If you met Rachel—probably working away in her city-square bakery shop with a smile on her face and a bit of flour accidentally dabbed on her nose—you’d likely sigh and think: She’s so sweet. If on the other hand you met her always-running-late-and-completely-disorganized boyfriend, Gary, you’d wonder: Is he with her?!
Of course, if you wandered down the street a few blocks and into the nearby Tiffany’s store, you might see Ethan and his daughter, Daisy. And as a casual observer, you couldn’t help but smile about how great a guy he seems to be and what a bright, darling daughter he’s raising as a single dad.
My guess is you’d probably also make note of the fact that Ethan and Daisy were buying a sizable wedding ring in that high-end store. Yep, family changes are a-coming for Ethan and Daisy. And his fiancée, Vanessa, is flying in as we speak with expectations in tow.
But here’s where things get interesting.
For if you, friendly observer, stuck around outside Tiffany’s on that lovely New York City evening, you’d also catch sight of an accident. Gary, running late as usual, with a little blue Tiffany bag in hand, gets hit and knocked out cold by a city cab. And you’d see Ethan, with his own little Tiffany’s bag, run over to help.
Presto change-o, and the two men accidentally end up with the wrong bags. Ethan’s holding a pair of earrings. And Gary’s … well, he wakes with a memory-fogging concussion and gift for Rachel that he definitely doesn’t remember buying.
Rachel, Gary, Ethan, Daisy and Vanessa won’t all be spending Christmas together. But their gift giving will be filled with surprises and soon draw them together in another way.
And so, our story begins.
When Rachel and Ethan first meet, it’s instantly clear that they have a lot in common. They talk easily, and soon Rachel is encouraging Ethan in his goals as a writer and a dad. In turn Ethan is kind, willing to help anyone in need at the drop of a hat: He’s just an all-around good man. (All of the above being traits that aren’t as evident with Rachel and Ethan’s current significant others.) And though they both hang back from admitting their attraction and connection—being caring people who don’t want to hurt anyone—they eventually can’t ignore the obvious.
Even Daisy recognizes the easy grace between her dad and Rachel. And she does everything she can to support her dad. Rachel’s best friend and business partner, Terri, also goes out of her way to support her friend.
Amid their conversations, Rachel and Ethan talk about the positive aspects of failing. They both failed at their first major endeavors: his, a failed book; hers, a failed restaurant. And without those stumbles, they would never have learned what to do right the next time. Rachel also encourages Ethan to follow the things he’s passionate about and to be less analytical about everything he attempts.
Rachel has a moving heart-to-heart talk with Daisy about the pain of losing a parent (both have lost their moms) and how to positively remind yourself of the love and connection you once had.
During Christmas well-wishes, Rachel lets Ethan know that she’s Jewish. She still celebrates Christmas with friends, however.
Rachel gets dressed for a special dinner and wears a very low-cut and somewhat skimpy dress. And when Daisy first meets Rachel, who’s wearing that dress, she wonders if Rachel is a stripper.
Though we don’t see either couple in bed, it’s implied that both of them (Rachel and Gary; Ethan and Venessa) are sleeping together. Venessa walks out one morning dressed in low-cut silk pajamas.
Rachel and Ethan kiss a couple times. Rachel’s friend Terri is a lesbian with a live-in partner; the two women kiss twice on screen. Someone talks about seeking out a random hookup.
Gary is hit by a car while walking across a crosswalk. We don’t see the impact, but we do see Gary unconscious on the ground. Ethan and others move to help him. Later, Gary is in a hospital bed, but reportedly suffers from simple scrapes and bruises, along with a slight concussion and some short-term memory loss.
There are eight uses of the s-word and three or four uses each of “a–,” “d–n” and “h—.” “Oh my god” is exclaimed five times.
People drink beer, wine and champagne on several celebratory occasions. Ethan and Rachel share a spiked hot cocoa. An entire restaurant of patrons toasts a marriage proposal at one point.
Gary’s brother is characterized as a guy who loves the drunken party life. He asks if Gary wants to go out and get “ripped.”
Gary’s not a bad guy, for the most part. But we eventually learn that he has lied and perhaps been a bit manipulative of Rachel in the past. He’s the kind of boyfriend who always asks for second chances to “do better,” but never seems to make the needed improvement.
It’s fairly easy to recite the typical “Romantic Christmas Movie” recipe. Strangers meet, strangers click. Then these now not-so-strangers go their separate ways. Let simmer. And then bring it all to a boil on or about Christmas. Put a sprig of holly on top and you have a movie.
Something from Tiffany’s doesn’t stray far from that proven holiday formula. And the story we get is mostly satisfying—with a few exceptions worth noting.
For one thing, it has a contemporary, premarital-sex-is-A-OK worldview to be aware of. We also get the seemingly obligatory nod to a same-gender relationship as well—complete with a couple of kisses (though things never go beyond holding hands or a quick smooch).
And, second, you’re going to encounter some s-word-littered language. But nothing more than many other PG-rated pics that spend their time romping romantically through New York City.
What this pic has in its favor, though, are a pair of leads you’ll care about and wish you knew. A father-daughter relationship worth cheering for. Christmas conundrums that lead to tender amour. And a happy pair dedicating themselves to marital love and a ready-made family.
Oh, and a Merry Christmas, too!
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.