So far this TV Christmas, 'Secret Santa' really stands out. The three films I watched involving Santa's marital status were okay if somewhat implausible (!) and I liked 'A Song for the Season' (aka 'A Holiday Romance') and 'A Christmas Gift', but Jennie Garth's performance as reporter Rebecca Chandler has been easily the best treat this holiday to date. If I like a piece of music, my pleasure and appreciation grows each time I hear it. Movies work the same way for me, and this is a movie that I will enjoy every time I watch it. Apologies to all those who belong to the 'seen that' brigade, who only live for what is novel.
It's personal taste, I know, but the humour tickled, the plot interested, the schmaltz was just right (I like sugar in my tea), the events believable and the ending was full of promise and hope. In the story, Rebecca was having quite a run of bad luck, as some would see it, and I could imagine certain folks regarding some of her reactions as unrealistic. For example, her behaviour on being splashed. Rebecca is resilient, and I identify strongly with her. Having dropped a case of 10pt Times type fifty odd years ago, all I said was "Bother!" and got busy sorting the type back into the tiny compartments. If there weren't ten thousand bits, it sure seemed like it. You can't change what's happened, so why not deal with it and carry straight on living. Another attractive trait to her character is that she's no fool, and all her dealings with the despicable Ryan are most pleasing. In fact, Rebecca seems a real person - not perfect, but the sort of girl you'd be really pleased to know.
Other performances in this title are also strong. The variety of characters ranges from the normal, through the competent and fulfilled Russell and John Martin Carter, to Rebecca's autocratic editor - all of them, with the possible exception of Ryan, having a thoroughly worthwhile side to their natures. Aren't actors and actresses blessed? They get to leave a snapshot of themselves which lives on as they age, and even after they've passed on. Secret Santa will stand as a memorial to Jennie Garth. Just in case Jennie consults the IMDb, I would like to offer her the link www.PleaseAskWhy.com (the secret of life, no less?) in appreciation of her gift to the world by taking part in this movie.
Isn't it sad how the nicer things in life seem so little valued? Even the TV guide only included this in the 'Also on today' section, dismissing it as 'intensely predictable Christmas fluff'. Not having a tragic ending does not equate to predictable in this case. I would love to buy a DVD of 'Secret Santa', but none is available. This is something I find frequently, and wish the TV companies were better geared to making their family films available in this format. Perhaps I'm part of a very small market, but I'm sure it isn't an insignificant one. There must be others like me who love people, love what is good and right, know the reality of happy ever after, value fidelity, and like their films to reflect these qualities. I heartily recommend this title, if you ever get the chance to come across it.