The Holiday Calendar is Netflix’s lesser known new holiday movie for 2018. It plays a third fiddle to The Christmas Chronicles and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding. As a matter of fact, it took me awhile to even find the movie in Netflix’s menu system. I almost had to do a title search for it, which is a terrible way to advertise your new shows.
Kat Graham plays Abby, a struggling photographer. (I’m not really sure why she’s “struggling.” She has a job taking pictures.) Abby’s best friend, Josh (Quincy Brown), has been traveling the world as a travel photographer and now he’s moving back home. During some time with her family, Abby’s grandfather (Ron Cephas Jones) gives Abby an antique advent calendar that used to be her grandmother’s. Every day, a new door on the calendar magically opens, giving her a small toy. Amazingly, the toys seem to be telling her future for that particular day. Abby follows the clues, thinking it is leading her to the handsome doctor, Ty (Ethan Peck), as a love interest. But Abby’s fate lies in another direction.
I’ve been a bit of a fan of Kat Graham’s acting since she was on the CW series, The Vampire Diaries. Unfortunately, Calendar doesn’t really give her anything to work with. Her character is literally led around the plot and still manages to get everything wrong. The photography thing is supposed to be super important but doesn’t feel like it. Abby talks about wanting to open her own studio and how much she loves photography. Yet she doesn’t do anything to work on making her art better or trying to network. She gets a job photographing the mayor’s family only because her boss and her sister put her in positions to get noticed. Abby doesn’t do anything on her own to make her dreams happen. Life just happens to her. And that is boring.
It’s sad that Calendar had a great premise but was so badly executed. I would love to see a movie with a magical advent calendar with a protagonist that actually did something. What we have been given is nothing but a boring waste of time and talent.