Ah, it’s November. You know what that means: it’s basically the Christmas season. While some people protest the early start to the winter holidays, others are happy to trade their Halloween costumes for candy canes and Santa hats.
Companies are more than happy to feed into this Christmas frenzy, and streaming service Netflix is no exception. They’ve already begun releasing Christmas and holiday-themed original movies for the season, one being Let It Snow.
Let It Snow is based on a YA novel of the same name written in three parts by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle. The book—and movie—weave together three main plotlines about teens falling in love.
The film is only 93 minutes long. It’s a sweet love story set in a small, snowy town in Illinois on Christmas Eve. I enjoyed the movie but thought some parts were better than others. To make sense of the plot that bobs and weaves between many perspectives, I’m going to divide my review into the subsets of couples and characters the movie focuses on.
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!
Tobin and The Duke (a.k.a. Angie) + JP
Unfortunately, this plotline was my least favorite in the movie. Tobin and his best friend Angie—whose nickname is “The Duke” because she’s “just one of the boys”—have been friends since they were five. Tobin is crushing on her but isn’t sure how to say it. He promises his friend Keon that he’ll tell her before the night is over, but his plans are foiled when Angie drags him to a party with college boy JP.
JP is hot, charming, sweet, and sensitive—and Tobin’s jealous of how well he and Angie get along. Long story short, this plotline felt very cliché to me: boy likes girl but won’t tell her, but gets jealous when she hangs with other boys, and then lashes out and acts like a jerk when she asks what’s wrong. Throughout the course of the movie, I liked Tobin less and less.
At the end of the movie, he finally confesses his feelings—and Angie admits she felt the same. Hooray! But not really, because their love story felt incomplete to me. There was not enough indication that Angie really liked Tobin. She treats Tobin like a bro while he’s tripping all over himself to be with her, but suddenly she does a complete 180 and loves him back. I wasn’t feeling it.
However, the good thing about these movies is that they aren’t supposed to be realistic. They’re supposed to be fun, sweet, and heartwarming, and Tobin and Angie’s story was that—even if Tobin was a little too whiny for my taste.
Addie and Jeb + Dorrie and Kerry
The next subplot in the movie is about best friends Addie and Dorrie. They are both having relationship troubles: Addie’s boyfriend Jeb is ignoring her texts and spending quality time with a girl on his debate team, and Dorrie’s old flame Kerry is pretending she doesn’t know her at the Waffle Town where Dorrie works. Dorrie spends most of the movie trying to understand why Kerry is being so distant one second and kissing her in the bathroom the next; Addie spends her time tracking down Jeb and coming to terms with his cold disposition.
Halfway through the movie, Addie and Dorrie get into a fight, and Addie storms out of the Waffle Town. Eventually, they both realize what they said was wrong and make up, solidifying their friendship. Addie is able to move on from Jeb (and meets the hunky JP!). Kerry admits to Dorrie that the reason she’s been so distant is because she isn’t out yet. She confesses her love to Dorrie, and they kiss—and Kerry’s dance team sees, cheering her on.
I quite enjoyed this plotline, although Addie got on my nerves at first (and I didn’t see how Dorrie could stand being her friend). This was intentional, however, to show Addie’s character arc and progression as she learns to be less self-centered. (Also, I need to visit Waffle Town and try the Quaffle Waffle with a glass of butterbeer. Dorrie should be a professional chef!)
Julie and Stuart
This is the plotline I loved the most! Julie, a hardworking high school senior who’s just been accepted into Columbia’s journalism school, has a meet-cute with 20-year-old singer Stuart Bale. When the train they’re on is stalled because of snow on the tracks, she begrudgingly takes Stuart to the Waffle Town for a bite to eat. Over the course of the day, they become close, admitting their complicated family histories and aspirations for something different in their lives. Julie and Stuart have a great dynamic, and their story is so endearing.
Since this, in my opinion, was the strongest of the three plots, I don’t want to say anything else—although I’m sure you can guess how this will end!
Overall, Let It Snow was a cute movie. It was good, not great. Would I watch it again? Maybe. But I’d much prefer a movie just about Julie and Stuart. I felt like their characters were the strongest developed from a writing standpoint because they had the most at stake.
My main problem with Let It Snow (besides Tobin’s…everything) was how much was crammed into such a short movie. Because three main stories had to fit in only 90 minutes, each couple gets only about 30 minutes of screen time, less if you count the time devoted to side characters like Billy, Keon, and Tin Foil Woman (yes, that’s the character’s legitimate name on IMDb and yes, she’s played by Joan Cusack).
I think Let It Snow would be stronger as a miniseries. Maybe Netflix could’ve used the Sherlock method and made three 90-minute episodes, one focusing on each set of characters. I love an ensemble cast as much as the next movie watcher, but I don’t want the love stories to feel rushed.
In my opinion, Let It Snow gets 3/5 Snowflakes on the Christmas Cheer Movie Scale. What did you think about the movie? What’s your favorite movie to watch during the holidays?