I accidentally discovered the lure of Hallmark movies this summer during a family vacation when two of my boys — I won’t embarrass them by printing their names — became hooked.
They loved the humor, twists, and plots.
And I appreciated Hallmark’s family-friendliness. The films we watched contained no coarse language or sexuality, and I could enjoy them without diving for the remote.
Not surprisingly, other streaming platforms are getting in on the action. Netflix released two Hallmark-like movies in 2017 and 2018 — “A Christmas Prince” and “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” — and dropped a third film in the series Dec. 5: “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby.”
None of the three were made by Hallmark, but you likely can’t tell much difference.
“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” follows the story of Queen Amber of the fictional Aldovia as she prepares to give birth to her firstborn. Meanwhile, her husband, Prince Richard, is preparing to renew a historic peace treaty with another kingdom, Penglia. The plot takes a turn when the peace treaty is lost — and if it isn’t found, the two nations will again be at war.
It’s rated TV-PG but contains no coarse language or sexuality/sensuality (minus a handful of brief kisses). A subplot about a “curse” related to the treaty is the only caveat.
“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” (TV-PG) probably won’t win any awards, but it’s already won the attention of my oldest son, who enjoyed it. It contains what make Hallmark movies so great: happy stories, optimism, and love.
And if “The Royal Baby” isn’t your thing, then head over to the Hallmark Channel, which is releasing 24 new Christmas-themed movies this holiday season.
Also worth streaming this month:
“The Two Popes” (Netflix) — It’s a half-true, half-fictionalized story of a meeting between Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) and Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), who later became Pope Francis. Although the meeting apparently never took, the movie drew its inspiration from key differences between the two men. It’s entertaining and educational. Dec. 20.
“Broken” (Netflix) — It’s a four-part documentary that takes a critical look at the production of four products: plastics, makeup, vaping, and disposable furniture. It challenged my beliefs, even if I didn’t agree with everything that was said. Rated TV-14. It entered the lineup in November.
“Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi” (Disney Plus) — It’s the Star Wars movie that fans either loved or hated, and it had more big twists than an episode of 24. On Dec. 26, it moves from Netflix to Disney. It’s rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence. It also includes minor language.
“Wonder Park” (Hulu, Prime) — A young girl loses but then rediscovers her joy for life — and creativity — after her mom becomes sick. Rated PG for some mild thematic elements and action. Dec. 30.
“Secret Life of Pets 2” (Netflix) — City dogs Max and Duke (and their friends) learn about life in the country. The film spotlights the unique bond between pets and children and is even better than its predecessor. Rated PG for some action and rude humor. (It also contains one “p—ed.”) Dec. 27.