The Mistletoe Secret is a 2019 Hallmark film released on November 10, 2019. The film stars Kelli Pickler, Tyler Hynes, Christopher Russell and Patrick Duffy. It was written by Michael Nourse based on the story by Rickie Castaneda and Megan Hocking. It was directed by Terry Ingram.
Aria Eubanks (Picker) runs a down-on-its-luck diner called The Mistletoe Diner in Midway, Utah. She comes up with an idea to pitch the town as a featured stop on a reality show called Masters of Travel starring Sterling Masters (Russell). It is announced that Midway is indeed a finalist for the feature, and the entire town waits for the announcement.
Meanwhile, Masters and Alex (Hynes) create plans for visiting the small town. Even though Masters is the star of the show and is assumed to be the writer of his popular website, it is actually Alex who writes the words people love. Alex visits the small town to get started on the website’s articles and meets Aria and her father (Patrick Duffy).
Although Aria and Alex don’t quite see eye-to-eye at first, the two slowly begin to form a friendship, all the while with Aria constantly saying how much she is looking forward to meeting Sterling Masters. Alex says he is a writer as well and Aria says maybe Sterling can give him some pointers. Although he would like to tell her the truth, Alex can’t since it is in his contract that he has to remain an invisible part of Sterling’s persona.
Alex immerses himself in the small town, going from event to event filling out his Christmas passport. Just when he and Aria are getting close, Sterling decides to come to the town after all and throws everything into chaos as he too tries to get close to Aria. Aria eventually finds out the truth and Aria feels betrayed and won’t return Alex’s many phone calls before he leaves the town. Sterling manages to save the day and the townspeople make plans to get Alex and Aria back together.
This is the second film I am reviewing this year that stars Tyler Hynes and I believe also the second or third with Patrick Duffy who seems to love the Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas genre. The cinematography for the film is your standard Hallmark flair and is expertly directed by Terry Ingram, leading us from scene to scene through the small town.
Pickler and Hynes are believable as a couple getting closer but still staying oddly apart, but Pickler oftentimes appears distracted and cold. While it is a Hallmark movie, it is hard to believe that Aria could be so dense as not to see Alex looking at her with a twinkle in his eye every time he is near. While it is clear Aria has the entire town in her mind when she is talking non-stop about Sterling, instead of endearing us to Aria, it puts up an immediate wall in front of her making her appear completely absorbed with the theater of Sterling visiting and not the feelings between her and Alex.
All in all, it is a good film without anything really controversial, and a typical feel-good film you usually expect from Hallmark. A good choice for viewing on a cold winter evening.