The third movie from last weekend was “Chateau Christmas,” which aired on Hallmark Channel on October 25. This one starred the gorgeous Merritt Patterson and McCharmin’ himself, Luke Macfarlane.
I know the first question people have is: WHERE WAS THAT CHATEAU? Well, it was the Fairmount Chateau Whistler, in British Columbia. Gorgeous, I know! Nicole Baxter wrote the screenplay. She has written 12 Hallmark movies, including Fashionably Yours, and last year’s A Christmas Love Story. Director Michael Robinson has done a lot of projects for Hallmark since 2018, especially on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.
In a nutshell
Of the first weekend’s movies, this was my least favorite. It had such potential, and I loved that there were multiple love stories involved, and I loved having JESSE HUTCH back on Hallmark Channel after a multi-year drought, but it wasn’t enough.
Plot (from Hallmark Channel website)
Margot (Patterson), a world-renowned pianist, returns to Chateau Neuhaus to spend the holidays with her family and rediscover her passion for music. While there, her ex-boyfriend and former bandmate Jackson (Macfarlane), convinces her to headline the annual Christmas Concert and working together brings back all their old feelings.
What’s not to love about Patterson and Macfarlane? She is the star of one of the most popular Hallmark movies that brings people to this website, Forever In My Heart, and he’s in one of the most popular Hallmark Christmas movies that brings people to this website, Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen. They were joined by a few notables, including Jesse Hutch, who has been sorely missed on Hallmark Channel, as well as Jessica Steen playing Margot’s mom and Julia Benson (actress and spouse of Hallmark actor Peter Benson), playing Margot’s sister.
Six Degrees of Polaha: Jessica Steen is 2 degrees away from Polaha. All the way back in 1996 Steen was in a direct-to-video movie called “Dog Watch,” which also starred Paul Sorvino. Fast forward all the way to 2019, and Sorvino and Polaha costarred together in “Beneath the Leaves.”
The chemistry I enjoyed the most was actually between Patterson, Steen and Benson. I absolutely believed they were all related. The only distraction was that I became obsessed with the notion that Jessica Steen needs to play a relative of Nikki Deloach (aunt? older sister?) in a future movie because they could absolutely pass that off.
As for Patterson and Macfarlane, I thought they did well but I never got romantic vibes from them. I got nostalgic “aw, that’s my ex” vibes, and some great friend vibes, but never “hey, I’m still into that person” vibes.
The movie had plenty of tropes to satisfy me (and my bingo card). The whole premise of the movie was about exes. A big event was in jeopardy. There was a cute kid. They drank some hot cocoa (albeit in empty cups). They sort of had a baking scene although it really was just decorating cookies. Luke’s character wore a big scarf through most of the movie. They had a whole musical montage of the tree decorating. We even got some crafting when they made wreaths. I was thrilled to see the first snowball fight of the season even if the snow was fake and the snowballs too perfectly round (see photo below). We had a tree-lighting AND we even got an almost kiss. See? TONS of tropes!
Bingo Card Score for “Chateau Christmas”
I had 10 spots covered on my bingo card and was so close to getting a bingo – to no avail. Don’t forget, if you want to play along with each movie, you can download my free bingo cards!
Did I Hear/See That Right?
There were more than a few issues with the movie, but I only want to talk about one. The fake playing of musical instruments in movies. It drives me batty. I say this as a former piano player (I took lessons for 8 years as a kid and as an adult played in two church bands for many years). I feel as though I can tell when it’s legit and when it’s not.
When you have a movie in which the main plot involves musicians trying to put on a show, AND you have two actors who have actual experience (Patterson claimed on Twitter the night the movie aired that she does, in fact, play piano, and Macfarlane does play cello), the least you can do is give us AT LEAST one scene where it’s obvious that they can actually play.
Have Margot mindless playing a little ditty while waiting for rehearsal to start. As an example, I don’t care how long I’ve gone between sitting down to play, but 100% of the time the first thing I play to test the tuning on the piano is the first few riffs from Beethoven’s Für Elise. Every time. Surely Patterson has a similar thing she plays every time she sits at a piano. Similarly, have Jackson tune a cello and play a few seconds. It’s not that hard to do, and show the audience that while it’s a movie, not all of it is fake. In Patterson’s case, there was only one scene early in the movie where it appeared she was genuinely playing and we even got to see her hands play and it very closely matched what I was hearing. But even that was iffy at best.
But one of the things that bugs me the most about piano players in movies is that their “sway” when they play is never natural and never consistent with the music. Again, as a piano player, I feel I can speak to this with some authority. Yes, we piano players sway back and forth when we play, but we also do it with a certain flow based on how they are playing at that moment. And NONE of the “musicians” moved with the music in a way a real musician would. And what’s sad is that the option was readily available.
