Gavin and Stacey: Christmas Special (2019)

Oh what’s occurring…

Everything we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. A little bit more of Gavin and Stacey – the boy from Essex and the girl from Barry Island in Wales. From one place to another, the quick romance that flourished. We haven’t seen any of these fabulous characters since 2010 and it’s all we’ve been waiting for, a Christmas special with all the originals coming back to make us giggle.

Happily, we were not disappointed. And I tell you for why. All the classic comedy and romance springs back to screen not missing a bit. There’s reminiscing and nostalgia. Comedy and romance. Everything that the original series had.

Oh and everyone’s all grown up. Gavin and Stacey in their 10 years of marriage, now with three children! The brilliant Nessa is back, and of course Neil the baby. Smithy obviously returns. Lovely Gwen and panicky yet hilarious Bryn returns. With Bryn being given the task of Christmas Day dinner, his classic mannerisms are selected perfectly. We can not forget Gavin’s parents, Mick and Pam! Pam as superb as ever, judgemental and manipulative (but we all love her!). We even get a glimpse return from Dawn and Pete in their familiar hysterics. What more could you ask for? If you could ask for a song between Nessa and Bryn, you won’t be let down!

Gavin and Stacey is a perfect way of stepping into Christmas! I’m just begging they’ll give us some more episodes – it was all too good!

A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding (2018)

This is the second film of ‘A Christmas Prince’, where the first one was released in 2017, this one comes a year later to celebrate Christmas in Aldovia again. If you haven’t seen the first, this one will have spoilers as they do lead on from one another. As you can probably guess, the film is centred around the newly-wed couple, Amber (Rose McIver) and now King Richard (Ben Lamb). The couple are back, still adorable, when they’re actually together…

A Christmas Prince 2 - Amber and Richard

Sadly, the second ‘A Christmas Prince’ is not as good as the first, it seems lacking in romance and instead is replaced by overdramatic acting. Also, they changed the actor of Amber’s father, which I don’t think was for the best. Although, it did make me laugh when they mentioned that he looked different, “maybe it was the goatee”. All of the other actors remained, so they were recognisable when they came onto the screen. I did like the links to the first film, such as the dislike in the “meat jelly” and the stealing of the taxis, or even the sneaking around the palace – it was nice to see those connections to the first film. The characters remained with their traits and they mentioned things from a year before as we would understand.

A Christmas Prince 2 - Amber

‘A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding’ has been taken over by King duties and politics, while Amber’s wedding has been taken over and controlled by Royal protocol, meaning she can’t have anything she wants and she must sacrifice everything. Therefore, the romance has been lost in the politics, where the couple aren’t able to see each other. The plot was far too predictable and obvious – I know I said this is obvious for these sorts of films, but this one just didn’t work with it. It became samey and boring. Sadly, a bit flat.

A Christmas Prince 2 - Amber and friends

I mean it was ok. But that’s it really. Where I would watch the first film again because it was so soppy and cute, this one I’m ok just seeing the once. Give it a watch, see what you think, but it’s nothing special and has lost all the goodness from the first. The excitement of the couple definitely disintegrated.

A Christmas Prince (2017)

A Netflix Original film that was pushed to the top of my recommended list; I have finally watched it. It looked like a cheesy, romantic, chickflick that you either love or hate – and I love them! It definitely fell into this category, so if you hate these sorts of films, this one couldn’t get closer to the genre, so stay away. But if you’re like me and love a feel-good romcom, then this one is fab, especially around Christmas to get you into the festive spirit.

The star of the film is Rose McIver, which was another reason I was drawn into watching this. Those that may watch ‘iZombie’, would recognise this actress as the one and only dead-zombie murder investigator in Seattle. In ‘A Christmas Prince’ she instead plays a reporter with the opportunity to finally get her big break – to get the scoop on the scandalous Prince of Aldovia, Richard (Ben Lamb).

