DEAR SECRET SANTA: Tatyana Ali Tries to Change the Past

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This week’s Lifetime original movie, Dear Secret Santa, is one of their best of the season.

Tatyana Ali stars as Jennifer, a workaholic in Los Angeles who returns to Berkeley after her Dad (Bill Cobbs) takes a spill. The pair don’t have the best relationship and continue to rub each other the wrong way as she tries to take care of him and he resists. Some of the best scenes in the movie are of Ali and Cobbs sparring with each other, giving real depth to their characters’ relationship.

Back at her old stomping grounds, and recently dumped, Jennifer admits that she wants to find true love. Suddenly, ex-boyfriends and old schoolmates are coming out of the woodwork! On top of that, letters start arriving in her mailbox, signed “Your Secret Santa”. The first half of the movie sees Jennifer trying to figure out which of three handsome fellas are sending the cards, but as the writer reveals just how well he knows Jennifer, she begins to suspect they’re from someone else: her childhood best friend, Jack, who was killed in a car accident three years earlier.

It’s a Christmas rom-com that takes an unexpected turn midway through, but Ali’s warmth and charm are up to the task of keeping this train from derailing. Jordin Sparks does a lovely job as Jennifer’s friend Abby, while Della Reese and Ernie Hudson have brief cameos. New Girl’s Lamorne Morris plays Jack.

By the way, I expect a lot of interest in Ali’s wardrobe – it’s spectacular. I’ll do my best to track down the costume designer and get answers!

Dear Secret Santa premieres Saturday, November 30 at 8/7c on Lifetime.

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