual, notes. The end result is a family movie equally suited for snuggling up to or dancing along with.
The story follows established pop star Angelina (Aimee Garcia) as she navigates her waning enthusiasm for work, her grief over her mother’s passing, and the subtle/not-so-subtle hints that maybe it is time to retire.
Determined to persevere, Angelina impulsively grants one fan’s wish for a selfie, hurtling her into the lives of small-town, single father Miguel (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and his daughter Cristina (Deja Monique Cruz). The two worlds come together in a slightly clichéd but still enjoyable way.
This down-home world turns out to be the inspiration Angelina needs. With a little help, she finally writes the song she owes her label. For Miguel, Cristina, her Abuela, and tías, Angelina’s presence brings pizazz and the missing dance choreography for Cristina’s upcoming quinceanera.
It is the perfect backdrop for Miguel and Angelina to organically get to know each other. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Aimee Garcia have great chemistry on screen but Prinze Jr. stands out in his delivery of a believable and loveable average Joe father.
The supporting performances by Socorro Santiago, as Abuela Frida, and Zenzi Williams, as Monique the manager, are particularly noteworthy for their comedic timing, with the most memorable laugh-out-loud moments coming from these talented actresses.
The sweetest, and most modern, element of this story comes not from the romantic interest between Miguel and Angelina, but from the solidarity between female musical artists. The label’s newest artist, Cheri Bibi, played by Nicolette Stephanie Templier, is being pitted against Angelina. However, in a scene that almost passes the Bechdel Test, Angelina declares her admiration for Cheri and rejects the dynamic that only one woman can succeed. She vows to celebrate Cheri and her wins.
Director Gabriela Tagliavini expertly weaves together themes of grief, healing, growth, female solidarity, and love, with the right mix of comedy and romantic tension, set against a lively holiday tableau. Christmas with You leaves the viewer as warm as a bowl of home-cooked pozole and as happy as a shot of Christmas tequila.