Hallmark has returned once more and delivers one of the strongest Christmas films I’ve seen from them. This one has a plot that’s a little more unique next to the others and it was a fun way to wrap things up for Christmas. This one even has a bigger focus on the animals with the Cat playing a big role here. I’d like to see the Dogs take center stage, but cats are cool too of course.
The film starts off by introducing us to Zachary. He’s a firefighter who does a lot of good in the community. As a result everyone just loves the guy and he isn’t really a big fan of the attention. He’s together with a model at the moment, but doesn’t believe in long-term relationships. This in itself raises some questions, but at the moment his life is still pretty complete. That’s when he meets a cat named Ambrose who belonged to someone who recently died. The cat has grown attached to him so now they share a house. The problem is that Zachary’s girlfriend doesn’t like cats and he will now have to choose between them.
Meanwhile you have Marilee who is studying to be a vet. She is very close and is working on Finals in her last year. She has decided not to get into a relationship until she is graduated which is quite admirable. Unfortunately her sister and her husband do not want to wait that long and keep trying to pair her up with someone. Marilee quickly fibs that she and Zachary are going out and must now find a way to grab him before the big party. Can she pull it off?
The film has quite a lot of story. Even the two paragraphs of plot I put there isn’t quite the whole thing, but it’s hard to say much more without going into spoilers. If we’re being real here there isn’t a lot to spoil just due to the nature of what kind of film it is, but you should still discover as much of it for yourself as you can. In a way the plot is the flip side of a lot of the others. This time it’s the guy who already has someone but is about to get his head turned when the new girl on the block shows up.
From the start of the film Zachary is portrayed as a pretty nice guy. He’s a little on the humble side and prefers not to be the center of attention, but he’ll put up with it if it’s for a good cause like taking photos for the calendar. I don’t think he needed to be all that embarrassed about someone giving him a hug though considering he saved her life. That would probably just be a very happy moment for him since it’s a moment where he can see first hand the good that he’s done over the years.
Crunch time for Zachary’s character is with the cat though. It goes without saying that if he picked a person over a cat he was going to really sink as a character. Animals come first and usually the person who tells you to choose one or the other is the one who should lose out there. He was a bit slow on the uptake when looking for the cat though. I think Zachary should have suspected foul play from the start but he surprisingly didn’t even seem to consider it. Good thing Marilee was around.
Meanwhile you have Marilee who is a little more awkward than the other leads. She definitely tends to mess up a bit when talking to Zachary but is always ready with her pet skills. I think she had better reason to jump to conclusions than a lot of the other Hallmark leads and I think Zachary should have handled that situation better. Marilee stays professional throughout though and just seems like a nice enough person. Painting the whole wall definitely seems like it would have taken a great deal of effort.
I was glad her co-worker stood up for her later on when someone tried to find out her info. Marilee’s boss was definitely pretty weak willed so at least the store has someone who can be helpful. The whole situation at the pet store still feels like a big betrayal considering how well known Marilee was for being a great worker. It’s briefly mentioned that the owner is afraid, but I really don’t see why he would be. I suppose we needed the situation to happen, but it could have been done in more of a realistic way. Marilee’s sister was also a fun character. She was always very supportive. While she may have been a little pushy with getting Marilee together with someone, at least she was doing it for the right reasons. Marilee just needed to point out that having fun while alone is easy.
One thing that makes this film especially strong is how good the supporting cast is. I believe there were more of these characters around compared to usual and they gave sound advice throughout. Zachary certainly got to hear a lot of wise advice from the other firefighters and Marilee had her own support crew as well. These characters may joke around from time to time, but ultimately they are here to help and do a good job of it. Marilee’s friend helps her create a profile and takes her mind off of her current issues for example and I already talked about the others. A good supporting cast helps to propel the main characters to greater heights and that’s what happens here.
Overall, The Nine Lives of Christmas is definitely a nice film to check out. It’s a fun film as expected and there are no real weaknesses here. Adding in the cats was definitely a good idea since it’s always fun to have them around. Without the cats the film would lose a lot of what makes it unique in the first place. Films usually want to have some kind of hook to make it different from the rest and the cats were definitely a good way to do that. No worries, the film doesn’t feel like you’re watching nine movies back to back. The pacing is solid and the story is engaging from start to finish so I recommend checking it out.