Hallmark Christmas Movies: Recycling The Same Plots Year After Year


Photo courtesy of the Hallmark Channel

Kerrera Jackson, Staff Writer

Hallmark movies have become a staple of the holiday season in recent years as the infamous channel has grown bigger, and streaming services such as Netflix are making their own movies of this style. However, with Hallmark movies, you either love them or hate them with absolutely no in between. Hallmark movies are known for their cheesy, predictable storylines with a fairytale ending that leaves everything wrapped up in a perfect bow. Whether you like that style of film is up to you, but Hallmark movies are increasingly becoming unoriginal, copy-and-paste replicas of one another, as more and more are pumped out every single year. 

A clear showcase of the clone-like nature of Hallmark movies are the movie posters and titles. Almost every Hallmark movie cover you can find has a couple standing in front of a Christmas tree (or just Christmas decorations), with one wearing a green sweater and the other wearing a red one. The titles of all of these movies are almost exactly alike, with the word “Christmas” always (albeit most times very messily) placed somewhere in there.

Even more telling are the recurring, overdone plot lines and character personalities or behaviors that show up in basically every movie. The main character is always a workaholic who never gives themselves time to find love or simply never has luck with it, until they meet the love interest, an overly nice and charitable person who they don’t get along with at the start. Add in a sarcastic best friend, a current (but not for very much longer) rude boyfriend of the female love interest, and possibly a dead parent along the way , and you have the formula for a Hallmark movie. 

Not only are the plots of these movies repetitive and copy-cats of one another, they also are downright insane and incredibly unrealistic. The audience must use a lot of suspension of disbelief while watching these Hallmark movies (even more than they would when watching most other types of movies…which is saying something).

It isn’t that movies can’t be unrealistic to give you a sense of childhood wonder and optimism, but it’s when they create plot lines so unrealistic in modern culture and behavior and logic that you can’t even believe what is happening before your eyes, that they become too much and are examples of just lazy writing. 

For example, in The Cabin, two single-parent families with the last name MacDougal are assigned to the same cabin during Scotland’s “Mac Fest.” This is a convention that gathers clans from around the world with the last name starting with “Mac.”…I’m being serious. The mother and father of these separate families can’t stand each other at first but, as it usually happens in these films, they fall completely in love in just a few short hours. This overly cheesy attempted romantic comedy tries to mask the absolutely ludicrous plot behind it, and yet the plot of this film is so completely devoid of logic that it should make you thankful that the world of Hallmark movies bears little resemblance to reality. 

“I find Hallmark movies really hard to watch because most of the time the acting isn’t great and they’re all very similar to each other. The plots are really cringey or uninteresting, and it’s just hard to sit through an entire one because, in my opinion, they’re boring and repetitive,” said Emma Vanzandt, ‘22. 

However, if the cheesy and ecstatically happy plots of these movies make you forget about your problems for an hour and a half, and you can just live in a world where “soulmates” meet each other as a result of someone who looks shockingly like Santa Claus giving them sage advice along the way, then go ahead and enjoy them. 

“I love Hallmark movies. Some scenes are cringey, yes, but I feel like they are there to make you laugh. It just enriches the movie watching experience,” said Larissa Chase, ‘22. 

Hallmark movies are known for their overly sappy one-liners and plot points, but maybe that’s what makes them so endearing. If you know at the end of the day that two people will fall in love and everything will be ok, then maybe that sense of safety is worth all of the times you ask yourself if someone in real life would ever actually say or do something a character just did.

“Honestly the plots are almost always the same; however, it doesn’t stop me from watching them. I kind of like the predictability. I like Hallmark movies because I like how sometimes they’re cheesy, but somehow they always have a good resolution in the end,” said Nina Arleth, ‘22.

Hallmark movies are not cinematic masterpieces by any means and are definitely not coming up with any new, groundbreaking ideas. But to the people that can enjoy Hallmark movies, they represent optimism and joy and laughter as an escape from the constant stressors of everyday life. Hallmark movies might be copy-and-paste replicas of one another with ludacris plot lines, but what matters is that they’re able to make some people (who can sit through the cheesiness of it all) forget about their lives for just two hours once and awhile.