Why are Hallmark films so popular

Every year our households argue about which is the best Christmas film. "Die Hard" is a popular candidate or "Love Really" if you prefer British. As a German film, “Three Hazelnuts for Cinderella” is always at the forefront. But we all agree on one thing: American Hallmark Christmas films are definitely not in the top 3 - if anything, they're a guilty pleasure.

What are Hallmark films you wonder? Good question! Hallmark is an American television station whose programming is aimed at the whole family and shows both third-party and in-house productions. Hallmark's Christmas movies are notorious for being very cheesy and not necessarily the highest quality.

I am someone who is not particularly good at watching (super) romantic films because I always squirm in the cheesy scenes. That's why these Christmas films are not my first choice for pre-Christmas evening entertainment. But 2020 is a strange year and so I thought, why not try something new.

The films weren't hard to find. I just entered Hallmark Christmas Movies 2020 on YouTube and BÄMM! there is already a long list of films (which unfortunately often seem to have no title). I picked out the first three, made myself comfortable in my armchair with a hot punch and looked away. The chosen ones were "Mistletoe Magic", "Christmas Romance al Dente" and "Sharing Christmas".

First of all, I guess I should give you a quick recap of the films:

"Mistletoe Magic" is about a Christmas hating weather reporter who has lost her family's magical mistletoe. Everyone who kisses under this mistletoe falls in love. With the help of a school friend, she chases across town to find the heirloom in time for Christmas.

In “Christmas Romance al Dente”, Nathalie tries to open her aunt's restaurant, who is stuck in Rome, for Christmas Eve and has to rely on the help of the Italian chef Stefano because she cannot cook at all. But working with him is not as easy as expected.

“Sharing Christmas” tells the story of Stephanie, who takes over her parents' Christmas shop only to find out that she will lose the shop in the New Year. But then she meets a nice real estate agent who might be able to save her shop.

And how were the films now? I have to say they weren't as bad as I expected. That doesn't mean they are masterpieces - nowhere near. But they're great to let them run in the background while cooking or chilling out. Because if you pay full attention to them, you will notice some weaknesses.

Acting performance can vary widely and in some cases also affects leading actors. Whether you can laugh at the jokes depends on your own sense of humor, of course, but I found the jokes mostly rather cringy. Something that struck me particularly with “Mistletoe Magic”: the sound quality reflects the small budget, as it is sometimes badly mixed.

Two little things that struck me negatively were the Christmas puns, of which there were far too many, and the disapproval of many characters when a character "doesn't have the right Christmas spirit".

There are definitely worse films and also worse Christmas films than the Hallmark Christmas films that can be found on YouTube. I even liked “Sharing Christmas” to a certain extent, as it wasn't that cheesy and had little unnecessary, artificial drama. Of course, I haven't seen all of these films (that would be torture) and I can't guarantee that there won't be one or two duds in them.

My conclusion: If you don't have too high expectations and demands, then you can watch these films, but personally I wouldn't sacrifice a whole evening for them.