Disclaimer: This blog post contains spoilers for the movie Christmas Inheritance on Netflix.
If you haven’t seen this movie and want to see it spoiler free — Stop and come back later.
If you haven’t seen this movie, have no plans to see this movie, and just want to hear me talk about it — Proceed.
If you haven’t seen this movie and don’t care about spoilers/want to read this post in viewing preparation — Proceed.
If you have already seen this movie and can’t wait to hear my hot takes — Proceed.
Our introduction to Ellen Langford is at a Toys for Tots fundraising event hosted by the company she is set to inherit – Home & Hearth Gifts. When she doesn’t appear to give her official presentation at the event, it is because she is busy trading gymnastic feats for large donations. These gymnastic feats begin with panty-revealing cartwheels and end with her crashing dramatically into a Christmas tree. She makes the front page of the tabloids the next day and is given the creative title of “Party Heiress.”
When her father, CEO of Home & Hearth, gives her a disappointed talking-to, she asks for a way to make it up to him. He gives her a mission – deliver the very important “Christmas letters” (I have neither the time nor desire to explain what this means) to “Uncle Zeke” — family friend and co-founder of Home & Hearth. Uncle Zeke lives in Snow Falls, the town her father and late mother grew up in, and owns an inn where Ellen will stay. She is only allowed to take a $100 bill, and cannot reveal her identity to the local townspeople. So she packs up to leave New York and her fiancee, Gray, behind to go on this mission.
She is apparently too rich to know how to ride a bus (No assigned seating? How do you know where to sit?!?), but she somehow manages to make it to Snow Falls, regardless. Upon arrival, she turns to watch some Christmas carolers, and a man accidentally knocks her luggage into the street where it is hit by a cab. The cab driver, Jake, who is also the manager of Uncle Zeke’s inn, gives her a ride after helping her collect her scattered clothing. When she arrives at the inn, Jake tells her that Zeke has left town unexpectedly and no one knows when he plans to return, and there is no way to get in contact with him. Ellen settles in at the inn to wait for Uncle Zeke’s return since the letters must be hand-delivered.
The next evening, there is an intense snowstorm leaving some nearby families without power. Jake welcomes them into the inn for the night, and Ellen helps him get everyone into rooms, even offering to share her own. Once everyone is settled for the night, Ellen finds Jake in his office/storage room. They discuss the upcoming silent auction charity event (I never quite figured out what charity this event was supporting, exactly?), and how pitiful the silent auction items are (they are really pitiful). Ellen points out Jake’s sketches, believing that they would make good money at the auction. THESE ARE HIS “SKETCHES”:
After they connect over his terrible art, Jake asks Ellen to take a walk with him. I guess the storm that displaced families from their homes an hour or so ago is just… over? He guides her to a spot in the woods to show her a bunch of hideous ice sculptures that he “designed.”
While standing in freezing cold, surrounded by these garish sculptures (so romantic!), they have the following exchange:
Jake: They are a big hit with the tourist community.
Ellen: They are a big hit with this tourist. So is the artist.
Jake: Well. The tourist isn’t so bad herself.
Ellen: When I was a teenager my mom died. It’s a thing I cant get over.
(Continues to talk about the trauma of her mother’s death)
Jake: Is this the part where we’re supposed to kiss?
Ellen: I Think so.
You think so? No, dude! It’s super not! You were just telling him about the trauma of losing a parent and he doesn’t respond by having a conversation with you, but by passive-aggressively suggesting you kiss? Ugh!! I mean, maybe start with a comforting hug, at least, JAKE.
Amber stops him just before they kiss because she is, you know, ENGAGED to someone else. But she does run back to his office and snag a bunch of the silent auction flyers and hatches a plan. She (with the help of local diner owner, and aunt of Jake, Debbie), bakes a bunch of treats. She travels around Snow Falls and offers the treats and a smile in return for donated items for the charity auction. When she gets back to the inn and shows Jake the items she has collected, they share a long and intimate hug. This is, of course, the exact moment that Gray arrives at the inn, having come to rescue Ellen from Snow Falls. Gray and Jake look like they want to fight, and I wish they had because that would have made this movie 100 times more interesting.
Later that night, Gray reveals Ellen’s true identity to Jake. He heads to his sad office/storage room and googles her, confirming the truth. The next morning, Ellen decides to leave the inn, despite having not completed her mission. Jake is a real big jerk to her about the fact that she lied about her identity and they part ways coldly. But, as Ellen and Gray are almost out of Snow Falls, she discovers that she is missing the most recent Christmas letter. She asks Gray to take her back to look for it, and when he refuses, she breaks off their engagement and heads back to Snow Falls alone.
Instead of going to the inn to look for the letter, which would make sense, she goes straight to the silent auction fundraiser to find Jake. She gives him some long speech about… I don’t even know what. Love or some kind of nonsense.
Zeke and her dad are revealed to be at the party and her dad announces his retirement and Ellen’s rise to CEO, because she apparently passed his arbitrary test. He announces that, “the real task wasn’t delivering the letter, it was winning over all these fine folks.”
