A Winter Princess (2019)

Just because Hallmark can make countless movies about princes and princesses doesn’t mean it should. Case and point – A Winter Princess – a movie that shows we’ve reached some sort of end stage civilization. It’s not even the worst of the genre (have you seen Ion), but it seems like Hallmark is giving up. When “Landora” is all you’ve got for your fictional European kingdom, then it’s time to change things around, like maybe hire more writers of color for starters. (I would never be so lazy with my made-up European countries.)

Something tells me we’re going to keep chugging along this road to nowhere though since this movie is as unimaginative and laughable as all the others. It does, however, have the distinction of featuring an American princess when we’re used to seeing British-adjacent princes. Technically, Princess Carlotta (Natalie Hall) is Landorian but girl has an American accent, American mannerisms, and an American blowout, and all because of a few years at boarding school. Sure.

At least this makes for a good undercover guise. “Carly” wants to experience life outside the limelight and without the pressures that come with her royal title, so she’s been working at a ski resort in Colorado. When her dad, King Kristof (Mackenzie Gray), calls her home though, she has to say goodbye to this low-key lifestyle, one she’s grown to love. It also means abandoning her job just as the resort is about to celebrate its fiftieth birthday. She doesn’t want to go against her father’s wishes, but she also doesn’t want to miss out on the Snow Ball. Girl, who would?

Carly arranges to stay for a few more days and hand the planning over to her boss’s brother, Jesse (Chris McNally). She knows she’s made the right decision when he turns out to be dreamy and devoted to his family, but wait – who are these two guys who suddenly show up at the resort requesting buckwheat pillows? It seems like Carly’s not the only one in Landora with ideas of escaping to Colorado; her twin brother, Prince Gustav (Casey Manderson), and their friend (and possibly cousin?), Prince Emile (Brendon Zub), also want a taste of the gap year life before deciding their next royal step.

To be honest, this was the couple I was really invested in. Sure, Gustav and Emile might not have been a pair, but you’re not going to convince me that these two squeaky Canadian lads with matching sweaters and shit awful accents (Zub’s is slightly better) wouldn’t have made a delicious duo. Both actors seem to be having a good time with their slightly off-center characters, and that’s a sure plus. Anyway, this is the Hallmark movie I really want.

Instead, we’re treated to the perfunctory romance between Carly and Jesse. Like so many Hallmark couples, they fade into the story. There’s nothing bad to say about them but there’s nothing worth noting either, except that I adore Carly’s white Snow Ball cape. Again, I only have eyes for Gustav and Emile, and we can put the other two in their proper place, which is the supporting role.

Released: 2019
Dir: Allan Harmon
Writer: Erinne Dobson
Cast: Natalie Hall, Chris McNally, Lara Gilchrist, Casey Manderson, Brendon Zub, Mackenzie Gray, Kazumi Evans, Lossen Chambers
Time: 83 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Channel
Reviewed: 2019

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