‘A Castle for Christmas’ Review: A Delightful Christmas Journey through the Scottish Highlands

For the last number of years, the Hallmark Channel has had the market cornered on holiday movies. Netflix, however, has been coming in steady for the last several Christmas seasons with a slate of their own. A Castle for Christmas is one of their most recent, and is a worthy addition to their Christmas lineup.

For aficionados of Scottish culture, A Castle for Christmas has so much packed into a single movie. Featuring kilts, plaid patterns, thick Scottish accents and gorgeous shots of the breathtaking Scottish highlands, it is a tribute to Scottish people and what draws so many to this land. Classic Scottish hospitality was on full display in a quaint Scottish village. It also would not have been a movie set in Scotland without bagpipes, traditional ballads, and highland dancing.

Viewers are introduced to Sophie (Brooke Shields), an author who has been getting a lot of hate for the character choices she’s made in her most recent book in her beloved series. Her breakdown on The Drew Barrymore Show was incredibly realistic and relatable, and a perfect catalyst to set the events of her own story in motion. Having Drew Barrymore play herself on her own daytime television show was a stroke of genius and really played to Barrymore’s comedic strengths.

(L) Brooke Shields (R) Cary Elwes. ‘A Castle for Christmas’. Photo Credit: Netflix

Cary Elwes fans will rejoice at seeing him in his latest role as the grouchy Duke Myles who just needs some love in his life. Watching Elwes catch snowflakes in the fakest, most overexaggerated way is strangely endearing and could have been the epitome of cringe with any other actor. He’s essentially playing a grown-up version of his beloved character of Westley in The Princess Bride. He’s in love, but doesn’t want to betray his feelings and admit it until the last possible moment. This type of role is perfect Elwes, and he makes this character work every single time.

Netflix is another streaming service that understands what fans want out of a Christmas movie. Lots of romance, with one character who is reluctant to admit their feelings crossed with a character at a pivotal emotional point in their lives is just what the doctor ordered this holiday season. Shields and Elwes have such perfect chemistry to highlight the magic of this time of year and make the audience buy into a story light on plot and heavy on Christmas cheer. We see so many movies every year with actors who complete this formula to such a T as to become nausea-inducing. However, actors of Shields’ and Elwes’ caliber are more than able to make it all come together.y

It was an odd choice to have A Castle for Christmas devoid of absolutely any political context or nuance when dealing with a subject as topical as the continuation of the aristocracy. Although there was brief mention of Sophie’s father having himself coming from a family who worked at Castle Dun Dunbar that was ultimately fired due to a child’s mischief, there was scarce any mention of any other issue that comes from an entire class of people continuing to have access to such expansive property passed down through generations. The only point of view presented in this movie was how sad it is that families who have had access to enormous privilege and wealth, including massive properties and lands are beginning to lose it. There’s certainly a discussion to be had here, perhaps far too nuanced and vast for a simple holiday romp.

(L) Cary Elwes (R) Brooke Shields. ‘A Castle for Christmas’. Photo Credit: Netflix

At the end of the day, A Castle for Christmas knew exactly what its assignment was, and executed it to near perfection. Allowing a happy ending for all and multiple gorgeous camera shots of a scenic landscape is what so many are after this holiday season. It allows viewers a much-needed respite from a far ideal world in which we currently find ourselves, and audiences everywhere can return to this sweet love story again and again for comfort. These stories can keep us grounded and sane at a time of year full of chaos in equal measure to magic and wonder.

A Castle for Christmas is really the best of what a holiday movie can be, and two exceptionally talented actors definitely don’t hurt to bring viewers on board. If Christmas movies are what you are after this season, A Castle for Christmas should make a worthy addition to your list, and just might be the beginning of a Netflix Christmas saga we can look forward to in years to come.

A Castle for Christmas is currently available to stream on Netflix.

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