Yes, there were other issues with the movie (Why the focus on the necklace – that plot point came out of nowhere and left just as quickly? Did a kid really press all the buttons on the elevator? Did Margot’s family really stay at that chateau for a week or more despite it being in their own hometown? Why?), and yes the movie dragged more than a bit with a lackluster and obvious story. But I was so upset by the issue of pianists and cellists that I wrote no other notes down.
Despite that, I DID have things I loved about the movie. I’ve already mentioned Jesse Hutch, who needs to keep the hair and play Sean Faris’s older brother in a Hallmark movie next year. The decorations throughout the movie were really nice. I also really did love the song that Margot played at the end of the movie.
Sadly, I won’t watch “Chateau Christmas” again unless I happen upon the last 10 minutes and can hear that one song get played. Other than that, it’s a miss for me.
“Chateau Christmas” is in the lower third for the year.
- Sweet Autumn (air date: Oct 17) – 693 pts – weighted score: 118.5 (83.1%)
- Matching Hearts (air date: Feb 8) – 640 pts – weighted score: 109.0 (76.5%)
- Winter in Vail (air date: Jan 4) – 623 pts – weighted score: 108.8 (76.4%)
- Wedding Every Weekend (air date: Aug 15) – 639 pts – weighted score: 108.3 (76.0%)
- Love in Store (air date: Feb 22) – 637 pts – weighted score: 108.2 (75.9%)
- Hello, It’s Me (air date: Sept 27) – 628 pts – weighted score: 107.8% (75.6%)
- Love on Harbor Island (air date: Aug 8) – 634 pts – weighted score: 106.9 (75.0%)
- The Secret Ingredient (air date: Feb 15) – 617 pts – weighted score: 105.2 (73.8%)
- Country at Heart (air date: Oct 3) – 611 pts – weighted score: 104.1 (73.1%)
- You’re Bacon Me Crazy (air date: Apr 4) – 591 pts – weighted score: 104.0 (72.9%)
- My Best Friend’s Bouquet (air date: Oct 10) – 599 pts – weighted score: 103.4 (72.5%)
- Fashionably Yours (air date: Apr 11) – 594 pts – weighted score: 102.6 (72.0%)
- Follow Your Heart (air date: Oct 4) – 585 pts – weighted score: 101.6 (71.3%)
- Christmas Tree Lane (air date: Oct 24) – 574 pts – weighted score: 100.3 (70.4%)
- A Valentine’s Match (air date: Feb 1) – 562 pts – weighted score: 99.8 (70.0%)
- Love On Iceland (air date: Jan 18) – 563 pts – weighted score: 99.4 (69.7%)
- Hearts of Winter (air date: Jan 25) – 561 pts – weighted score: 98.2 (68.9%)
- Jingle Bell Bride (air date: Oct 24) – 558 pts – weighted score: 97.9 (68.7%)
- Just My Type (air date: Mar 28) – 565 pts – weighted score: 95.4% (66.9%)
- Bad Date Chronicles (air date: Feb 28) – 520 pts – weighted score: 91.0 (63.9%)
- Love in Winterland (air date: Jan 11) – 508 pts – weighted score: 90.7 (63.6%)
- Nature of Love (air date: Apr 18) – 520 pts – weighted score: 90.3 (63.3%)
- Chateau Christmas (air date: Oct 25) – 502 pts – weighted score: 87.3 (61.3%)
- Amazing Winter Romance (air date: Jan 20) – 487 pts – weighted score: 85.6 (60.1%)
- Love Under the Olive Tree (air date: June 20) – 473 pts – weighted score: 85.0 (59.6%)
- In the Key of Love (air date: Mar 14) – 470 pts – weighted score: 82.5 (57.9%)
- Love in the Forecast (air date: Jun 13) – 440 pts – weighted score: 72.5 (50.8%)
- Midway to Love (air date: June 26) – 410 pts – weighted score: 69.0 (48.4%)
- Falling at Look Lodge (air date: Sept 26) – 350 pts – weighted score: 64.0 (44.9%)
- Romance in the Air (air date: Aug 1) – 367 pts – weighted score: 63.2 (44.3%)
- Follow Me to Daisy Hills (air date: Sept 19) – 337 pts – weighted score: 62.8 (44.1%)
- How to Train Your Husband (air date: May 16) – 350 pts – weighted score: 62.5 (43.9%)
To see where this movie lands in my overall rankings of Hallmark movies, visit my Hallmark Movie Rankings page!
What did you think of “Chateau Christmas”? Am I being too harsh? Comment below and let me know!Click To Tweet