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Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing 2020 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Linda-Lisa Hayter
Writers: Zac Hug (Writer), Shari Sharpe
Stars: Holly Robinson Peete, Rukiya Bernard, Antonio Cayonne
A long-time Evergreen character ponders her legacy and her romantic future in the latest return the idyllic holiday-themed town ‘Christmas in Evergreen: Bells Are Ringing’ (premiering Dec. 5 as part of the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas).
In short: As Michelle’s (Holly Robinson Peete) wedding approaches, Hannah (Rukiya Bernard) steps up to help finish the launch of the new Evergreen museum while questioning her relationship with Elliot (Antonio Cayonne).
The ‘Evergreen’ series is all about the familiarity of the town, the people and the stories that have continued through the years. This being the fourth ‘Evergreen’ movie, it does help to have seen the previous three movies – but it’s not entirely necessary. ‘Bells’ is rooted in Evergreen’s history and Hannah establishing her place in the town. But there are some fun little nods to the previous movies and characters, such as the snow globe from ‘Tidings of Joy’ or the mailbox from ‘Letters to Santa.’
Hannah is one of the few characters who has been a part of every single ‘Evergreen’ movie, so it’s lovely to finally see her take center stage. She has always been there in the background and willing to help out where she could, whether it meant solving the mystery of the town’s time capsule or repairing Evergreen’s beloved snow globe. So it makes perfect sense that ‘Bells’ would find Hannah trying to carve out her own place in the town – figure out what her legacy would be in Evergreen.
The ‘Evergreen’ movies have always been a tapestry of plots, usually with one main plot line for the protagonists and a secondary plot that involves the entire community. ‘Bells’ juggles a few too many plots, however, which dilutes the movie a bit. Hannah must convince a grouchy town businessman to allow her to open the town museum in a historic building. She’s also uncertain about her future with her long-time boyfriend Elliot who has a business opportunity that could take him to Boston. Meanwhile, Michelle’s snowbound fiancée might not make it back to Evergreen in time for their wedding. Oh, and Hannah’s sister is none too happy their widowed father has started dating again.
It’s a lot to juggle all at once and most of these plots don’t really take shape until almost halfway into the movie. If the movie had either launched its storylines with a little more urgency or even streamlined the plots, then ‘Bells’ would have a bit more festive kick. But the unfortunate combination of a sluggish start and numerous storylines, that don’t really augment each other, leaves ‘Bells’ a little underwhelming. Luckily, the movie never really feel slow or uninteresting because ‘Bells’ spends a lot of time touching base with some of beloved characters, such as the town vet Allie (Ashley Williams) or her step-daughter (who has absent from the series since the first movie). With this fourth movie, ‘Evergreen’ now truly feels like a yearly check-in with some old friends, watching how they change, grow and mature – yet stay fundamentally the same great characters views adore.
Final verdict: While ‘Bells’ could benefit from some more focused storytelling, returning to Evergreen is practically a Christmas tradition at this point. The Countdown to Christmas just isn’t complete without the familiar red truck and the wonderful little town of Evergreen.
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