Movie Review: Next Stop, Christmas (2021)

Synopsis: Angie, a successful New York surgeon, has only one regret in her life, not saying yes when her now-famous former boyfriend, Tyler, proposed to her 10 years earlier. While taking a commuter train home, Angie falls asleep and wakes up in 2011, just in time to celebrate what she says was her last happy Christmas with Tyler and her family. Only things aren't quite as joyful as she remembers and she must figure out how to set things right by Christmas Eve in order to return to the present time.

Who's in it? The movie stars Lyndsy Fonseca, Chandler Massey, Lea Thompson, Eric Freeman and Christopher Lloyd.

Review: I came across this movie this past weekend and, while I didn't have time to watch it right away, made sure to add it to my library for later because I thought it sounded interesting. As it turns out, the movie exceeded my expectations.

When we first started watching this, my wife and I thought it would have a plot similar to It's a Wonderful Life, with Angie (Fonseca) ultimately learning she should be happy with the way her life turned out. That turned out not to be the case and, instead, the movie wound up being an entertaining mystery.

The thing that surprised me most about this film was how it wasn't anywhere near as predictable as I thought it would end up being. It wasn't too hard to figure out Angie was supposed to have ended up with long-time friend, Ben (Massey) rather than Tyler (Freeman). In fact, I think pretty much everyone in the movie, including the dog, figured that out before she did. However, there were also a number of other things going on, from her parents being on the verge of divorce to Angie learning she wasn't as close to her sister (Paige Herschell) as she remembered. So, while Ben was important, it was also unclear if he was the only thing she needed to fix to get home.

Christopher Lloyd was great as the train conductor but the character that really stood out for me in this movie was Aunt Myrt (Erika Slezak). I loved how she was a woman who basically adopted the entire town and wasn't bashful about sharing her advice to her "family." Her not-so-subtle hints to Angie regarding Tyler were fairly impactful and I found myself wondering if maybe she was secretly magical and working with Lloyd's character.

As much as I liked the overall movie, my opinion about the ending was a bit mixed. I don't want to say too much about it out of fear of giving a spoiler but, while there were some things I liked about it, I do feel the writers chose to end the movie did create some confusion about her timeline - did it completely change over the course of the 10 years? If so, is she going to have memories from her new timeline or is she just going to remember the old one? But, given this is supposed to be a romantic holiday movie, I am going to choose to avoid overthinking it.

Final Opinion: It's a romantic film but also a movie that does a good job of teaching the importance of family. It's easily one of the better holiday movies I've watched this year and I would recommend it.

My Grade: A


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