Movie #332 2020: The Christmas Train (2017)

We return to Christmas… and it’s on a train! No, it’s not The Polar Express (though I do strongly recommend that one), but rather a little-known Christmas movie named The Christmas Express. And guess what! It’s not going to be your last little known Christmas film here so buckle up. (Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.)

The Christmas Train – also known as The Christmas Express – is a made-for-TV shindig and has a weirdly overqualified cast, but we’ll get into that later. The movie itself centres around two journalists who were former lovers, and they end up on the same intercontinental train journey to Los Angeles as the pair of them attempt to get home for Christmas. Yes, it’s a romance movie. Obviously a movie about a smooth-sailing train journey would be boring as sin, so there are some snags along the way, including the fact that the train reaches a section of track that has been struck by an avalanche, resulting in the passengers of the train being forced to work together as they spend Christmas Eve with strangers.

And so the terrible Hallmark Channel Christmas movie watch begins! Really, even the font of the opening credits is terrible, so I was not expecting much, but is The Christmas Train as awful as it sounds?

Let’s delve right in with this cast first. Why did Joan CusackDermot Mulroney and Danny Glover agree to this? Were they held at gunpoint by the director? Were they paid $12 million each? I’m struggling to pinpoint… But at least the acting isn’t too bad as a result of this clear hostage situation. To be fair, I was certainly not aware of the presence of Joan Cusack before watching, so that was absolutely a welcome surprise. Joan makes every movie better.

There’s absolutely nothing surprising about the plot or any of the events that occur here… except for the random side story about items going missing on board. That was a wild ride (no pun intended) that will peak interest throughout. However, the whole romance story line is just about as obvious as you’d expect from a movie of this ilk. Thankfully there are some snippets of humour within it that are actually kind of great, most of which – duh – come from Cusack and her elastic face. Major themes are pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a Christmas film (love, teamwork, forgiveness, yadda yadda yadda) and it does all get a little bit long, but The Christmas Train is certainly not as bad as one might think beforehand.

Nope, I can’t skip past it. I tried. But I have to re-iterate: GOD this is long. So very long. Unfortunately something tells me this will be the best one of these stupid films that I watch so Jesus Christ please help me. Send me a Christmas miracle.

For what was presumably a pretty tight budget, it’s pretty well made. I have to give them that. You will absolutely not be wowed by its cinematography or it’s originality, but it does have Christmas spirit, some of the characters are really likeable, and I refuse to rate any Joan Cusack movie any lower than 3 Qs so… 3 Qs it shall be.

The Christmas Train is a made-for-TV movie, so I managed to catch this one on Channel 5. However, if you’re quick you can click HERE and view this movie on Channel 5 On Demand in the UK!

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