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December 8, 2021

Christmas Movie Night! A Castle for Christmas

by Alison DeLuca

Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes in A Castle for Christmas

My daughter is at the age when she'd rather spend time in her room rather than be with two clueless adults, aka her parents. One way to lure her out is to put on Christmas movies... which isn't as easy as it sounds. 

She has definite opinions on those movies. We can only watch the classics once a year. Any new movies must pass the sniff test - not be too silly or too over-the-top, or filled with too many Hallmark cliches.

So when I found A Castle for Christmas, my first thought was 'This will never fly.' Plot: American writer goes to Scotland for the holidays, meets crusty Duke, moves into his castle, shenanigans ensue. Totally over-the-top, right? So many cliches! 

And yet, A Castle for Christmas worked. The kid was lured out of the room into our society for an evening. We watched the movie, and it was really cute. In fact, it might even join Elf, Home Alone, and A Christmas Story as one of the yearly classic rotations. 

What makes A Castle for Christmas such a fun movie, even with the cliches? One wonderful writer, K.B. Hoyle, discusses that very thing in her article, which you can read here. She makes some great points and, as I read her post, I kept saying "Absolutely! Right! Oh yeah!"

Let's start with the characters: Sophie Brown played by Brooke Shields, and Miles Dunbar, played by Cary Elwes. They're an older couple than we usually get in Christmas movies, and they both look great. Elwes still has those incredible cheekbones, and Brooke's dimples are cute as ever. 

Movie poster for A Castle for Christmas

Sophie escapes to Scotland after a career setback, where she meets Maisie, Lexi, and the Knitting Crew. She also has a contentious encounter with a gardener, who turns out to be no other than Miles, the Duke of Dunbar.

Miles is desperately trying to avoid the sale of Dunbar Castle, his family's centuries-old home. Sophie's father used to work at the castle, and so she talks Miles into letting her stay there to see if she'd like to buy it.  In order to avoid that future sale, he tries to make her stay as dreadful as possible.

But of course he hasn't reckoned on Sophie. Like a determined whirlwind blessed with a large bank account and fabulous flats, she breezes through the countryside, making friends with Hamish the dog and the Knitting Crew. She spurs on Maisie's relationship and even makes Lexi's green hair work.

And slowly but surely Sophie begins to warm the heart of the dour Duke, convincing him to hold a ball for the village.

A Castle for Christmas wouldn't be as charming without its cast. Brooke Shields is funny and forthright. Cary Elwes is as romantic as ever. Andi Osho plays Maisie with flair, and Vanessa Grasse is adorable as Sophie's daughter.

Plus there's the beauty of Scotland as a backdrop.

If you enjoy holiday films, you deserve this sparkling movie filled with wonder, laughter, and love. It won't win any Oscars, but it might tempt your sulky teen out of her room. 

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey. You can find her at 

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