An Old Fashioned Christmas (TV Movie 2010) Poster

(2010 TV Movie)

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Even though it's not really about Christmas, I loved this film
dblackman7017 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'm a sucker for these types of movies so I adored this film. It wouldn't win any awards and the acting - particularly from the leading lady - isn't up to the standard of the first film, but, it is a lovely little movie any romantic should enjoy. I have 3 complaints about it however. 1: The storyline involving Tilly finding her father's family didn't seem right. They accepted each other without hesitation. At first I thought Cameron was paying them to lie, but, it wasn't that complicated. Even Isabella didn't question it. 2: It's a shame they changed the lead actress as Tatiana Maslany was great and had so much chemistry with Isabella and Gad. She would have made this much better. 3: There wasn't enough of Kris Turner as Gad. He stole the movie and he didn't even appear until halfway through the movie. I really enjoyed this film and would love the DVD to add to my collection. It was slightly more romantic than the first, Isabella was more likable and I have to admit that I love Gad. He is the perfect romantic hero. There is no real competition between the two suitors as Cameron is a drunken, womanising jerk compared to Gad's patience, understanding and that lovely punch he does in the barn. I would have known right then and there that he was perfect if I was Tilly, but, she was slightly unlikeable. I would love to see more movies made (maybe with a different young actress playing Tilly) about their adventures in Venice or Gad and Tilly's wedding or Tilly finally getting published or seeing Tilly's lovely family again. I loved Gad, Isabella and Sean and this movie.
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Sappy Christmas
Lejink19 December 2013
I'll watch any old rubbish with Christmas in the title at this time of year and given that terrestrial TV here in the UK clogs up the afternoon schedules with wall-to-wall Christmas-themed movies, there's no shortage of choice.

To be sure, the Christmas connection seemed somewhat contrived in this TV movie, the story could certainly have been played without the Yuletide reference, although other than having the characters sitting down to Christmas dinner singing carols to each other and a snow scene over the end titles, I didn't much get the spirit of the season anyway.

The story was really just Mills and Boon set in old Ireland, the contrived plot revolving around a young American would-be writer, chaperoned around Ireland, by her stuffy, moneybags grandmother. The granddaughter wants to get back to her roots and track down her paternal Irish grandfather but along the way has to choose between her staid Stateside fiancé and the drunken but roguish native son pushed forward by the scheming Irish Lady of the manor, with whom they're both staying, the Lady hoping to trade a title for new money.

The actors perform adequately as they wade through the schmaltz, but really this was a story better read than watched, if you like that kind of sub-Barbara Cartland thing.
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Above Average Television Film
Christmas-Reviewer31 August 2016
December 1870, and we pick up on the adventures of Mathilda "Tilly" Bassett and her rich grandmother Isabella, having toured some of Europe's cultural centers and are now arriving in Dublin for a month-long stay. Tilly's inner struggle is between being a society woman in-the-making and the Yankee farm girl that are her roots.

Isabella's mission is to expose Tilly to the world of letters; that's why she's bringing her to Dublin, to meet Ireland's poet laureate, the Earl of Shannon. But there's a saying throughout Ireland: "If you want to make God laugh, try making plans."

This film is very good. You should watch it but without distractions. It will be slow for someone that expects "Vampires and Hobbits".

This is a gentle film that lets an audience take in the surroundings and environment. It also a film about the "old country vs the new country". It also makes you think at what "really matters". It questions what is most important. The questions include Whats Important 1) What people expect from you 2) what do you expect of yourself 3)Should you always follow your heart?

Watch and enjoy
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On my holiday viewing schedule each year
mepate11 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I see from some of the reviews, some Grinches have seen this movie! No it's not going to replace "Christmas Story" on anyone's 'must watch' Christmas show list, but the story is charming. Why is Tilly interested even remotely interested in Cameron, one reviewer asked? Because he is about 5 times as flashy as Gad, has a foreign accent, and the false pretense of money and title probably swayed her some as well. It's not like that story hasn't played out, oh say, 50 million times in the course of history, entirely believable story line. Of course, Gad is the better man (much better after you watch Cameron for about 30 minutes). Bisset's character falling for the Tilly's grandfather was a bit much, but I really enjoyed this movie, give it a 9/10.
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Yawn!!! That's the best one word summary I can come up with
jalapenoman12 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, I'm generally a sucker for Christmas movies. I also enjoy the Merchant-Ivory style films about the prim and proper Victorian age. This should have both, right? Wrong.

The acting from some of the principles is bad. The story is pretty lame. The ending is predictable. Having the Bissett character show affection for a character she loathes (and who despises her) is out of character and doesn't fit in with the movie.

The local romantic figure is such a loser that we wonder what Tillie ever saw in him or why she would even question her relationship with Gideon/Gad.

