In Hallmark circles, it’s a given that movies follow repetitive and predictable patterns, but two 2020 Christmas releases go beyond the usual tropes by using the exact same story in two similar ways.
In The Christmas Ring, a reporter searches for the love story behind an antique engagement ring. With the help of the ring’s owner’s grandson, they learn the legacy his grandparents left behind.
Nazneen Contractor & David Alpay star in “The Christmas Ring.” Image: Crown Media
Similarly, A Little Christmas Charm is about a jewelry designer who finds a lost charm bracelet and teams up with an investigative reporter to find the owner and return it by Christmas Eve.
Brendan Penny & Ashley Greene Khoury pair up in “A Little Christmas Charm.” Image: Crown Media
Both movies are about finding the story behind two pieces of jewelry, which requires knitting clues together to solve the mysteries. Each contains a main character who is a writer/reporter, and both sets of would-be sleuths fall in love.
How hard up is Hallmark for unique scripts?
A Little Christmas Charm was actually a book first, titled The Charm Bracelet. It was written by Melissa Hill and released in 2012, so Hill could call “dibs” on spinning the story first.
Anna White is the screenwriter for The Christmas Ring, and she’s no stranger to Hallmark. Check Inn to Christmas was her original idea, rather than an assigned premise, and she wrote Sister of the Bride and Christmas Made to Order for Hallmark as well. You may have seen her movies on Lifetime, too–Staging Christmas and Christmas Hotel. White is also credited with A Wedding for Christmas and Christmas Wonderland. She’s a romance writing heavyweight, yet she churns out movies that are recycled versions of every other Hallmark movie we’ve seen a hundred times. Nothing new to see here!
Anna White is the screenwriter for both “The Christmas Ring” & “Check Inn to Christmas.”
It’s odd that Hallmark would select two movies for the 2020 Christmas line-up with the exact same aura of mystery surrounding two pieces of jewelry.
Did someone at Hallmark say, “Well, it’s okay the plots are identical because one is about a bracelet and one is about a ring. That makes them totally different!”
How The Actors Stack Up
Nazneen Contractor and David Alpay star in The Christmas Ring. Contractor is a newbie to Hallmark, having only starred previously in A Winter Getaway. She lacks the warmth and charisma of other Hallmark regulars, which, combined with her mildly annoying voice, has not made her a fan favorite.
David Alpay, on the other hand, has appeared in several Hallmark movies including Ice Sculpture Christmas, Runaway Sleigh, and Mistletoe Inn. Alpay is white noise. Fans enjoy him, but if he were to fade into the Hallmark movie history annals, no one would notice his absence.
David Alpay & Nazneen Contractor aren’t the strongest Hallmark leads. Image: Crown Media
A Little Christmas Charm features Ashley Greene Khoury and Brendan Penny. Khoury is best known for her role in the “Twilight Saga” franchise, but she appeared in the 2019 Hallmark movie, Christmas on My Mind. While Khoury doesn’t hold equal caliber with such Hallmark actresses as Lacey Chabert, Candace Cameron Bure, Nikki DeLoach, Taylor Cole, or Autumn Reeser, she can hold her own and fit the Hallmark leading actress profile quite nicely.
Penny is a regular Hallmark cast member, and even though his acting is a little hollow, he has a substantial fan following. His Hallmark credits are extensive and include Magical Christmas Ornaments, Beverly Hills Wedding, The Secret Ingredient, and In the Vineyard series. He’s definitely a looker and a comfortingly familiar face.
Brendan Penny & Ashley Greene Khoury enjoy a vintage train ride. Image: Crown Media
When it comes to the better movie couple between The Christmas Ring versus A Little Christmas Charm, Khoury and Penny outshine their contenders.
Casey Manderson and Chelsey Reist, who play Trish and Scott Jones in The Christmas Ring, would have been a preferable leading couple in the movie rather than supporting cast.
Casey Manderson & Chelsey Reist need a chance to be Hallmark leads.
Which Movie Boasts the Best Story?
A Little Christmas Charm is a bit dull and slow-moving, even though uncovering the clues behind each charm has some appeal. Incorporating vintage clothing and the art of jewelry making into the story is fun and trendy, though the movie harps on jewelry telling people “something about you they don’t already know” when that most generally doesn’t hold true.
The charm bracelet from A Little Christmas Charm.
The Christmas Ring has more story-telling depth. One clue leads to another and reveals a rich account of one family’s previously unknown history. Michael is an architect known for creating upward designs in small spaces (a vogue concept), and he and Kendra share a love of nostalgia, since it has a way of making them yearn for a time they’ve never actually lived in.
The ring featured in The Christmas Ring. Image: Crown Media
The Christmas Ring, hands down, boasts the richer story and is more poignant and relatable to viewers.
Vote For Your Favorite of the Two
While A Little Christmas Charm features better leading actors, The Christmas Ring tells a deeper and more moving story. Which is more appealing to you, as a frequent Hallmark movie fan? Do you gravitate to movies that feature your favorite leads, or is it the plot that attracts you? Vote below!
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