Middleton Christmas (2020)

A newcomer to town gives a gift he never imagined having to give in this emotional holiday film.

Max and John Turner are new to Middleton. Thanks to a job John accepted, Max is able to attend Middleton Prep School tuition-free. John is the new maintenance man and instantly, he connects with widowed principal Alana D’Angelo. Max, in the meantime, becomes friends with Alana’s daughter Samantha. Samantha is dating basketball star Lucas, who has plans post-school already while Sam is still not sure what she wants as of yet.

As the school prepares for the upcoming Christmas show, a series of events slowly unravel. John finds himself attracted to Alana but is afraid of showing his feelings. Max and Sam slowly become attracted to each other much to the chagrin of Lucas. Alana is fearing that the school may possibly close as they are running out of money. However, when Sam ends up in a car accident and loses a kidney, the worry begins and both Max and Lucas find themselves at a crossroads as they make decisions that could change the course of both theirs and Sam’s lives forever.

The saying goes, you’ve seen one Christmas movie, you’ve seen them all. Especially if it’s Lifetime or Hallmark Channel’s films. However, this film, like Carol of the Bells, may start out like a typical Christmas movie. That is until there is an element that elevates the film and makes it an above average holiday film. It is also elevated with the performance of veterans Michael Paré and Eileen Davidson with a young cast including Kennedy Tucker, Michael Varde, and Trevor Stines, who many will known as Riverdale’s Jason Blossom.

The two Michaels, Paré and Varde play father and son John and Max and they have some pretty good natural chemistry. John is afflicted by the fact his wife left him and Max and when he meets Alana, played by Davidson, he seems to like her but has that fear of wanting to tell her how he feels. As for Max, he is the type who while he does like Tucker’s Sam, he does respect the fact she is in a relationship with Stines’ Lucas, the school’s basketball star and big man on campus. The love triangle is quite interesting, but it’s the second half of the film that really makes an emotional impact.

It is when Sam ends up in the car accident that really heightens the emotions in the film, on the part of all the characters involved. Lucas goes from being the jealous boyfriend type to an honorable man who is willing to do whatever it takes for Sam to be better. While Lucas wants to do the right thing, something or rather someone disallows him to help and thus, it is up to Max to do the right thing and this is where the emotional tension really amps up. Of course, with this being a holiday film, one can guess how this will end.

Middleton Christmas is an above average holiday film that may start out typical Christmas made for TV movie until the twist in the second half changes the game in more ways than one. Definitely worth watching.

WFG RATING: B+

Uncork’d Entertainment presents a Suzanne De Laurentiis Productions film. Director: Dale Fabrigar. Producers: Suzanne De Laurentiis, Peter Nelson, and Leilani Turner. Writer: Tricia Aurand. Cinematography: John Lazear. Editing: Brian Pratt.

Cast: Kennedy Tucker, Michael Varde, Trevor Stines, Michael Paré, Eileen Davidson, Tim Abell, Duke Van Patten, Cheyenne Haynes, Giovannie Espiritu, Lanett Tachel, Nancy Valen, Anzu Lawson.

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