To the Hallmark movie critics: stop hating on romance

Cheesy meet-cutes warrant heart-warming, not ridicule

The romance movies attract successful stars, yet are frequently belittled.
Photo: 

Hallmark movies have a reputation. Unfortunately, unlike Christmas trademarks like Elf and It’s a Wonderful Life, that reputation isn’t particularly favourable. The question is: why?

By nature, Hallmark movies are cheesy, predictable, and often lack substance. There’s usually a small town, or a Christmas on the brink of disaster, or maybe even a guy and girl who fall in love despite first hating each other’s guts.

Despite recruiting successful actors like Jared Padalecki, Meghan Markle, and Chad Michael Murray, Hallmark movies are often looked down upon, primarily because the romance is so far-fetched.

So what? Despite their unrealistic meet-cutes, Hallmark movies leave viewers with the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with watching people fall in love. The franchise has somehow managed to create thousands of movies on this single subject—with completely different storylines and characters in each. That’s something to be admired.

Given the isolation of the pandemic and the uncertain future ahead of us, having light, fun content to watch is more important than ever. Just because you watch and enjoy Hallmark holiday movies doesn’t mean you can’t also laugh at the absurdity of the onscreen situations. In fact, that can make the viewing experience all the more entertaining.

Hallmark movies provide comfort, yet they receive so much ridicule. We see this phenomenon of people hating on cheesy, romantic stories not just in the Christmas movie sphere, but in literature, too.

Chicklit—a term coined for literature appealing primarily to women—is often characterized by overly romantic, romcom-esque novels. Even though these types of books boom in the publishing industry, they’re often not considered “real” literature. Hallmark movies are criticized in a similar light.

That’s no coincidence. Anything associated with appealing to women, particularly in a romantic capacity, is rarely taken seriously. Many crude comedic films which appeal more to audiences of men often receive praise despite the lack of serious subject matter—even if their plots, much like Hallmark movies, are horribly unrealistic.

You don’t have to like Hallmark movies. You don’t ever need to lay your eyes on one if you don’t want to. But that doesn’t mean you can look down on the movies as somehow lesser than other types of film.

A more valid criticism would be to call out the lack of diversity in the films. Most Hallmark movies feature white, heterosexual couples, though this has improved slightly in recent years. That said, Hallmark has a long way to go before it can ever consider their content truly diverse.

Questions of diversity are valid; bashing Hallmark movies simply because their meet-cutes aren’t engaging enough for you isn’t.

To all the Hallmark movie haters out there: let us holiday romance-lovers live. Regardless of storyline, the best movies are the ones that make their viewers feel something. Where Hallmark movies lack substance, they make up in heart and emotion—and that’s what really counts.

Tags: 

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.