Christmas At the Chalet Review: Midlife Self Discovery Outshines a Sparkless Romance

Spoilers

Who wouldn’t want to spend Christmas at the Chalet?

Teri Hatcher was lovely to experience in a film like this, and frankly, it’s so refreshing to have films exploring women in their 50s versus the usual fare of 20s-30s.

Much like A Christmas Spark, following along with a “middle-aged” love story was most enjoyable.

It’s also a sign that in all the ways the network has been diversifying its content, it’s especially making some tailor-made projects that cater to the exact age demographic that likely tunes in for Lifetime and its Christmas slate most.

As a fan favorite, Teri Hatcher is a great person to helm a film like this.

She has that quirky leading woman quality that makes you always root for her, something she exuded well during her Desperate Housewives days.

In many ways, Christmas at the Chalet could’ve taken things further and in a different direction by not bothering with the romance.

Instead, it could’ve fully committed to its central story of a middle-aged divorcee rediscovering her desires and forging a new path in life now that she’s not tied to a husband or taking care of her child anymore.

Something particularly notable about Christmas at the Chalet was that the romance felt like second nature. It almost felt like it was an afterthought to Lex’s journey to finding herself.

And that’s nice, great even, but because there wasn’t much emphasis on the romance, it felt forced by the end of the film.

Lex’s trope-filled realization in the final couple of minutes of the film led her to chase after Eric before the adorable misunderstanding, expression of feelings, and kiss felt obligatory.

It was as if it hit them at the film’s end that it was supposed to be a Christmas romance, so they tied up loose ends.

Lex Riley was a delightful protagonist. You could tell she was at a stage of her life where she was trying to figure out her next act.

She had the misfortune of being in the public eye in the aftermath of her divorce and typical societal norms; it was deemed “shameful” that her ex-husband had already moved on with a woman 20 years his junior, not even six months after he and Lex called it quits.

The media sensation aspect of this tended to fall to the background shortly after the first act, but it was mostly a tool to push Lex toward the Chalet and drive the plot of her kicking off her own social media influencer career.

Thankfully, the film takes a more subtle and fun approach to this woman’s foray into becoming an influencer. They didn’t make a joke out of the particular profession or show the obnoxious nature of it we too often see.

George had his initial ideas about what his mother could do. Still, once he realized that she found her own niche and that people tuned into her content for her honesty and relatability, particularly as a 50-year-old single divorcee and empty-nester, he learned to leave well enough alone.

It was also nice that they didn’t make some colossal joke out of Lex becoming a chalet person.

She wasn’t the woman who thought the job was beneath her until she learned a valuable lesson about service and hard, honest work ethics.

No one looked down on her in the least for her taking on the task, even if they thought it was odd initially that she did.

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And her rapport and how easily she fell into sync with the rest of the employees at the Chalet was nothing short of endearing.

Her interactions with the precocious Aurelie were some of the sweetest, cutest moments of the film, and dear Mila Jones was nothing short of a scene stealer any time she appeared.

It was particularly precious that Lex built such a strong friendship and dynamic with Nicola, given that she’d be part of the secondary romance with Lex’s son, George.

It’s always nice when the mother and girlfriend get along, right? In this instance, Lex was friends with Nicola before she and George became a thing, which made it all the better.

Lex was genuinely fun as she was vulnerable with her followers about how awkward it felt to essentially tag onto a family trip to spend the holidays with her son.

She was honest right out the gate about how she’d become the chalet girl in exchange for a room and made the best out of it, becoming some new rendition of a Martha Stewart.

Her interactions with her viewers as she showed off cute little tips about folding sheets and napkins captured her personality well, and it was no wonder she was endearing to the fanbase.

And given that she apparently came from the background of serving as a reporter, it seemed like a natural segue for her to get back out there publically with her own control over her image.

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It also meant that it was easy for her to garner viewers and amass a fanbase because of her own past and her marriage to a popular newscaster.

On her own, Lex was a beaming light and fun to watch. She took to everything with such gusto that you admired her for always being so positive and willing to make lemonade out of lemons.

