Young couple Hayley (Cora Kirk) and James (Asa Butterfield) suffer festive tragedy at the hands of the UK rail network in Jim O’Hanlon’s comfortingly familiar Christmas caper, Your Christmas Or Mine.
What is it they say about trains? You wait all year for a train, then they all get cancelled the day before Christmas eve, something like that?
Though the Great British public may harbour a deep and personal resentment of our decimated rail network, if our inability to get from Manchester to London without breaking either the bank or our brains has produced one net positive, it’s Amazon Prime’s latest Christmas jaunt. After all, Your Christmas Or Mine probably wouldn’t exist were our trains not in a state of perpetual crisis.
Starting out in an uncharacteristically festive-looking Marylebone Station, Hayley and James are returning home after their first term at university. After lamenting that they can’t spend Christmas with each other (“my mum would kill me,” she says) and climbing aboard their respective trains, they both independently attempt a lovely romantic gesture which results in both parties stranded with the wrong families over the Christmas period. What a palaver!
For James, this means he’s stuck up North in his opposite number’s packed (but delightfully cosy) house in the city. Hayley, on the other hand, is stuck in a miserable country mansion with Alex Jennings and Harriet Walter. Uh oh!
Will our star-crossed lovers make it home in time for turkey and crackers? Will some rich, grumpy so-and-sos learn the true meaning of Christmas? Will James share a jacuzzi with his girlfriend’s naked relatives? Of course they will! And they’ll have a whale of a time doing it.
Though every year we’re never really spoiled for Christmas flicks, not all of them can truly claim to be brimming with festive cheer. Your Christmas Or Mine does not have that problem. As the entertainingly simple setup might suggest, it’s not a film which is looking to set the Christmas pudding on fire. But a sharp script, committed performances and a rootable central couple go a long way, and the result is a really solidly made festive caper.
Tonally, it’s a tough line to walk, and it’s easy to see how this plot could translate into something either uninspired or overly schmaltzy. But O’Hanlon’s confident direction maintains entertainingly heightened performances from everyone throughout, and though the odd joke about dogs and electric fences (don’t ask) might fall slightly flat, the cast are all too lovely for us to mind that much.
The only possible exception could be Butterfield’s character, James, who winds up being a tad too curmudgeonly for my taste, especially when newcomer Kirk is so exceptionally charming (and just plain nice) opposite him as Hayley. But the fact that this so rarely gets in the way of Your Christmas Or Mine’s festive allure is a pretty ringing endorsement of how well the rest of the film works.
It might not be an instant Christmas classic, but Your Christmas Or Mine is a consistently enjoyable ride that jingles all the right bells. If you’re in need of some quality festive fun this year, you could do far worse than this.
Your Christmas Or Mine is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.
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