Multi-year party hijinks, thoughtful storytelling, legit chemistry, witty dialogue, and the edge that only indies can deliver. Annie and Tom Clark throw a holiday party every year, “Clarkmas.” Over the years, it’s become the go-to holiday event for their ragtag group of friends. When chronically single Natalie and Logan continue to run into each other
Multi-year party hijinks, thoughtful storytelling, legit chemistry, witty dialogue, and the edge that only indies can deliver.
It’s too laborious to explain my take on the 10,000 Christmas movies I’ve seen, I have big opinions. So, let’s skip that and go straight to the parts you wanna know about. “See You Next Christmas” is a semi-traditional Christmas Rom-Com starring very attractive people that takes place in modern Los Angeles, but the humble kind of LA including the cramped apartment and less-than-Wintery atmosphere. The unfolding structure of this annual event where our primary romantic couple meet is easily dissected and incredibly obvious. I can guess each character’s exact arc all the way to the end… but, that is what a Christmas movie is, it’s wonderfully and comfortably predictable like any rom-com sub-genre, including the less-than-mind-blowing “Grand Romantic Gesture.” I won’t spoil anything, but the ending has the quick-to-the-finish cut-off that leaves you wanting more… And I LOVED it. STAY WITH IT! It’s wonderful! And Happy Clarkmas!
But what’s different?
We’ve swapped the meet-cute for a gross party pick-up line. We also swapped the back-home trope for the young urban transplants Christmas party. We lost the perfect best-friend couple for a struggling hosting couple having a genuine love-story that interests me: married people working on keeping the spark. No waiting for a kiss in this party pleaser, plenty of kisses are doled up in the opening moments. It looks very “indie” in the trailer only to find it is perfectly lovely, although smaller in scope, in the full feature. This movie felt very ‘human’ and not-so-much ‘fairytale.’ These aren’t criticisms, these are adjustments that I love. This movie is so much funnier and better made than most of what we’ll scroll across this magical Season.
Christine Weatherup (Bosch, Townies)’s “Annie” has a great attitude, although described as a little controlling or neurotic, she is NOT. she is wonderful and I identify with her too much for any negative word against her. Her performance is beautiful, but I was already a fan (Bread and Butter). Also, it should be noted that “See You Next Christmas” was written and directed by Christine Weatherup, who wrote herself into perfect casting. The stellar line-up continues with Vin Vescio (For the Weekend, Chicago Med) as “Tom” as the unassuming romantic, emotionally vulnerable, transparent, and gentle hero. Arguably my favorite character arc, Vin can stand in a moment confidently, he allows so much to transpire in his silence. A great talent and someone I must add to my future casting lists!
Elizabeth Guest (Guest Appearances, A.P. Bio) as “Natalie” is a joy to watch, she’s imperfectly perfect. Her leading lady presence is grounded, relatable, and calm – not often afforded to leading ladies, she seems to be completely herself in every moment. AJ Meijer (Sneaky Pete, NCIS: Los Angeles)’s “Logan” is rude and immature but gosh darn it, he’s ruggedly handsome, charming, and someone we want to see become incredibly happy. Logan is self-aware and has interesting insight, but leans into the less progressive sides of himself, but he eventually apologizes for it. I know I can attribute his charm to the lovely well-written script, but I feel like I want to say it’s AJ’s kind and genuine disposition that shines through, likely it’s both. The inclusion of Logan’s real-life issues crossing into a perceived cut-and-dry holiday party movie changes the the game. These authentic and realistic people make this movie an instant well-adjusted-adult coming-of-age classic!
Extra highlights you don’t want to miss: Nalini Sharma‘s “Nina” with her scene stealing comedic chops and Zach Kanner‘s “Doug” as the realistic under appreciated late-bloomer nerd-tastic awkward friend.
We need movies like this
There is an important theme here we need to address: Building traditions to grow together. Yes, it’s messy (which this film points out), but life is only good when we keep walking forward together through the mess. Every group of friends needs the steady host – with annual support. If you are aiming to be the steady host, just keep throwing the weird event – stick to it. It’s important to have lifelong cultural markers even when you think no one truly cares, they’ll keep coming back and the attendees will evolve with you. Stay strong and keep being a community supporter. I see you. Keep it up! AND if you are just an attendee at your friend’s tradition, keep attending. Even if you skip a year or two, please continue to come back. Even if you no longer feel welcome, you feel yucky trying to be social, or you just hate parking in their neighborhood – keep doing it. Community matters and annual traditions with old friends have benefits that kick in years down the line – opportunities to see people grow takes a long time but makes us better people.
We all have holiday traditions, adding this to the rotation is a wise move. As one of many hosts of “The 12 Movies Of Christmas” that my family and friends do every Winter-without-Winter-In-Southern-California since 2004, this movie would be a perfect addition. We’ll be sure to expose many friends to this one over the years. I recommend you do the same. It’s a perfect year to start a small movie watching tradition…
Pre-Ordering movies is REALLY important to independent titles. This movie deserves your attention. Click HERE to Pre-Order this film. Enjoy!