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Movie Review: ‘A Holiday Engagement’ stars Bonnie Somerville and Jordan Bridges

Photo credit: Tim Johnson Productions

“A Holiday Engagement” (2011, Rated G), reviewed by Jennifer Anne F. Messing. What do you do when your fiancé dumps you one week before the family’s big Thanksgiving dinner? City-girl Hillary Burn’s (Bonnie Somerville’s) perfect life is shattered when her ambitious lawyer boyfriend, Jason King (Chris McKenna) tells her she was a “mistake,” and she finds herself going through another devastating life change at exactly the same time. Depressed and sad, Hillary doesn’t have the courage nor strength to face her family on Thanksgiving Day, especially her overbearing mother, Meredith Burns (Shelley Long) who’s thought all along that Jason is the perfect man for her daughter.

Jordan Bridges and Bonnie Somerville. Photo credit: Tim Johnson Productions

At the suggestion of her friend, Sophie, Hillary hires a fake fiancé, David (Jordan Bridges) to come home with her for Thanksgiving weekend. The two meet in person a few days later, discuss plans, and meet the next morning to drive together to Hillary’s family’s home. Naturally, there is quite a bit of awkwardness when they arrive at the Burn’s home, as they face guests, and make various unexpected—even comedic blunders. Despite the unique and many-times strained circumstances they find themselves in, Hillary and David find some common ground and begin to forge a sweet friendship. As they celebrate on Thanksgiving Day, and throughout the rest of the holiday weekend, Hillary and David arrive at new realizations about what’s really important in life, and what isn’t. Interestingly enough, at the same time, Hillary’s mom, dad, and sisters also learn priceless lessons about how to release family members from unrealistic expectations and offer unconditional love and support instead. What a great reminder of what we read in Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Holy Bible, NIV) Viewers will enjoy the heartwarming conclusion. A Holiday Engagement, directed by Jim Fall, is a bright, contemporary film that speaks on the themes of finding true love, parent’s expectations, family loyalty, forgiveness, and new beginnings. The dialogue is crisp, well-paced, and punctuated by moments of intense comic relief in many instances.

Bonnie Somerville and Jordan Bridges shine in their lead roles as Hillary and fake fiancé, David. Both tender sensitive and realistic, witty yet sweet portrayals of 30-something millennials desiring to honor family relationships and traditions, and find lifelong love. Shelley Long is totally believable as Mrs. Burns, the perfectionist Mother Hen, in her element at the helm of the family’s gatherings and social life. A Holiday Engagement (available on Netflix and Hallmark channels), is an entertaining romantic comedy sure to bring your family much laughter and festive fun. Grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and enjoy!


Movie Trailer: “A Holiday Engagement” stars Bonnie Somerville and Jason Bridges

Comedy/Romance/Family Drama. Rated G. Appropriate for family viewing. 1h 37 min. Tim Johnson Productions (2011), directed by Jim Fall. Photo credits: Tim Johnson Productions.

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Portland, Oregon residents can avail of an online stream of, A Holiday Engagement (2011) from the Multnomah County Library, tel. 503-988-5234.



Jennifer Anne Fabregas Messing is a 2018 Cascade Award Winner (“Published Short Story”), freelance author, poet, and speaker who has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Religious Education. A past president of the Oregon Christian Writers, she has authored three books and more than 200 articles, short stories, and poems published in 60 magazines, including: The Storyteller, The Gem, LIVE, Evangel, FellowScript, and The Proverbs 31 Woman. Originally from the Philippines, Jennifer Anne and her husband have three grown children and reside in Oregon, USA.

Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. Get information about her two award-winning books, Morning's Promise: Poetic Moments in His Presence and Everlasting Love: Romantic Vignettes for a Woman’s Heart on this website, on Amazon and Barnes&Noble online.

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