Yawn is a good description. "Lame" would work just as well.
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Nice, witty screenplay in this Old Ireland Christmas film
SimonJack20 December 2017
Put "Christmas" in the title or have a Christmas tree in it and one has a Christmas movie. Anyhow, so the industry seems geared in the 21st century.

"An Old-Fashioned Christmas" is a TV movie sequel to "An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving" of 2008. That was set in New England, and this takes place in Ireland. The time is 1912. While billed as a drama, this film might also have been labeled a comedy or comedy-romance. Some might consider the latter a letdown, so just stay with comedy. For "Old-Fashioned Christmas" has some very witty dialog throughout.

Several of the cast joust and parry with put-downs, slams and not too-well-hidden insults. It's delicious and adds much to this otherwise formulaic love triangle.

Isabella Caldwell squares off repeatedly with Lady Shannon. She seems to be the principal jouster, going at it with a number of the rest of the cast. She and Sean Basset square off, she attacks Cameron Shannon head on, and she and niece Matilda Basset (Tilly) go at it a couple of times. But, Tilly also jousts with Cameron and he with her, and Cameron and his mother, Lady Shannon exchange insults more than once.

Most of the cast are very good. Marion O'Dwyer is particularly good as the self-assured, unlikable Lady Shannon. Some of the cast seemed as though they might be having fun making this film. Ian McElhinney as Sean, Leon Ockenden as Cameron and Kristopher Turner as Gad were clearly at ease and enjoying their roles. Jacqueline Bisset is good as Isabella Caldwell. Catherine Steadman is okay as Tilly - not bad but not very good, either. She might have put much more life into her interpretation of her character. At times she seems blasé.

The background music was terrible, and at times distracting. But for that, this film might have rated one more star.

Here are some sample funny lines from the film. For more, see the Quotes section under this IMDb Web page of the movie.

Lady Shannon, "As my husband is fond to say, 'The woman rarely gets what she wants, but she always gets what she needs.'"

Isabella Caldwell, "Shame on you, Matilda Bassett. Such deception and manipulation." Tilly Basset, "Sorry. Would it help if I grovel?" Isabella, "It might be a beginning."

Sean Basset, "Sometimes the best place to be is at a fork in the road." Tilly Basset, "Why?' Sean, "It brings clarity, eventually." Tilly, "Well, I look forward to clarity, thank you."

Sean, "Well, you'll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind." Tilly, "Excuse me?" Sean, "Stop all the blabbering and take action." Sean, "Mrs. Caldwell, calling you uppity isn't an insult. It's a fact."
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The dramatic equivalent of a Hallmark card
darkstephen12 December 2010
I only watched this because Mommy made me. I'm thinking the cider with the cyanide would have been preferable. Ho ho ho!

Christmas movies are rarely either profound or intellectually stimulating. The point is to make the audience glow with Christmas cheer. Still, even the least demanding viewer requires something more than bad acting and a plot that presents itself in its entirety within the first 15 minutes. Oh yes, and something having to do with Christmas besides the time of year in which the story happens to be set. An old-fashioned Christmas seems to consist of scheming with and against friends and family between exchanges of insults. Then, you can hang some holly, sing some carols, eat, drink, and be merry--if you can find the time.

If you've ever read a Jane Austen novel or seen one of the movie adaptations, pick one. Then, move it to Ireland. Then, set it at Christmas. Then, make the heroine American. Then, remove any semblance of wit or charm. Then, skip this movie.
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Rebooting the characters for the sequel is an insult to their past development.
Lily-3212 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I know it's always hard to make a sequel - the fans of the first will be harsh critics - but it can be done fairly well. Sadly, this wasn't one of those times. They tried too hard to emphasize Isabella's being American. They should have left her accent alone (it was slight enough in the first that it was just assumed it was higher society). No offense to the woman who played Tilly this time but I much preferred the actress from the first. A shame they couldn't get her back. There was far too little Gad for my liking. And his competition? What competition? He was a jerk. They tried to play him off as a passionate alternative to Gad but trust me, if you saw the kiss in the first one you know Gad has plenty of passion when it comes to Tilly. The story they gave us could have worked but the final script just didn't cut it. The only redeeming quality of this film was Gad. He's the only reason I didn't give this film a rating of 1 for being awful. He seemed to be the only character who's development didn't get a complete reboot from the first.

It wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen but I think I may stick with the first and pretend this one never happened. I'll write my own sequel for my amusement.

