Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe: My Viewing Experience

This year I inaugurated the holiday season by watching Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe. I did it for you, Bitches. And also because I was a guest on The Bubbly Sesh podcast, where we watched then discussed this movie.

Rest assured, the following is not a review. How would I even grade this? No, the following is simply a recap of my viewing experience, which involved two kids, my very close friend Liz S., and her dog.

Our story begins with Darcy Fitzwilliam, an investment manager person at a prestigious firm in New York City. She immediately establishes her credentials as a Good Person by giving a Christmas present to the guy who sells coffee from a cart outside her office. She then offers to manage his money for him even though he doesn’t meet the firm’s “minimum investment requirements.”

By the way, this movie claims to be based on the book Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, which I reviewed last year. However, we have already deviated from the book because this Darcy is a sweet little gumdrop who already knows all about the value of family, unlike the materialistic Darcy from the book. So just forget about the book and move on, and certainly forget about the original Pride and Prejudice, which this movie has absolutely no resemblance to aside from names.

Darcy goes home to help her mom put together the annual Pemberley charity something or other. I was very confused by this event. It is held every year at the Fitzwilliam home and involves a caterer and some sort of fundraising thing and people dancing to a jazz string group. I rather like jazz string groups but never in my life have I seen people dance to one until I saw this movie. Lemme tell ya, those rich White people sure know how to party and by party I mean wear uncomfortable clothes and dance by stepping from side to side.

Luke and Darcy hugging
Luke and Darcy, totes adorbs

But I digress – we don’t get to watch White people dance awkwardly until much later. First there are the crises. The caterer cancels but luckily Luke, the tall, handsome owner of a new restaurant has the time and resources to plan and deliver an entire menu (“classics with a contemporary twist!”) in just a few days. The mom gets an idea to auction off trees decorated by “professional designers.” Then the designer quits so they have to find a new designer.

I have questions. Why does this year have to be the best year ever? Does the mom do anything besides look at her phone? Is she really texting people or just playing Candy Crush? Are designer (not “themed” but “professionally designed”) trees a thing? Above all, why do the Fitzwilliamses decide to promote the fact that the charity auction is raising money for an actual charity (The Pemberley Youth Center) at the last minute, as a way to save the event, as if this is an amazing twist and not something everyone would do? Why? What is happening?

At about this point Liz S.’s dog, who had been delivering very high quality doggie snuggles throughout, sensed my distress, jumped onto my lap, and kissed my face with such vigor that I thought I might actually drown. It was gross, yet therapeutic, like CPR. Good doggie.

me, on the couch, with the dog, half asleep
In a Hallmark stupor. Note Good Dog.

Once again I must back up to explain that Darcy wants some space from her boyfriend. They are “on a break.” Believe me when I say that there is no romantic triangle here because poor what’s his name is almost invisible. Luke Bennet, on the other hand, was on debate team with Darcy back in high school and they engage in what I assume is witty banter. It was hard to tell if the banter was witty or not because Liz S. and I were mesmerized by Luke’s perfect teeth. The children debate whether Luke is a robot or whether the sound is just slightly out of sync with the actor’s mouths. My money was on robot.

For a restaurant owner and chef who has just offered to cater a major event in a few days time, Luke has a lot of time on his hands and he and Darcy have heart-to-heart talks while they collect trees and decorate the house and have snowball fights. Every now and then Darcy ducks her head bashfully and Luke crinkles his nose. If you were programming a robot to act like a person, this is the exact kind of facial expression you might program it to make. I’m just sayin’.

Luke and Darcy realize that they are under mistletoe

Darcy’s brother shows up with his pregnant wife. She’s not showing yet but claims that she can’t put a star on the mid-sized family tree because she can’t lift anything or climb anything. These are unusually strict rules (not anything heavy, but rather “anything” at all). Is it a medically risky pregnancy? Liz S. and I are concerned. Later I catch her (the pregnant woman, not Liz S.) carrying around a margarita. Maybe she’s holding it for someone else. Who am I to judge?

Darcy is pensive. Perhaps she, too, should produce little Fitzwilliamses and not be allowed to lift light objects or climb short stepladders? Or should she focus on career instead? Oh God, the suspense. Liz S. has to calm me down by showing me that her TARDIS tree topper lights up. Truly, it’s glorious. Liz S. and I hope the movie is almost over, because it’s now 9:30PM on a Friday night and we want to go to sleep which may be the saddest thing I’ve ever typed. Our respective offspring, are, of course, bouncing up and down critiquing Darcy’s party dress and makeup (“wrong shade of lipstick,” my teen informs me) and begging for a sleepover which, I regret to inform you, they did not get.

Ultimately, all ends as it should. A local business owner designs the trees. Luke and Darcy talk about how hard they’ve had to work in life despite being White, attractive, well-connected, well-educated, healthy, cis-gender, and rich, and then they successfully raise money for the poor children of the Youth Center. The Youth Center, I shit you not, has a youth choir of grateful and humble ethnically diverse kids that performs at the party, thanks to a flash of genius from Luke. “They could perform at the party!” he says, in the same tone I might use to say, “I’ve fixed global warming!”

Darcy and Luke have a misunderstanding that is quickly resolved when he thinks Darcy and on-a-break guy are getting back together:

“Luke ran out!” someone tells a horrified Darcy. “He was very upset!”

“And then the murders began!” said no one in the movie.

But that would have been a good twist, don’t you think? In my mind this movie is about a killer robot. Maybe Hallmark is saving that idea for the sequel. Call me, Hallmark.

Darcy and Luke resolve the misunderstanding and kiss beneath the mistletoe. Surprisingly, the kiss does not happen in a gazebo, but it does happen under a trellis which is almost as good. Darcy decides to leave her investment firm and represent people who don’t meet her ex-firm’s minimum investment requirements. Liz S.’s daughter and my daughter declare that they are sisters (with each other, not sisters with Darcy) and that therefore Liz S. and I are also sisters and so are our respective dogs. This seems to me to be legit and legally binding and more plausible and heartwarming than anything in the movie.

I have a soft spot for Hallmark and I find some of their offerings to be charming, but this was not their best effort. Should you choose to watch it, here are some tips:

  1. Have a sip of eggnog every time someone says “Minimum” or “minimums.”
  2. Have another sip anytime a character is seen holding an obviously empty mug.
  3. Chug every time Luke wrinkles his nose.
  4. Every time Darcy says she’s unsatisfied sing a least one line from the song “Satisfied” from Hamilton.
  5. Weep copiously every time Luke and Darcy appear oblivious to White privilege.



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