Candace Cameron Bure is a seasoned and beloved Hallmark actress. She’s one of my favorites in the genre, and helped kick off the first round of 2016 Countdown to Christmas movies on Hallmark with Journey Back To Christmas by Maria Nation.
So, with Candace on board, and also the hint of time travel, I had high expectations.
Perhaps too high. My final feelings on this movie are divided.
I wanted to rave about this movie. It promised to fulfill my anticipation with time travel, romance, and a little mystery at Christmastime.
This may be a personal issue, but time travel always messes with my mind. Kind of like The Twilight Zone.
One irony was that Hanna actually journeyed forward to experience a family Christmas that she’d never had in the past, so to me, the title Journey Back to Christmas was a bit misleading.
That question led to other questions:
Why didn’t Tobias develop the film in the camera Hanna left behind for 71 years when he was so clearly obsessed with the nurse who impacted his life and mysteriously left without a trace – especially when he knew there were photos of him on it?
How is it possible that Hanna vanished 71 years earlier, yet sent a postcard to her best friend three years later – and does not remember this development (which is a biggie but I won’t spoil it for you)?
See what I mean? Again, cue the music.
Unanswered questions are not generally a good sign when analyzing a movie. Often they lead to more questions.
For example, it seemed perhaps there would be a romance between Hanna and Jake, the deputy who goes to bat for her. (And by the way, why wasn’t he the sheriff? In the final analysis, the sheriff’s and deputy’s roles could’ve been combined.)
At the end of the movie, out of nowhere, Jake fell in love with his partner who was his kid sister’s best friend, whom he never even noticed romantically until his sister and Hanna pointed out that his partner loved him. Why hadn’t he realized this?…
I struggled a bit with this review because I so wanted to like this movie.
The enjoyable parts of watching this movie included:
1. The film did a good job of elevating the tension surrounding the mystery.
2. The 1940’s were convincingly detailed, and who doesn’t love a good period piece? It’s cool to see how structures change or withstand the effects of time and progress.
3. Candace’s portrayal of Hanna was so spot on, I thought she helped carry the movie.
I enjoy Candace in many other Christmas movies – like Christmas Under Wraps (to be reviewed). Last year, though I liked her character in Christmas Detour, I was a bit derailed by that unrealistic vision board (see last season’s review) she carried.
4. There was a sweet dog angle, with very sweet dogs. (Aw)
If you can let go of questions that might start to drive you crazy, I recommend investing the time to see this movie.
I give it a 3.5 of 5 Christmas Comet Tails. ♥♥♥.5