A Christmas Prince - Amber

I have to admit, there are a lot of familiarities in this film to others alike. Although, there are parts which are different to bring a freshness. Regardless, Amber (Rose McIver) discovers that when she meets this “playboy” Prince as the press call him, he is not what he seems at all, just like Kevin realises in ‘27 Dresses’ (one of my favourite films) that Jane isn’t what she seems. The whole essence of this film, for some reason, I think it was the look of the places, constantly reminded me of ‘The Princess Diaries’, both the first and second. Plus, the converse with dresses has to remind you of Hilary Duff in ‘A Cinderella Story’ right? Anyway, the named films are great anyway, so surely that just makes this one great too? Nevertheless, you don’t watch these sorts of films to be surprised or to watch something different – if you are, I suggest a different route. You have to watch them because they make you feel good, they have that cute soppy ending that warms your heart. They’re just nice films! ‘A Christmas Prince’ is definitely one of these.

A Christmas Prince - all

Saying this, there are still some different elements in this film that did surprise me. But not in a bad way, quite the opposite, parts of the film were refreshing and covered different subjects other chickflicks haven’t. I actually couldn’t predict the whole film, I thought I could, but there were parts I didn’t see coming and I didn’t expect to happen – overall, what I thought would happen did, but that’s obvious, it was just nice to see some different elements.

A Christmas Prince - Amber and Emily

‘A Christmas Prince’ tells the tale of a Prince struggling to decide whether he can fill his father’s shoes as King; and a reporter posing as Princess Emily’s (Honor Kneafsey) tutor. Princess Emily who is a fab character. ‘A Christmas Prince’ has some comical moments and some cringey moments, but an all-round feel-good movie with lots of romance. It’s not the best film I’ve ever seen, but it’s soppy and wonderful by the end anyway. Follow as Amber searches for the truth for her article around the magical snow of Aldovia and the grand palace with horses and wolves.

The Grinch (2018)

The first Christmas movie of 2018, a Christmassy animation celebrating Dr Seuss’ Grinch in a new twist. Benedict Cumberbatch brings this voice of the Grinch to life, making this grumpy character one loveable and understanding as we travel into his past and discover the reason he hates Christmas so much.

The Narrator (Pharrell Williams – yes) is very present in this film, as he describes the scene we are brought to, what the Grinch is feeling and why he is such a grumpy bah-humbug. All in rhyme reflecting Dr Seuss’ book, the film feels very close to the novel. But also feels broken into these sections. Sections where the narrator explains extra info for the audience, breaking the flow of the film, to then return to the story with the Grinch on his mischievous mission to ruin Christmas for all the Who’s in Who-Ville. I didn’t dislike these sections, although they did feel separate from the film and little broken from the rest of the film.

The Grinch 2018

‘The Grinch’ doesn’t follow the tales of Jim Carrey’s ‘The Grinch’ down to a T, happily there are some differences to not make it repetitive. Although, I am a huge fan of Jim Carrey’s Grinch, because personally nothing can beat that classic! And I’m not sure this one did, however, there were some fantastic additional characters in Benedict Cumberbatch’s version, which did get me laughing. To start with, this Grinch is able to catch a reindeer, who he names Fred. This reindeer was brilliant in silly comedy and was probably my favourite character of the film. Plus, I have to mention the random goat… There was a hilarious goat, who I wished would appear more, because he got me and my brother in stitches over. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen the film already. I did think Cindy-Lou (Cameron Seely) would be more of an influential character in the Grinch’s life, although there wasn’t as much contact as the first film, but she was still a great character. Cindy-Lou’s home life was a family embraced and loved, as it celebrated the working single mum, which was a really beautiful touch to the film. Finally, we cannot forget Max the dog, because his loyalty and dedication to the Grinch is most adored.

The Grinch 2018 Santa

The animation is of course brilliant. The Grinch is very realistic to the books, in his bright green presence and the first scene of him getting ready was both creative and comical. I really enjoyed this version of ‘The Grinch’. It was fun and comical, there were definitely parts where I was laughing and parts that were just heart-warming and moralistic. The meaning of Christmas brought to its reality without gifts and decorations – as it is in the first film. It’s a lovely film, with silly childish giggles, and you can’t help but love Benedict Cumberbatch’s Grinch as he just wants others to feel what he does.

The Grinch 2018 Max

There’s also a fun minions mini-movie before the film – as this seems a common trend at the minute, especially after the chaos of the dumpling story before ‘Incredibles 2’. Who doesn’t love a little bit of minions before they start the film?

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Merry Christmas and we cannot forget one of the best Christmas films out there. ‘The Grinch’! Personally, this is one of the films to watch every Christmas to appreciate and love. Spreading Christmas cheer and the moral that Christmas is not all about the presents but time to spend with family and friends. Of course, there needs to be a cute sentimental message to this Christmas film!

