HALLMARK CHANNEL: 57 Thoughts on A Nutcracker Christmas

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The new Hallmark Channel movie A Nutcracker Christmas made-for-TV movie debuted last night as part of the network’s Countdown to Christmas, starring Amy Acker (of Angel and Person of Interest fame) and Sascha Radetsky (of Center Stage and Flesh and Bone fame) in the lead roles.

The film’s basic premise was about a rising ballet star (Acker) is ready to take the stage in her dream role when she receives the shocking news that her sister has died. Years later, she has vowed never to dance again, but a chance encounter with an old flame (Radetsky) may change her mind.

1. Classic small town opening with a typical voice-over introduction.
2. Learn about the lead character’s background and family: big Southern family who loves peanuts and football.
3. Youngest daughter Lily loves ballet and her big sister Beth is her biggest supporter.
4. So cute to see little Lily dressed in her tutu, dancing around the house
5. Her big dream is to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker
6. Lily grows up obsessed with ballet and is really talented
7. Pretty cool that Lily’s family has their own version of Twelve Days of Christmas
8. Grown up Lily loves her sister’s daughter Sadie very much – so sweet
9. It’s 2003 at the American Ballet Invitational and Lily wins, dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy naturally.
10. Of course, Lily gets offered a spot at the New York Ballet, but her mom doesn’t want her to go.
11. Enter Beth, who convinces their mother to let Lily pursue her dream.
12. Lily has her “I’m not in Kansas anymore” moment [except she’s from Marietta, Georgia].
13. Here is the met-cute moment: Lily runs right into Mark, a handsome dancer at the NY Ballet.
14. Enter Beth and Sadie for a Christmas visit.
15. So typical that everyone at the ballet company falls in love with Sadie, as Mark and Lily start to fall in love.
16. Typical montage of the love birds over the years.
17. But Lily’s dream of being the Sugar Plum Fairy is not realized because Mark’s ex-girlfriend keeps landed the role.
18. Until…the director of the ballet FINALLY gives the role to Lily.
19. Of course, disaster strikes before Lily’s big opening night: she learns from her mother that her sister Beth was killed in a car crash.
20. Give Lily credit she wanted to go on with the show – even her mother said that Beth would want her to dance in her dream role – but both Mark and the ballet director tell her no because they are worried about her well-being.
21. Naturally, Lily heads back to Georgia not knowing that she will be putting Mark and her ballet career on the back burner for years.
22. Jump 8 years later, Lily is a yoga instructor and Sadie’s surrogate mom.
23. She also doesn’t dance anymore and has put up a wall between herself and any man who may want to date her.
24. Sadie has taken on the dream of being a ballerina and is just as talented as her aunt [maybe even better than her aunt].
25. In fact, she’s good enough to win a guest spot at the Philadelphia Ballet, where she will play Clara in the Nutcracker.
26. Just like Lily’s mom was concerned about her going to New York all those years ago, Lily is now worried about Sadie going to Philadelphia.
27. Good for Lily’s mom that she convinces Lily that she needs to let Sadie follow her dream; and, of course, she heads to the City of Brotherly Love with her beloved niece.
28. Oh look, Mark is at the Philadelphia Ballet as their new artistic director.
29. And, he lives in the same apartment building where Sadie and Lily have moved into [it helps that the ballet company owns the building].
30. Lily gets caught by some of the dance moms – you can just see them wondering what is the real story about Lily?
31. Sadie is also observant and starts grilling her aunt about Mr. Anders.
32. Lily goes to Tuesday Coffee Day with the dance moms and tries to play down her past with Mark as well as her dancing history.
33. Here is the trademark story: Mark and Lily keep running into each other at the apartment building’s gym, the local coffee shop and even out Christmas tree shopping.
34. Mark is a war hero, having served in Afghanistan.
35. Mean girls are everywhere and Sadie gets her fair share of experience with that.
36. Mark asks Lily for help with directing the lead dancers of the Nutcracker, much to the distaste of those dancers and one of the dance moms.
37. One dancer quits, the understudy gets her big chance and then gets hurt…oh boy!
38. It’s revealed that Mark went into military service after Lily left New York.
39. The understudy gets hurt and now the ballet needs someone to play the Sugar Plum Fairy.
40. And Mark believes Lily is their only hope – she’ll finally get to live out her life-long dream.
41. Watching Mark and Lily on stage practicing is mesmerizing, as there is still an obvious spark between them.
42. But Lily starts to doubt she can pull off the role…and we get to see a Center Stage moment with Mark and Lily dancing salsa [anyone remember this exact scene from that cult fave movie?]
43. Yes, they finally kiss!
44. A dance mom is not happy – what a surprise…
45. And, the dancer who quit is back at the 11th hour, thinking she can just get her role back – really?!
46. Lily misjudges the situation, thinking Mark is repeating his past mistakes and she races off.
47. Once Mark learns what Juliet (the dancer who quit) assumed she could do without his approval, he basically fires her and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Darren, the other lead dancer, also quits.
48. The Nutcracker is now in serious trouble without their primary dancers.
49. Mark and Lily both get their chance to dance the Nutcracker – nerves and all.
51. Sadie dances the role of Clara so wonderfully.
52. The Dance Moms are finally on Sadie and Lily’s side – even the mean one.
53. Lily tells Mark she loves him before they go on stage.
54. They both dance beautifully and receive a standing ovation.
55. As they take their final bow, Lily sees a vision of Beth in the audience.
56. The movie ends with another voice-over.
57. Typical sweet ending this time with Lily saying, “Even a goofy kid from a small town can find her prince, if she takes it just one plie at a time” – the very piece of advice that Lily’s big sister Beth always told her.

Hallmark Channel isn’t done with Christmas movies with a number more set to air before the big day. Check out our holiday TV guide for a schedule of 30+ original holiday movies. Also, don’t forget to download our Hallmark Holiday Movie Bingo cards for more festive fun!

Using her favorite online handle, Rueben is an East Coast-bred gal who is now a permanent Californian and a lifelong tv-oholic. She watches at least 25 TV shows a week, goes to the movies as often as possible, listens to music every waking moment, reads every day and “plays” on the internet every chance she can. Some of her current favorite TV shows are Outlander, Arrow, Grimm, The Blacklist, Teen Wolf, Killjoys, Dark Matter, The Shannara Chronicles, Good Witch, When Calls the Heart, The 100, Switched at Birth, Jane the Virgin, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Flash and The Fosters (among others). Follow her at @ruebenrambling or contact her at rueben@nicegirlstv.com.