She had the type of infectious charisma and personality that appealed to everyone around her.

Lex was the main character in her story, which translated well, almost too well.

The other characters were mostly there for show, someone for her to play off of whenever it was required. And while we’re at, Christmas as a theme was handled similarly. It felt more like a ski resort film than a specific holiday one.

We were told about the closeness Lex shared with her son, but we didn’t see much of it, not as much as one would expect, given he was the reason she committed to this Aspen trip in the first place.

Charles was there to be hot and attempt to lure her back into a relationship, but even that mostly fell flat. Lex deserved 1000% better than Charles, but he didn’t seem convincing when attempting to rekindle things with her.

It felt like he was going through the motions just because, so for the sake of contributing to this conflict between her and Eric, it was serviceable, but overall, meh.

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It never even felt within the realm of possibility that Lex would ever take her ex-husband seriously about possibly rekindling things. And he didn’t even do the best job of behaving as if that’s what his intentions were.

His girlfriend was a prop, but that also spoke to the shallow nature of their relationship overall. It wasn’t that deep for him, but he also didn’t mind sticking it out with her when it was clear he and Lex wouldn’t be a thing after all.

How he abandoned Lex on the slopes was so frustrating, but if that’s what it took for her to remember how much of a self-absorbed jerk he was, then so be it.

Even without that final act of Charles’ insensitivity, it was apparent from the beginning that Eric was the better choice.

The issue is that Eric was the better choice if one had to be made.

There was nothing wrong with William deVry as a romantic lead. He was handsome and charming if we exclude that initial cab fiasco, and he balanced Hatcher/Lex out.

Teri Hatcher and Devry had a perfectly fine chemistry between them. But oddly enough, for the majority of the film, it just didn’t feel romantic.

Eric was an excellent friend to Lex. Most of their interactions felt like that of a platonic friendship. Even scenarios meant to be romantic felt more like two friends kicking it together who just so happened to be male and female.

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Eric was a bit reserved and closed off. He suppressed so much from the shift in direction regarding his aspirations about jetsetting to France or stepping up to take care of the Chalet and his niece.

Lex definitely lit a spark in him, loosened him up, and made him more open and vulnerable in a manner that he previously hadn’t been, according to all the other characters.

But their connection didn’t feel particularly romantic, even in those moments when it was apparent that he developed a fondness for her well before she realized it.

I expect nothing less from the dishy soap star serving up the pining well. Sure, he sold us on it in the end, in that way that we knew things would inevitably end in romance.

However, I can’t say that it was something you strongly and consistently felt throughout the movie. I didn’t have any investment in whether or not they would actually become a couple by the film’s end.

Eric was a supporting character in Lex’s big story, which is fine; hell, the entire Barbie movie has proven why that formula can work with our female protagonists being everything, and the males, well, they’re “just Ken.”

But Lex and Eric weren’t compelling as a romantic pairing. You didn’t yearn for them to get together or even squeal in delight when they got to the well-earned kiss, regardless of how steamy it was, because it didn’t feel like we earned it.

Things just fell into place because they were supposed to, and the script dictated it.

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Even their dinner was such an unusual conflict that it felt like a conversation among friends. Eric was seemingly putting feelers out about her being the woman he may have been looking for, while Lex seemed as if she didn’t even consider him as a romantic prospect at all.

When he spoke about Charles’ mistreatment, his genuine concern for her well-being was the equivalent of a great friend who is brutally honest with you about stuff you don’t want to hear.

When you consider the different types of chemistry among the leads, it makes you wonder if Lifetime could’ve been bold enough to nix the concept of romance altogether and leave it at what it was: Lex finding herself again after a divorce and meeting new friends.

Lex would’ve been the perfect character to do this with since they built the entire film around her, serving as an inspiration and relatable figure to single women over 40.

It was most rewarding to see her lean into being herself unapologetically.

Over to you, Lifetime Christmas Fanatics!

What did you think of Christmas at the Chalet?

Did you enjoy Teri Hatcher starring in a Christmas flick?

Were you feeling the heat between Lex and Eric? Hit the comments!

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You’ll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.

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