MINI MOVIE REVIEWS: Charming Hometown Holiday Treats and an Epic Love Affair At The End Of The World
It’s been a while since I was in the mood to watch movies. Last Christmas Eve, I felt like giving two gay Christmas rom-coms a try. That the very wholesome Lifetime is creating LGBT+ movies goes a long way in normalizing queer holiday stories. A win for all of us.
I also watched a beautiful Chilean movie that was almost God’s Own Country-perfect. Almost.
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Dashing in December
When Wyatt Burwall finally returns home for the holidays in an effort to convince his mother Deb to sell the family’s Colorado ranch, a romance unexpectedly ignites between Wyatt and their dashing new ranch hand Heath Ramos, who dreams of saving the beloved property and the ranch’s magical Winter Wonderland attraction while reawakening the spirit of Christmas in Wyatt’s lonely heart.
Dashing in December is a cowboy love story about a successful big city professional going home to his hometown for the holidays, meets a handsome ranch hand and learns a valuable lesson about love and family.
It set the mood quite nicely, with its homey rural setting and warm small town folks. The lead actors showed off their chemistry very well. I wished they had a stronger material to work with because this is a very cookie-cutter story that never deviated from the tried and tested route. Still, it gave off a pleasant holiday vibe without going overboard.
The Christmas Setup
As they enjoy the local holidays together, Hugo and Patrick’s attraction to each other is undeniable but as Hugo receives word of a big promotion requiring a move to London, he must decide what is most important to him.
The Christmas Set-up also follows the holiday tradition of going back to the hometown for the holidays. I liked this better than the first movie.
It’s an aggressively Christmasy movie, with everything decked in holiday colors. Every character was wearing something in shades of green or red.
The mother was so full of relentless good cheer that she was more of a caricature. The other secondary characters didn’t stand out too much. However, the lead actors carried the story well, showing off appropriate levels of cute and fluff without too much cheese.
There was a charming historical little love story between the founder of the train station and his best friend that tied in nicely to the plot. The overall vibe was warm, cozy, very family friendly and just oozing with quaint small town holiday traditions. You couldn’t go wrong with this one.
Los Fuertes (The Strong Ones)
Lucas travels to visit his sister who lives in Niebla, a remote town in southern Chile. Beside the ocean shrouded in the wintry mist, he meets Antonio who works as a boatswain in a local fishing boat. An intense romance blossoms between the two of them, and with it their strength, their independence and their adulthood become immovable with the ebb and flow of the tide.
Let me set expectations here first. This went the way of most award winning LGBT+ films. Had it gone the way of God’s Own Country, I would have watched it 4 times in quick successions too. But minor hiccup aside, this was absolutely beautiful!
Los Fuertes is an epic love story played out several weeks in a rugged Chilean town between a visiting young man and the local boatswain. With a deadline ahead of them, the two knew they had to make the most of their time together. And make the most of it they did! This has some of the most endearing and bittersweet gay couple scenes caught on film, seriously rivaling my favorite let-me-salt-your-pasta-for-you scene in God’s Own Country.
The chemistry between the actors was fantastic! It’s the kind of convincing portrayal that makes you forget it’s fiction. And with the way the film was shot, with an amazing cinematography and deliberately minimizing the presence of electronic gadgets, it transported you to the end of the world in a place suspended in time. Even though I knew how it would end, I still couldn’t help but hope, that maybe, just maybe, our queer little hearts could have that perfect happy ending.
Hope you enjoyed today’s Mini Movie Reviews! Happy Sunday!