The Grinch is played by the brilliant Jim Carrey and without him this film wouldn’t be nearly as good. He executes the humour excellently and makes the film that much better. We know he is a brilliant actor anyway, one of my favourites being Count Olaf in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, but there are so many more. His over-exaggerated emotions and executed humour works amazingly well in this film to portray this poor Grinch who was laughed at and mocked in school so turns to hatred of everything Christmassy. Once he leaves WhoVille, he spends the rest of his life living alone with his dog Max, trying to tune out anything when it comes to cheer and Christmas. Until… Until one curious little girl, Cindy Lou (played by Jenny Humphrey from ‘Gossip Girl’, Taylor Momsen), hates the fact he is on his own on a day such as Christmas. She ignores his attempts to scare her and desperately tries to get him to return to WhoVille and celebrate with all the other Whos. That’s if he can find something to wear…


Meanwhile, down in WhoVille Christmas is the most celebrated holiday of the year. Every single Who screams joy and cheer around his festive season. As Christmas trees are decorated, lights are thrown on houses, songs are sung and presents are wrapped. The audience could not witness a more Christmassy-filled film. We also get to know some more characters, such as the Mayor Augustus (Jeffrey Tambor), Martha May (Christine Baranski – Tanya from ‘Mamma Mia!’), Cindy’s parents Lou (Bill Irwin) and Betty (Molly Shannon), and many more. Characters we can appreciate as part of the film, perhaps maybe one to dislike. But everyone is played great to join in with this Christmas film.

As said before, the film is funny, The Grinch is a loveable character even if he is perceived as the bad guy. We delve into his past and learn his true ways, something to get the audience understanding who he is, a very clever idea for a kind of anti-hero protagonist. I would have to say this is a Christmas film not like any other, one executed well, and one where The Grinch steals Christmas, but Christmas be destroyed. With a great ending, the audience are filled with a Christmas mood and a happy feeling.


This film is a fun Christmas film for the whole family to love. Jim Carrey should, of course, be appreciated. ‘The Grinch’ is based upon Dr Seuss’ book, the writer of the likes of ‘The Cat in the Hat’, ‘The Lorax’ and many others; all brilliant books for children. This is a classic Christmas film that should be watched every Christmas to get into that holiday festive mood.

Jingle All The Way (1996)

I’m sad to say that this Christmas film was just one that wasn’t for me. I understand what it was trying to do, but I feel like it just wasn’t executed fully and I didn’t enjoy it that much to be honest. Now I know people have different beliefs over this film, but there are much better Christmas films out there that rank over this one.

So what was this film about? Basically a desperate father, Howard (played by the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger), spends his Christmas Eve trying to find the hottest selling toy of the Turbo Man doll, in hope that he doesn’t let down his son, like he has so many times before. But it’s not that easy to find the biggest selling toy a day before Christmas (I wonder why?), so the film is spent in an over the top panic and expresses that very urgent Christmas rush. On this panic, he meets a rival for the same toy, Myron (Sinbad), an alike father trying to get his son a present on Christmas Eve. This is supposed to create a comedic rivalry, which in some ways is so ridiculous you kind of just have to laugh, and I’ll admit that there were times when I did laugh. Whereas amongst this crazy day, Howard’s son, Jamie (Jake Lloyd), just wants to spend time with his father, Howard making the mistake again by letting him down by just not being there. Meanwhile, the mother, Liz (Rita Wilson), there to pick up the pieces; and the divorced next door neighbour, Ted (Phil Hartman), keeps making an appearance filling in for Howard, which annoyed me to say the least, but I think he is supposed to.


The film was very dramatic as Howard attached himself to every chance he could to possibly find the Turbo Man doll. The audience is warped into this crazy day when we jump from a Department Store to a kids play area, to Santa’s secret hide out (or whatever it was), to a radio station. It was very confusing and manic. I understand how it was meant to feel due to the fact that the father was in desperate need to find this toy, but I don’t understand how he found himself in those situations, for example a random bizarre fight with a load of Santas. The whole film was quite random. I have to admit however, I did like how the film kept occurring back to the Police Officer (Robert Conrad), it created a continuous comedic element to the film, which was needed.

