Christmas on The Square premiered on 22nd November 2020 on Netflix. Directed and choreographed by Debbie Allen, the 98-minute-long musical stars Dolly Parton, Christine Baranski, Jenifer Lewis, Josh Segarra, Jeanine Mason, Mary Lane Haskel, and Treat Williams alongside other cast members.
Angles, Sparkles, and Light!
“Grief is love with nowhere to go.”
Everything on Netflix is Christmas’y as the holiday season is approaching and it is no surprise. Adding to its collection of oftentimes reused and predictable formula film is Dolly Parton’s Christmas on The Square, a musical which is surprisingly heartwarming and beautiful. The musical is set in a fictional town named Fullerville, a peaceful place where residents co-exist like families. But things take a turn when the town owner’s death leads to the town being inherited by his daughter Regina Fuller (Christine Baranski), a businesswoman. With bad memories associated with the town and a good business deal in hand with Cheetah Mall, Regina decides to sell Fullerville to the corporation devoiding the town from Christmas smiles and sparkles.
The film starts with displaying Fuller as a stone-hearted woman who is serving everyone eviction notices and faces backlash from the whole town but most importantly from her life-long yet forgotten love Carl (Treat Williams), former town Mayor, beautician, her childhood girlfriend Margeline (Jenifer Lewis) and the Pastor Christian Hathaway (Josh Segarra). There is an essential yet unknown relation knot here! The musical is Fuller’s journey to realization and happiness even when she believes she doesn’t deserve it and can’t have it.
I have an innate longing for musicals, there is something absolutely beautiful about music and theatre/movies as music has the power to induce any emotion it aims for. Furthermore, Christmas on The Square is one of the best in Netflix’s endless list of Christmas movies. There is a lot of singing, dancing, emotions, unity, sparkles, love, longing, and angelic stuff here. The storyline isn’t something you have not seen before but the reason why this musical leaves a mark is because of the way it is presented and performed with grace and finesse.
The musical is mostly set in the same area and locations and doesn’t move out of it and while this might have acted out as a barrier causing it to look low-budgeted, spoiling all the hard work and beauty of the musical, it acts as a plus point for viewers. It gives them a chance to connect with Fullerville and its people and with the humble surroundings.
Selah Kimbro Jones as Violet is one the most memorable characters here, a kid who has it tough growing up, bartends often and drinks her milkshake while serving alcohol. She knows life is no fairy tale, she knows that she is not cooking for dwarfs or living like those hypothetical Disney characters who trick you into believing that life is all cherry. She knows it’s hard but she also knows that there are happy endings if you chase what makes you happy. Despite how hard Violet may have, she is a fighter diva and one of the best characters.
The cast ensemble in Christmas on The Square is one wholesome package, Dolly Parton has been on screen in various forms host/ producer/ actor/ inspiration, and what not but what about her as fairy godmother? She does amazingly well here! You’ll see her on a cloud, in shiny boots and shoes, as a beggar, and as a singer, dancer, and everything else!
On the other hand, Christine Baranski as Regina is flawless as she takes over the role of a person who has lost her light, love, and her connection to her roots and being and feeling betrayed by her beloveds. Then there’s the ever-handsome Treat Williams as Carl, Jennifer Lewis as strong and sophisticated Margeline who won’t leave a chance to make Regina realize that its not too late to return, and lastly the cutest and heartwarming chemistry between Pastor Christian Hathaway played by Josh Segarra and Jenna Hathaway played by Mary Lane Haskell. Lastly, Jeanine Mason as Felicity, Regina’s assistant and angel trainee under Parton, is beautifully wonderful! Everything is in place here with crystals and music!
Stream It or Skip It
STREAM IT! Christmas on The Square is the latest Christmas musical you need to watch and might as well be longing for! There is nothing that I found disappointing or questionable here. While a lot of viewers talked about the towns’ Christmas traditions and how they were missing, an important and noteworthy fact here is that they were being evicted from their land. They had their homes and families to save. So obviously, there’s no time for Christmas treats here!
Add Christmas on The Square to your light-hearted, well-drawn, and beautifully-executed Christmas watchlist!
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square is now streaming on Netflix.
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