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  • Writer's pictureKen Silvers

A Christmas Mystery

I must be honest, I am not one to watch Hallmark Christmas movies simply because the majority of them have the same plotlines with different actors and settings. Please don't hold that against me, I just like Christmas movies that are different or at least try to bring something a bit new to the Christmas movie table. Such is the case with the new film "A Christmas Mystery", which has a unique storyline, yet still has the heart of the holiday film. The film begins by telling us about an incident which occurred 100 years ago in Pleasant Bay, Oregon. The story reveals how the town was in a very depressed state with a major source of employment closing leaving most residents unemployed and having little for Christmas. A child in the town is awakened by the sound of Santa Claus on his rooftop and discovers a shiny package under his Christmas tree and then runs outside to see Santa flying away and discover some magical jingle bells that have fallen off of Santa's sleigh, and the bells end up bringing prosperity to the town for around a century. The film flashes forward to current time where we see friends Violet (Violet Pierce) and Kenny (Saniono Barnard) at the Pleasant Bay museum where they are being told a story about the magical bells. When the duo leave the museum we meet their respective family members which include Kenny's brother Harrison (Leonardo Cecchi), and dad George (Drew Powell), along with Violet's sister Maddie (Lauren Lindsey Donzis) and widowed father Sheriff Pierce (Eddie Cirbrian). Each family has their own set of drama, and Maddie has a crush on Harrison, even though Harrison is a bit shy toward any relationship with her. The famous magical jingle bells are housed in the museum for safe keeping, but one day they are discovered missing with the glass chase they are enclosed in broken. The thief leads Sheriff Pierce to suspect Drew due the fact he is one of the few people who has access to the museum as he helps with janitorial duties, and was previously convicted of a crime. After the police search Drew's home, he is placed under arrest after a box related to the bells is found in his garage. Kenny and Violet know Drew can't be responsible for the thief, even though Harrison feels his dad may be responsible. Violet convinces Kenny to help her find who really stole the bells, and the two become ametuer detectives and devise a way to find out who has stolen the bells. Meanwhile, Mayor Donovan (Beau Bridges) is questioned by the town's business owners who feel they will lose a lot of business if the yearly bell ringing does not occur due to the thief. As the town is in a panic over the bells, Kenny and Violet have managed to recruit the doubting Harrison and Maddie to help in their quest. The four make a very formattable team, and thanks to the smart thinking of Violet are able to find the missing bells and catch the person responsible for stealing the town's prized bells. I always enjoy films where kids outsmart adults and prove they should never be overlooked or underestimated. The actors involved are all good in their respective roles, and director Alex Ranarivelo ("American Wrestler") handles this comedy/mystery with just the right touch. The film has just the right amount of warmth and joy any Christmas movie should, and makes for a pleasant diversion during the holidays. If you are in the mood for a different type of holiday film, then "A Christmas Mystery" is the present for you. Now showing on HBO Max and HBO. (Rated PG)



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