Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane (2018)

Christmas on Honeysuckle Lane comes dripping with syrup, which is great if you like your Christmas movies sweet and gooey. Set in the handsome Silas W. Robbins House in Wethersfield, Connecticut, the story is about a woman who spends one final Christmas with her siblings at their family home before selling it. Emma (Alicia Witt) gets some holiday surprises though when she discovers a cache of her mother’s love letters and has to make a decision about her own relationship.

The letters come as a shock not because they tumble out of a hidden desk compartment but because Emma realizes they are not from her father. Instead, the correspondence is between her mother and a mysterious RJ. The revelation causes Emma to consider her parents’ marriage from a new perspective, and she wonders if it was as enduring as everyone thought it to be. As she tries to uncover the truth, she keeps the news from her younger brother, Daniel (Jordan Dean), who idolized their parents.

Emma also has to do some soul searching regarding her own relationship. The boyfriend (John Palladino) she recently broke up with, and whom her family loves, shows up to the family’s holiday celebration with certain intentions. Meanwhile, Morgan (Colin Ferguson), an antiques dealer and guy who doesn’t like the town’s signature blue wreaths, grows closer to Emma while he appraises her family’s heirlooms.

Maybe it’s the nineteenth century home that makes this movie seem a touch somber and overly serious because there’s not a lot of room in this script for Christmas joy and levity. Andie (Laura Leighton), the oldest sister, also is also troubled by her relationship with her daughter, Rumi (Ariane Rinehart), who wants to change her college major and has apparently discussed her decision with everyone except her mother. The home on Honeysuckle Lane is just the kind of place where you’d expect to find family secrets and intergenerational discord.

Witt, however, really sets the tone. She’s managed pensive and playful in the past but opts for more of the former in this part. For Emma, the sacredness of her parents’ marriage, their house, and her Christmas memories is a lot, and Witt treats it all with great solemnity. She wastes no opportunity to twist her mouth and scrunch her brow in hurt and confusion. Rather than looking like a serious adult though, she comes across a bit lost and dippy. Some might also think of it as tortured overacting, which it is, but the whole movie is a lesson in sappy melodrama, and the ending is fitting for a company that specializes in nostalgia and keepsakes.

Released: 2018
Dir: Maggie Greenwald
Writer: Caitlin D. Fryers
Cast: Alicia Witt, Colin Ferguson, Laura Leighton, Jill Larson, Mary Beth McDonough, Ariane Rinehart, Jordan Dean, Jose Ramon Rosario, John Palladino
Time: 100 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Hallmark Movies and Mysteries
Reviewed: 2019