Christmas in Rome is a wonderful Hallmark Christmas movie, and it's remarkable in one very important aspect: nothing about it is corny. I don't think you'll find another movie like it during their entire holiday lineup. From start to finish, the movie is completely realistic. You will not cringe, you will not roll your eyes, and you will not get a cavity. What are you waiting for?
Lacey Chabert is an American tour guide in Rome who's passionate about her job and her surroundings. She goes beyond seeing the sights; she shows the heart and soul of the city. Sam Page is a slick businessman sent to Rome to buy up an Italian factory before Christmas. He has neither a clue nor an interest in Italian culture or business customs, but after a chance meeting with Lacey, she gives him a couple of tips that prove quite fruitful. To help him close his deal, he hires her to be his personal tour guide and help him woo the factory owner, Franco Nero.
One of the reasons I love this movie is the deep connection Lacey and Sam grow to have. There's no love-at-first-sight, and it's very clear he's paying for her professional services instead of demeaning her or using the situation as a pick-up line. Instead, her intelligence, kindness, and passion are on full display as his tour guide. She's absolutely delightful; it's no wonder he falls for her! For Lacey, she's not hooked into an attraction based on merely trying to get a grumpy opposing force appreciate the spirit of Christmas. In many respects, this isn't really a Christmas movie, since she instills in him the spirit of Rome rather than the December holiday. Instead, she's drawn to his appreciation for her many qualities as well as his belief and tangible support in her ability to succeed in her professional goals. This is not a shallow, silly romance. When they share their feelings, you believe them and that they have what it takes to make it work.
Another reason I love this movie is it really captures a love of Rome. Filmed on location, it shows audiences famous sights as well as hidden nooks, and it educates them on the language and customs. Lacey has Italian roots, and as a fellow Sicilian, I appreciated her accent and her obvious love for her surroundings. I don't know if Sam is also part-Italian, but I've dubbed him "Hallmark's Marlon Brando"-the young, cute MB from the early '50s-he certainly looks like he is. With Franco Nero in the cast, as well as several Italian supporting cast members, this feels like a very authentic movie. You've got to check it out. It just might become your favorite Hallmark.