Poinsettias for Christmas (2018)

I learned some important things about poinsettia care from watching a Lifetime movie, and I think about it every damn time I see my precious plant. So I guess I can’t be too hard on Poinsettias for Christmas since it’s both educational and entertaining. It also stars Bethany Joy Lenz, who has a pretty good track record when it comes to holiday movies.

Lenz plays Ellie, an urban planner who returns home when she gets an urgent call from her father (John Schneider) about their poinsettia farm. After years in the business, there’s no problem he can’t handle, at least that’s what Ellie thinks until she discovers a greenhouse full of poinsettias that haven’t changed color. That’s not a big deal in my house because I quite like the look of green poinsettias, but this is the actual nightmare scenario of Ellie’s family. Not only do they supply local schools and businesses with the colorful plants, they also provide poinsettias for the town’s Christmas parade. Failure to fill this year’s orders will destroy their reputation and business, which has been decades in the making.

When you have thousands of plants, it’s more than a matter of googling “how to change the color of poinsettia leaves,” and Ellie needs a major fix. She digs in to her vast horticultural knowledge and seeks additional help from the farm’s botanist, Sean (Marcus Rosner). She gets some useful suggestions, but she also gets a fierce rival in the form of Patty (Lauren London), her former classmate and resident mean girl. Not only is Patty dating Sean, she also wants to expand her lifestyle blogger/influencer/guru profile by purchasing the poinsettia farm. It’s shaping up to be a miserable Christmas for Ellie’s whole family.

One of the film’s surprises, besides learning plant care, was Rosner’s role as the good guy. He’s played the asshole boyfriend for so long that my brain can’t catch up with what I’m seeing. I know he’s supposed to be a legitimate love interest, but I keep waiting for him to pull a signature jerk move, like taking credit for something Ellie did or prioritizing his needs over hers. Lenz, on the other hand, is exactly what you’d expect for her character. She shifts effortlessly between a fancy city gal and a dirt-under-the-fingers country girl. She brings a certain humility to this role that I find appealing as well. Her performance lends more dimension to the usual “save the farm” plot and is a reason why this movie falls in the better half of the genre.

Released: 2018
Dir: Christie Will Wolf
Writer: Barbara Kymlicka
Cast: Bethany Joy Lenz, Marcus Rosner, Sharon Lawrence, Lauren London, John Schneider, Rhonda Dent
Time: 86 min
Lang: English
Country: United States
Network: Lifetime
Reviewed: 2019