EDIT: After writing this I went and watched the first one again. And just as I remember, it was wonderful. Checked and discovered this one had a different writer and director. I'm not saying they have no talent, I've never seen their other work, but they dropped the ball on this one.
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Sequel to "An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving"
jagough4928 December 2015
The other brief reviews do not make clear what this film is about: period drama, in a Henry James, or Merchant-Ivory way. "An Old Fashioned Christmas" is a SEQUEL to 'An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving' which is set in the latter 1800s, a while after the American Civil War, and based (apparently only VERY LOOSELY based, using the title, the character-names and general setting, but with a strong period feeling of Alcott!) on a short story by Louisa May Alcott (the famous author of 'Little Women'), in which a daughter and estranged mother argue over family ties. The Amazon (USA) plot summary says: 'Isabella Caldwell is a high-society woman in late-1800s New York. When Isabella's estranged daughter Mary becomes ill and is too proud to ask her mother for assistance, Mary's daughter, Tilly, takes it upon herself to contact her grandmother and plead for help. Isabella's arrival causes an upheaval in many lives, but may also lead to reconciliation within the family.' One reviewer adds: '(include) a little romance, a disapproving neighbour, sisterly jealousy, a scandalous past, poverty, scarlet fever, and a rambunctious little boy, all woven around the Thanksgiving season and you have a story that will hold your interest. In one scene the young widow accuses her mother of having married her father (who was quite a bit older) for his money and only had a child (herself) so that his older children from a previous marriage could not contest the will.' Both films star Jacqueline Bisset as the grandmother, Isabella, and Kristopher Turner as Gad, the love-interest for Tilly. Most reviewers prefer the 'Thanksgiving' film. 'An Old Fashioned Christmas' happens to be set around Christmas, and ends with a Christmas dinner and includes some carol singing (including "Jingle Bells" that had not been written at this time!), although NOT the Christmas dinner that had been planned. (However this is a green-leafed, sunshine-filled summery version of late-December in rainy Dublin: the film was NOT made in the actual season. Alas.) But the story is NOT about Christmas. Instead it is a Henry James-like tale of American wealth, democracy, and no-nonsense, versus traditional British, classism, complicated by an Irish setting. Wealthy American grandmother, Isabella, invites herself to visit and spend Christmas with the Earl of Shannon, the Irish Poet Laureate. She hopes he can help her granddaughter, Matilda, known as Tilly, progress in her attempts to become a writer. Unfortunately, the Poet Laureate has suffered a stroke, and although his intentions are good, he is unable to do or say much. He spends his time sitting and reading, and making quiet negative noises about his scheming wife and rascal son. However, when Isabella shows some of Tilly's journals to the Earl, although at first he says he is unable to help her because he has lost contact with publishers, following his stroke, he recognises Tilly's talent as a writer, and gives his encouragement for her to pursue this as a serious career or vocation. (Tilly quotes poetry, and is besotted by Lord Byron's life and poetry. But it is not clear, apart from her travel journal, what she is writing, or might write.) The Earl's wife, Lady Shannon, however, has spent the Earl's money. She has accepted Isabelle's request to visit the Earl, and have Christmas at the castle, because she hopes that her handsome devil-may-care, wastrel, playboy son and heir will marry heiress Tilly, and her money will restore the fortune of the earldom. The earl's son tries to romance Tilly, and she finds him attractive. But she has been engaged for the last 2 years to an American, known as Gad, who has been patiently waiting for Tilly to end her European travels. Moreover, she is the daughter of Isabella's daughter and a stable boy, the (relatively) poor son of an Irish farmer. Angry that her daughter would marry for love, and marry beneath her social status, Isabella had cut all ties with her daughter and husband. But after the Irish husband dies, Isabella intervenes, taking young adult Tilly away on her Grand Tour. Tilly writes letters to her mother, in America, and hopes, while she is in Dublin, to find and meet her Irish grandfather, and establish a reconciliation between Isabella and her grandfather. With the help of the Earl's son, who has admitted his mother's would-be marriage schemes, this is (surprisingly easily) accomplished, but Isabella and the Irish grandfather quarrel. She thinks he is a mere farmer, and he blames her for being snobbish and hurting, instead of helping, his son and his family. Meanwhile, Tilly's American fiancé, Gad, is in Manchester, and, with some complications, is invited to spend Christmas in the Irish castle with the Earl. Rivalry quickly erupts between the Earl's son and Tilly's fiancé, and they come to blows. Tilly is unable to make up her mind, and the fiancé leaves. But with some encouragement from her Irish grandfather, Tilly speaks her mind to scheming Lady Shannon, resists the marriage proposal from the playboy son (who sees Tilly as a possible muse for his own writing, rather than wanting to encourage Tilly to be a writer), and … … the Christmas dinner is NOT at the castle but at the farm; not with the Earl's family, but with newly established warm feelings between Isabella and the grandfather, and with renewed marriage intentions between Tilly and her fiancé. A multiplicity of happy endings. John Gough (Deakin University – retired)
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