A California Christmas: City Lights 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
As with the first installment, ‘A California Christmas: City Lights’ (the sequel) is not much of a Christmas film, though to be fair, it is more Christmassy than the first. That said, it has an authentic and genuine feel to it, which I enjoyed. The storyline is an emotional journey that tries to develop a better sense of who the protagonists are individually and what their relationship means to them, as they set off on their new path.
Fans of the first will no doubt enjoy ‘City Lights’, while those looking for a traditional Christmas romance/rom-com will likely find the ‘slow pace’ nature (and lack of drama) wanting/unappealing. Moreover, the ‘Christmas’ in ‘A California Christmas’ acts more as a backdrop to a romance movie as opposed to one about the holiday itself. The sequel follows Callie (played by Lauren Swickard) and Joseph (played by Josh Swickard) a year after they met and fell in love on the farm.
They are happier than ever running the family farm and vineyard. However, their romance is threatened when Joseph’s business/family obligations call him back to San Francisco. The writer (Lauren Swickard) does a good job of tapping into the deep love these two have for each other through the obstacles they face in the story, in the city. This is especially true for Callie, I felt.
The writer and director did a good job of pulling you into her story. I found it easy to engage with Callie’s feelings and emotions. I also enjoyed the sub-plot, which involved Manny (played by David Del Rio), a fan favorite from the first film, and Brandy (played by Raquel Dominguez), which made me laugh/chuckle several times during the film. However, the movie, at times, was ‘slow’ (even tiresome), I’m afraid. It could have used a bit more ‘drama’. The acting in this one was just as good as the first, I thought.
Lauren and Josh Swickard had great chemistry again on-screen. Lauren, in particular, did a wonderful job of portraying the emotional ups and downs of Callie’s story, which I found appealing. Del Rio made me laugh again in this one, as noted above. He had a couple of funny scenes wooing Brandy, which were entertaining. The rest of the cast was solid, Laura James’s performance (as Victoria) felt a bit off, at times. All in all, ‘City Lights’ is a new and different storyline than the first, putting a fresh spin on things for fans.
It is an emotional story about love and what that means in a relationship, and about learning who we are and who we want to be. Although not a Christmas movie in the traditional sense, the movie does have a ‘Christmas light’ feel to it, and there is even a tree decoration scene. All in all, if you enjoyed the first installment of ‘A California Christmas’, you will no doubt enjoy ‘City Lights’. If you are looking for a bit of romance with a touch of Christmas, then this one might be for you.