Following all of that, the party band starts to play and Jake asks Ellen, “would you perhaps do a local boy the honor of a Christmas dance?” which has got to be one of the worst lines of all time. Then they make out on the middle of the dance floor while a bunch of townies dance around them.
The whole plot of this movie, I think, is supposed to be that this crazy “party heiress” is changed into a mature and kind person during her time in Snow Falls. But Ellen seems like a perfectly nice and kind person from the beginning. Jake talks to her like she is some kind of big-city jerk, but she never really acts like one. There is a scene where she is trying to meditate before going to sleep, but goes to the window because she is interrupted by Christmas carolers. Instead of scoffing angrily (which is 100% what I would have done), she just smiles at them kindly and seems to think it’s really nice. Someone who is happy to have carolers interrupt their evening meditations is not a person who needs some kind of niceness awakening. Ellen is precious and cool as hell and it’s stupid that everyone acts like she needs a major shift of conscience.
The Love Interest
Jake is like the total opposite. We are supposed to read him as this angelically kind sweetheart, but he is kind of a grumpy jerk. He never gives Ellen the benefit of the doubt, and just assumes that she is going to be awful because she lives in the same city his ex is from. THAT BEING SAID I love Jake Lacy and think he is adorable. If anyone else were playing this part, I think I would hate the character, but I cannot hate a character who is being played by Jake Lacy. He is just too darn cute. I may not love the character-Jake, but I will always love the actor-Jake.
Also, has anyone noticed that Jake Lacy almost always plays love interests of female characters who are really immature/kind of a mess? You have this movie and Ellen, who is supposed to read as a spoiled, clumsy heiress who can’t do anything right. In Obvious Child there is Donna, the struggling comedian who has relationship issues. In The Office we have Erin, who is essentially a child in an adult’s body. Then there is Hannah in Girls, who is notoriously one of the most immature people to ever grace our TV screens. He has a sort of condescending-sexy-disappointed-older-brother vibe that really works in these roles. And, let me be clear, IT WORKS FOR ME ALSO.
As previously mentioned, Jake has a somehow appealing condescending vibe that I have really enjoyed in his other roles. But it doesn’t fully track in this movie because Ellen doesn’t really deserve the condescension he throws at her. That aside, they do have decent chemistry and my favorite parts of the movie are definitely the scenes with the two of them.
Best Secondary Character
This is a hard one, because there were so many. For me, it’s got to be a tie between The Bus Driver and The Captain.
We are introduced to The Bus Driver as he is throwing people’s luggage into the storage compartment under the bus with a level of rage-energy that I can only dream of having. When Ellen asks him to be careful with her luggage, he sarcastically agrees, then throws her luggage onto the bus with renewed hatred.
Then, when she tries to ask for change for her lone $100 bill, he makes this face at her:
Our first taste of the Captain comes when he is shouting at Jake over breakfast
“THIS IS NOT CLOTTED CREAM! This is whipped cream! Did you think I wouldn’t notice? DO YOU THINK I’M AN IDIOT!!!!”
It’s just such a beautiful amount of drama to bring to such a small problem.
Worst Secondary Character
I’m gonna go with Ellen’s dad. First of all, he basically ignores her when she comes to him with some ideas about the company. Instead of giving her a chance to prove her chops by actually doing her job, he forces her to go on an arbitrary mission with an arbitrary secret agenda to get back in his good graces. Blech.
Most Ridiculous Line
“Tradition? What is this – Fiddler on the Roof?” – Gray
Jake’s vibe is like a young Luke Danes sans hat. His personality is kind of like a young Luke Danes, too now that I think about it.
But, man, this charity auction party look is… somethin’ (I hate it).
Ellen’s looks consist mostly of pretty short skirts and weird, tacky blazers. I don’t have a strong opinion on it, negative or positive.
The movie ends with Jake and Ellen getting together – but it’s going to take a lot more than making out at the local Christmas dance for their relationship to work. Is Jake going to quit his job at the Inn to come live with Ellen in New York, the city that he clearly despises? Is Ellen going to give up her job as CEO of Home & Hearth to live with Jake in Snow Falls? Is she going to continue her work as CEO and just travel back and forth between New York and Snow Falls regularly? This relationship is doomed.
In the scene where Gray tells Jake about Ellen’s identity, Jake walks into the bar, clearly exhausted and says “Jack on the rocks. You know what? Forget the rocks.” Does Jake think that removing the ice from his whiskey somehow makes the drink more effective?
When Ellen runs out of money to pay for her room, Jake let’s her help with the cleaning to earn her keep. This leads to my favorite scene in this movie – Ellen being hilariously and nonsensically bad at basic cleaning tasks. She dramatically crashes into the cleaning cart, knocking its contents all over the room, then she sucks some boxers into the vacuum cleaner which causes it to literally explode. It’s amazing.
6/10. The real problem with this movie is that it is boring. Jake and Ellen are cute enough and there are some ridiculous moments that I love, but overall it drags.
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