Let It Snow REVIEW – Love Actually For Young Adults
Let It Snow is an adaptation of a 2008 collection of novella-like stories, with contributions from John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myrackle. The premise of the collection is a simple one: 1 location, 3 stories, and lots of snow. Don’t expect a faithful adaptation of the collection though. Some of the narratives have been modified, mainly to remove the cheating element that was a bigger part in some of the stories, and of course social media has more of a presence here – it is 2019, after all.
In the book, the stories are separate and distinct from each other, but in the movie, all the stories overlap, so we start with Tobin (Mitchell Hope) and Angie’s (Kiernan Shipka) story, then we jump to Stuart (Shameik Moore) and Julie’s (Isabela Merced) meeting on the train, and so on. I like the overlapping narratives, especially since the film medium allows for such exploration. It also makes it easier to overlook the weaker stories, since the stronger more compelling characters are naturally given more narrative space.
Stuart and Julie take up the bulk of the film, and theirs is actually the story I enjoyed the most. It helps that the young actors who play these characters emote decently, not to mention they come across as authentic and real. These aren’t the young adults of Riverdale or Gossip Girl, they actually feel like young people I would find in the real world, with legitimate young people problems, like balancing commitment between self and family, coming to terms with one’s sexuality, handling the leap from friendship to romance etc. This deft handling of young adult struggles and challenges is the aspect of Let It Snow that I connected with the most.
Even minor characters have proper motivations, like Keon (Jacob Batalon), who wants to throw a kick-ass party because he wants to show off his credibility as a DJ, and the party doesn’t feel R-rated or scandalous, with young people getting wasted or sexing about. And even characters like Joan Cusack’s tinfoil lady, who is weird and kooky and not someone we get a whole lot of insight to – there is an innate understanding of her role in the movie. Everything fits and has its purpose.
What didn’t work for me as much is the quickness of the resolution of certain conflicts. I mean, I guess it’s Christmas and it’s snowing, but moving from fighting to the confessing of love on rooftops does feel a bit much. And some of the dialogue uttered is a major cringe fest, maybe because the words and sentiment are quite beyond the delivery of the young actors involved. I get that it’s a Christmas romance movie, but I shouldn’t be dying from the saccharine of it all.
The second thing that counts against Let It Snow is that it feels like a rather run-of-the-mill Christmas movie. I can state with certainty that years from now people will still be talking about Love Actually, which has quite the talented ensemble, even if the stories are cheesy and sometimes a tad unbelievable. Let It Snow doesn’t have enough striking moments to incite me to rewatch it again. So yes, it is a cute movie, has some decent performances, and has tons of snow. However, it doesn’t have enough Christmas romance gravitas to earn a spot on my Christmas list.
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Let It Snow offers enough feel-good moments to provide a good start to the Netflix Christmas romance season, but none of these moments are striking enough to incite any sense of longevity.
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