Sad to say, I don’t think Arnold Schwarzenegger was the best decision for this film. Maybe he should just stick to those action movies he’s so well known for. For me, I don’t think he executed the comedy of the film to the full potential. I understand where the comedy could have been put in and it could have been a potentially funny film with the plot idea, but there was a continuous drag in the film for me, where this desperate need was never going to be filled and just got worse. I also didn’t feel invested into the characters, which is obviously an important part of a film. The film continued to escalate to breaking point, which by this time was very close to the end of the film. Then we were thrown the ending, which to say is unrealistic would be an understatement, but I did like how they tried to throw this ending in to get a good feel for the film when it finally finished.


Overall, I just felt this film tried too hard, that it felt a bit forced at times and over exaggerated. The plot could have been a good one, despite the chaos. Maybe this is more a film for the younger ages as they get wrapped up in the desperate need for the toy as well, I don’t know. I would more advise a Christmas film such as ‘The Grinch’, ‘Elf’ or ‘The Polar Express’, or maybe for older ages ‘Love Actually’; because ‘Jingle All The Way’ has nothing on them.

Love Actually (2003)

I have to admit this is probably one of my favourite Christmas films, and I know many would agree with me. But firstly, I have to mention, this is a Christmas film for older ages, as there are many references to sex and a lot of swearing. Anyway as you could probably tell, this is a film of more of a Christmassy romantic comedy type based around a big selection of people.

One of the best things about ‘Love Actually’ is that it contains so many well-known actors and actresses, I would be very surprised if there was one person who didn’t recognise anyone. And of course, they are all brilliant actors. Most of them are British actors I have to say, but there is an essence of patriotic feeling of Britain in this film, which is great. Actors and actresses with the likes of Hugh Grant and Colin Firth (just like in ‘Bridget Jones’), Liam Neeson in a different film from action or adventure (for example ‘Taken’), Bill Nighy, Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman (all make an appearance in ‘Harry Potter’), Andrew Lincoln (‘The Walking Dead’), Keira Knightley (‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’), Martin Freeman (‘The Hobbit’); and so many more, but I think I should stop there… Wait, even appearances of Ant and Dec, and of course we’ve got to have Rowan Atkinson in a brilliant British film!


As you can tell with the amount of actors in this film, there are many different plots of the film. This might sound like it gets confusing, but I promise you it doesn’t at all. The audience becomes, either invested in all the characters, or love certain ones, but they are all great in connecting to the narrative story arc of love. All the characters interlink in some way or another, and it’s something the audience loves to see, well I do anyway. I can’t say every plot of this film, there are way too many, but just in case you haven’t seen this film, a flavour of some of the plots are here. Each plot line has a different type of love. There’s the loss of a love, when the film introduces a character who’s lost his wife, but the film also introduces a new love to contradict the funeral there is a wedding. The Prime Minister falls in love unable to deal with it. A young boy tries to chase his one true love. There’s a break-down of a marriage at the hands of a younger woman; and also there’s unrequited love as he struggles to be around her, projecting hate to replace his love. There’s a couple meeting and starting a relationship, and there’s a man desperate for love. So as you can tell the film is full of love and romance around the holiday season. But don’t worry, there’s also the pop star to possibly win Christmas number one, with his hatred of all things love and his single in particular, which contrasts to everything else brilliantly.


‘Love Actually’ has a full circle feeling. The film begins with Hugh Grant off-screen narrating, introducing the love that can be seen in Heathrow Airport. The film then ends on the characters that we now know and love at the same Airport joining their loved ones. This gives an excellent full circle feel of the film as the audience knows the film is coming to an end. Another great thing about ‘Love Actually’ is that it is brilliantly done to be a comedy as well. Amongst all the love of the film, there are many comical moments. Of course, Rowan Atkinson is a comical, yet slightly serious, character of the film. But Hugh Grant is one of my favourite characters in this film, never failing to make me laugh in his dance sequence (you’d understand if you’ve seen it).


A film I watch every Christmas, personally, this film is my favourite Christmas film. I love the countdown to Christmas to bring in the Christmas spirit and bring in the holiday season. It’s a romcom for sure, so people who hate romcoms might hate this Christmas film, that is understandable, however I promise you it is a different romantic comedy to many others due to the fact that it is revolving around so many characters. So I would advise you to watch this Christmas film to witness that “love is actually all around”.