Stream or skip? +2023

We haven’t seen Asa Butterfield in a train station since Hugobut Your Christmas or mine? (now on Amazon Prime Video) quickly corrects that. He and Cora Kirk (booty for the devil) headline this slightly wacky comedy about young lovers who are forced to be apart over the holidays until they decide they need to be together, only to find themselves in a silly situation that separates them. The premise sounds more Hallmark than high-budget, but we hope the execution surpasses its TV-isms.

The essentials: Subtitle: “CHRISTMAS EVE… EVENING.” A train platform. Hayley (Kirk) and James (Butterfield) can hardly bear the separation. They’ve been in their relationship for a few months and are getting close to the point where they use the big L word. James almost stutters, but the whistle blows and she has to vamoose. They both board their own trains, and then both make the impulsive decision to board the other’s train and surprise! They end up at each other’s homes and unsuccessfully try to strike up a conversation with each other’s families they’ve never met – still a bit early; and they were in college – which might be all right since secrets were and are being kept and hopefully continue to be kept. And Hayley’s lost phone complicates this situation even further.

Out in the country, Hayley learns it actually is James Hubert James, and also very rich in very old money since his father (Alex Jennings) is the Earl of Glumfertster or whatever. Of course, at first the old man thinks Hayley is The Help. He also doesn’t take kindly to people bursting into his solemn, empty, huge buzz-killing house, smiling occasionally and enjoying the holiday season rather than being serially gloomy. Meanwhile, around town, James learns that Hayley’s family is loud and boisterous: her two younger brothers hilariously try to rob him outside, her father (Daniel Mays) drives an obnoxious ice cream truck, her grandparents are grumpy, her aunt is horny and me can’t wait to sit down next to him on the couch with a cup of nog. CHAOS RULES.

A winter storm prevents our clients from continuing their journey. After all, they communicate with each other using a landline connection. Hayley is mad that she didn’t know her boyfriend was a royal and she starts to piece together that James is supposed to be in a military academy instead of performing arts school and his father doesn’t know it yet. James is overwhelmed by her family and their crazy holiday traditions; She begs him not to reveal they’re dating, so he says he’s gay, which helps with the handy aunt. She somberly drinks soup with the Earl and his grimace. He endures a spa day with the ladies. Will this annoying mix-up ever be resolved? NO SPOILERS, but give it about 95 minutes and it probably will.

Photo: Amazon Prime Video

Which movies will it remind you of?: Put these next to the last British Christmas rom-com I saw that, despite its silliness, cast a spell over me: Emilia Clarke named after a Wham! song-com last christmas.

Notable performance: It might be fun hanging out with Kirk and Butterfield if they were together more often instead of at opposite ends of a made-up storyline.

Memorable dialogue: Hayley gets a brief tour of the mansion via the housekeeper:

Hayley: I’ll get killed with a lead pipe in the drawing room, won’t I?

Housekeeper: I sincerely hope not. The salon is strict outside the limits.

gender and skin: none.

Our opinion: Compared to other high-convolution coms, Your Christmas or mine? is not that crazy in his idiot conspiracy. Yes, that’s a compliment. Most of these efforts bring our protagonists to the brink of a simple solution to their increasingly complex problems, and then tease us for 90 percent of the runtime because the script gods won’t let their characters progress. This one offers a more satisfying – relatively, remember – resolution of the plot knot. Not everyone in this movie is an idiot. They may not always make the best decisions, but their misjudgments are understandable. Relatively.

And so the film moves comfortably within the confines of its genre. It creates a festive snowy atmosphere for its characters to get down to business, not being as annoying as other characters in other similar films. The comedy – dog hijinks, the old slobs/snobs dynamic, older folks saying the worst things etc – borders on desperation, but the dog doesn’t die and nobody really turns their noses up at a different socioeconomic group and granny-blows Coldplay, so nothing really common here unless you’re in Coldplay. Butterfield and Kirk survive the outing with their modestly charming chemistry intact, and the film doesn’t make you actively loathe the existence of the holiday season for inspirational goofy movies like this. Like everything else in this life, if you look at this film from that perspective, you might enjoy it a little.

Our appeal: Stream it. Your Christmas or mine? doesn’t reinvent the holiday rom-com. Actually not even close. But it’s a thoroughly lovable outing that generates enough warmth to warrant a watch, and it’s probably a little less annoying than your average Hallmark Christmas smut.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more about his work below

Leave a Comment