“Christmas in Vienna,” a movie that was filmed almost a year ago in pre-COVID shutdown times, aired on November 14, 2020. It starred Sarah Drew and the ever-popular Brennan Elliott. And yes, the movie was partially filmed in Vienna, Austria. Additional footage was taken in Bucharest, Romania. And it was all GORGEOUS. Because the film was shot around the holidays, all of those Christmas decorations that are featured in the movie were completely real! No props needed! I’m determined to go to Vienna for Christmas at least once in my life.
Maclain Nelson directed, having previously directed 2018’s “Small Town Christmas” (one of my faves) and 2019’s “Christmas On My Mind.” Joie Botkin once again supplied the script, having most recently been the writer behind Cranberry Christmas which just aired a couple of weeks ago.
In a nutshell
The movie was worth the wait and I enjoyed it very much.
Jess, a concert violinist whose heart just isn’t in it anymore, goes to Vienna for a performance. While there, she finds the inspiration she has been missing, and a new love in Mark, a diplomat living with his kids in Vienna. Jess ends up becoming caretaker to the kids for the week when their current au pair has some scheduling issues.
I mean, c’mon. Brennan Elliott is the leading man in my all-time favorite Hallmark movie (“All of My Heart”). What’s NOT to like about Brennan Elliott?! He exudes charm and you can’t help but love him. Sarah Drew was solid and I appreciated that she figured out how to look like she was actually playing the violin versus some other actors where it’s clear that they aren’t even trying to look legit.
This was another movie where I loved the kids. In particular, the youngest of the three stole my heart in the scene where they first enter the music room and Sarah Drew’s character, Jess, talks about Mozart playing in that very room when he was only 6 years old. The girl replies, “I’M 6 years old!” Jess says something like, “Would you want to play in this room?” or “Can you imagine playing in this room?” and the little girl’s reaction was so natural and so perfect and so NOT ACTORY. It was a mix of horror and fear at the thought of playing, as only can be displayed by a sub-10 year old. The young actress’ name is Abigail Vollnhofer and this looks like it might have been her first movie. She did great, and that scene made me laugh.
Six Degrees of Polaha: Sarah Drew and Kristoffer Polaha both have actor Tanner Stine in common. She co-starred with him in 2018’s “Indivisible” while Polaha played his dad in 2018’s “Run the Race.” This makes Drew and Polaha only 2 degrees apart.
The entire “Christmas in Vienna” cast was great together. From Drew and Elliott to the three kids to the actress that played the college roommate and caretaker to the kids – they were all a good team. And I loved that there was no COVID restriction in place (I believe when this was filmed COVID was only just discovered in China and had not traveled elsewhere at that point) which allowed the actors to actually be near each other and truly interact up close and build that sense of intimacy. It was nice to see.
The movie had plenty of tropes although not as many as I hoped. The movie obvious had festivals galore between the market and the candle lighting – all good stuff! We had SEVERAL hot cocoa, including one held in both hands (see picture below!). The kids were adorable. There was crafting (the college roommate handpaints ornaments, for one). I did see at least one big scarf. They went Christmas tree shopping AND decorated the tree. They went ice skating (on real ice and on a big rink!).
Bingo Card Score for “Christmas in Vienna”
No bingo this time out, but I covered 8 spots. Feel free to download my free bingo cards and play along!
Did I Hear/See That Right?
Not too much stood out for me that needed fixing. Jess says that the rest of the quartet she plays with was arriving the following week. And we NEVER saw her practice with them or interact with them despite being the concertmaster (or did she just want to BE a concertmaster?). Additionally, I saw no quartet at the end of the movie during the concert.
Secondly, it should be outlawed that no one dances to Christmas carols. No one hears “Silent Night,” a song about a virgin giving birth to a baby in a manger, and thinks that’s the perfect jam for a slow dance. This movie even REFERENCES how wrong that is, and yet later in the movie, THEY DANCED TO SILENT NIGHT. SMH.
My biggest issue was the conflict itself. Mark’s conflict was legitimate – he was offered a promotion which involved moving again after only being in Vienna for a year. She was upset that he didn’t take the kids’ feelings into consideration and told him so. And his response was to bring up her doubt about whether to continue pursuing her music. What?! YOU ARE MOVING YOUR KIDS, DUDE. She’s just opting to pivot and pursue a different career, something that AFFECTS NO ONE ELSE.
I had several feels during the movie. First, I’m already planning a trip to Vienna in my future. I don’t know when, or how, but I’m going. That’s a fact. The whole movie felt like an homage to “The Sound of Music” from him being Captain Von Trapp to her Maria to them all performing together at the concert.
I also appreciated Mark’s line about growing up in an Army family. He told Jess that it resulted in him fitting in everywhere but never being completely at home. To this day I don’t consider any house I love in my “home.” It’s a house that I live in. Granted, I’ve been in my current house for 14 years so it’s as close to being home as I’ve ever had before, but I wouldn’t cry if we moved.
I’ve already mentioned the younger daughter in this movie, and I’ll mention her again. Loved that little girl.
I do think I’d watch this one again if only for the scenery and the kids. Yes, I love Brennan Elliott, but it was Vienna and the kids that made me like this movie as much as I did.
“Christmas in Vienna” may not have cracked the Top 10 for the year, but that’s okay – it’s still in the Top 30% for the year, which is nothing to sneeze at.
- One Royal Holiday (air date: Oct 31) – 722 pts – weighted score: 121.8 (85.5%)
- On the 12th Date of Christmas (air date: Nov 1) – 707 pts – weighted score: 119.2 (83.6%)
- Sweet Autumn (air date: Oct 17) – 693 pts – weighted score: 118.5 (83.1%)
- Deliver by Christmas (air date: Oct 25) – 697 pts – weighted score: 117.4 (82.4%)
- Christmas With the Darlings (air date: Nov 8) – 691 pts – weighted score: 117.2 (82.2%)
- Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater (air date: Nov 7) – 681 pts – weighted score: 115.8 (81.2%)
- The Christmas Bow (air date: Nov 8) – 676 pts – weighted score: 113.2 (79.4%)
- Cranberry Christmas (air date: Oct 31) – 650 pts – weighted score: 112.1 (78.6%)
- 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%)
- Christmas in Vienna (air date: Nov 14) – 636 pts – weighted score: 107.0 (75.1%)
- 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%)
- The Christmas Ring (air date: Nov 7) – 609 pts – weighted score: 103.3 (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 “Christmas in Vienna”? Comment below and let me know!