An Unexpected Christmas is a 2021 TV movie released on The Hallmark Channel on November 26, 2021. It stars Tyler Hynes (Heartland, Saving Hope) as Jamie and Bethany Joy Lenz (Virgin River, Supergirl) as Emily.
Breakups are never easy and telling your parents about it can be even tougher. That is the situation Jamie (Hynes) has found himself in as he abruptly ended the engagement between himself and Emily (Lenz). While Emily’s career as a marketing executive is on the rise, Jamie called in a favor to get a job as a speech-writer for the governor of Illinois. When Jamie goes home for the holidays finally prepared to tell his extended family about the breakup, he is surprised when Emily arrives via the same train station. The family, assuming they are still together, pack them both up in the family car and head to the house.
Jamie pleads with Emily to not reveal their breakup so the family can have a happy Christmas. After a series of unfortunate events, she agrees after Jamie makes her a deal. After her marketing video idea for the small town is uprooted by Jackie Joyner bowing out, Jamie promises to get the governor to deliver the Christmas day speech he is writing in the town.
Meanwhile, Jamie’s sister Becca (Alison Wandzura) is putting on the annual Christmas play in which her hyperactive adopted son Scotty (Logan McInnes) plays a Christmas tree. Becca’s female fiance ran out on her when she adopted Scotty and she is trying to find her place back in her hometown and searching for Mrs. Right.
Jamie is having trouble writing the Christmas speech which is a key part of the governor’s re-election campaign. When the governor is forced to cancel because of an illness, things are looking pretty bleak for both of their plans, despite the two growing closer together while maintaining their charade.
At the Christmas play, Jamie overhears Emily talking to someone from her marketing agency about going on a trip with him and jumps to the conclusion she has been using him the entire time. She explains it was a work assignment, and she was actually going to turn it down, but he has now pushed her away yet again. The family overhears the revelation and is heartbroken for the couple and their family. Emily goes to the train station and Jamie rushes to intercept her at the game.
While waiting for her train, she sees the governor on TV giving the speech Jamie wrote and mentioning how great the small town is and that she is sad she couldn’t go there for Christmas, but it is a place everybody should go see. The heart-warming speech is a win for both the governor, and for Emily, and Jamie apologizes to Emily and the two end up celebrating Christmas as a couple after all.
Oh, Hallmark Channel. This is the kind of film you know you are going to get when you turn on Hallmark and cozy up with a blanket and hot chocolate in front of the TV. While currently only available on the channel itself, it is sure to come to streaming and maybe a DVD release at some point.
Despite the cookie-cutter formula of couples splitting up, getting back together, splitting up, and ending up back together, the film does so in a very entertaining way. The cinematography is excellent and all of the actors do a great job. The sub-plot of the adoption, as well as Logan’s hyperactivity, seems a little out of place but gets tied up with a Hallmark bow also at the end of the film.
You can find the next airing of An Unexpected Christmas on The Hallmark Channel’s website.