We're not professional movie critics. We don't watch much television and, as far as I know, this is the first time I've ever watched anything on Lifetime. However, we do have a special perspective to share about The Christmas Contract.
This was a movie about family and Christmas...and they nailed it.
My wife and I watched the movie with our daughters and their families. We all watched each scene in breathless anticipation. With every chair and sofa spot occupied, the little ones were spread out on the floor with blankets and pillows. We paused, replayed and paused again to point out specific details; even the 6-year olds were focused and engaged.
This unusual behavior is explained by the fact that we were watching the movie in the same living room where Jolie showed Jack the Christmas tree ornaments. As our youngest granddaughter (whose middle name is Jolie) cried out when Tim, Jolie, and Jack first drove up to the Guidry family home, "That's Nana and Poppy's house!"
Like most people, we had never anticipated anything like this. Our home was taken over by strangers, lots of them. We were simultaneously excited and dreadful; we built this home with meticulous attention to detail, and now someone was rearranging furniture and taking pictures off the walls. We weren't as much concerned about physical damage as we were about how our home was to be portrayed and the quality of the movie in which it was to be featured.
The outcome could not be more pleasant. Monika Mitchell (director) did a fantastic job molding the actors and the settings to represent a credible reality. We could see ourselves in every situation including playing games on the back porch, making breakfast for visitors, and sharing meals with extended family and friends at the dining room table. Seeing Cheryl Ladd and Bruce Boxleitner with their movie family in our home seemed perfectly natural. The actors were all amazingly approachable and engaging. Hilarie Burton is as genuine as you might hope, and as far as I could tell, there was no difference between the character and the person. Our only regret is that, as hosts, we weren't able to visit and get to know all of them properly.
As natives to Lafayette and the surrounding area, we're also wary of fake accents and hokey stereotypes. Nothing was exaggerated. Downtown Lafayette has quiet streets, cafés, a cathedral, and a courthouse. Joel Robideaux is really the mayor and his accent is 100% Lafayette. Acadian Village is a real treat and we encourage all of our visiting friends to check it out. Rocky's accent was a little heavy, but I know lots of guys with the same.
And to address a prior reviewer's comment; yes, the cicadas are really that loud and this isn't "the South", it's Lafayette.
Biased as it may be, our opinion is that the movie is a home run. This is a Christmas event our family will share for years to come and we sincerely hope you will too.
Roy and Vickie Couvillion
P.S. Sincere thanks to the producer, Daniel Lewis, for the opportunity to share our home with the Lifetime audience, and to the crew members and staff for their professionalism, their respect and their camaraderie.