Lifetime Movie The Spirit Of Christmas Took A Lot Of Liberties With How Ghosts Work
Last night’s Lifetime movie The Spirit of Christmas was about a woman who falls in love with a ghost. So kind of like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Except with Christmas. And really cheesy flashbacks to 1920. And made-up, convenient rules about how ghosts work. I know this is a movie about a ghost, and not a documentary about brain surgery, so technically anything goes. But I ended the movie with a question mark over my head. A candy cane question mark.
This week’s single lady with a demanding job is Kate (Jen Lilley), a lawyer who’s just as annoying as we’ve come to expect Lifetime Christmas movie heroines to be. She has a Disney Channel style of acting, by which I mean she speaks loudly, quickly, and in such a way as to make me want to bang my head against a wall. We’re introduced to her as she’s getting broken up with by her boyfriend. Apparently this happens to her a lot. (I wonder why.) Won’t she ever find love?
Cue Kate being sent to Vermont to assist in the sale of an old inn that’s rumored to be haunted. When she arrives, the appraiser flees the premises in fear, and the innkeeper Walter (Robert Walsh) says he’s leaving until Christmas, a yearly tradition. Kate stays overnight in the inn, where she runs into the inn’s former owner Daniel (Thomas Beaudoin), who’s pretty much the ghost version of Christian Grey. By that I mean he’s super duper hot but also super duper boring, and also a bit of an asshole.
But you might be an asshole too if you were a ghost brought back to human form for 12 days a year trapped in an old inn with no idea why you can’t cross over to the OTHER SIIIIIIDE (to the tune of Adele). Yes, 12 days like the 12 days of Christmas. Ignoring the fact that the 12 days of Christmas are actually the days after Christmas. But that’s the least of this movie’s liberties, so I’ll overlook it.
Daniel doesn’t remember how he died, so once Kate accepts that Daniel is indeed a ghost, she sets about trying to help him remember, thinking that maybe it will break whatever curse he’s under so she can get going on the sale of the inn. As it turns out, the 12 days refer to the 12 days he was away from his fiancée Lilly (Kati Salowsky) to go to Canada on a rum-running job. The last thing he remembers is seeing Lilly and his brother Charles embracing during the inn’s Christmas Eve party and thinking she betrayed him.
We need to talk about the acting in the movie’s flashbacks. And from Daniel for the entire movie. It’s so bad, you guys. It’s like a bunch of high schoolers put on old-fashioned clothing and tried to sound like they were from 100 years ago. Why couldn’t he have been a ghost from the ’90s? They could have reused the costumes from the Saved by the Bell movie.
Daniel soon discovers that Lilly married his brother Charles and gave birth to a baby not long after that, causing rumors that the child was actually Daniel’s. Both Lilly and the baby died. Kate discovers the child’s birth certificate, which reveals that Daniel was listed as the father, leading them to the conclusion that the marriage was a cover, and they didn’t betray him. Okay, so now that he knows that he can move on, right?
Wrong. They still have to have the Christmas Eve dance, where Daniel has visions of the night he died and discovers that his cousin Harry (Brett Leigh), who helped him with the rum-running, was the one who killed him. The gangster they were involved with threatened to kill his family if he didn’t do it. This is all explained by Harry’s ghost, who has also been haunting the inn.
This is where things get confusing. Daniel explains that somehow Lilly was the one keeping him in the house so that he would learn how to forgive Harry for killing him… or something. He ends up doing just that, but he still doesn’t cross over. Kate says she’s happy he’s still there because it means she can see him 12 days of the year. They kiss as the clock strikes midnight, which is when Daniel usually disappears.
Then Kate suddenly just falls asleep (???), and Lilly leads Daniel outside so they can move on together. But just as they’re about to step away from the inn, Daniel’s like “Hmm, I think I want to stay with that annoying lady I just met two weeks ago instead of going to the afterlife with the mother of my child.” And Lilly tells him it’s his choice, because A.) apparently ghosts get to choose those things, and B.) she’s totally cool with the love of her life abandoning her for all eternity.
Walter the innkeeper, who knew about Daniel being a ghost all along, ends up being the one to buy the inn with his new girlfriend, and Kate thinks she’s lost Daniel forever. Except she hasn’t, because suddenly he’s emerging from the woods to run to her. He says he wanted more than just 12 days a year. So apparently ghosts can just magically make themselves alive again to be with their new girlfriends. Is this going to be an Age of Adaline thing where he never ages? WHAT IS HAPPENING?