Lost at Christmas is a Scottish romantic comedy following two strangers that team up to try and get home for Christmas after finding themselves stranded in the Scottish highlands on Christmas Eve.
As a disclaimer, I am a major cynic when it comes to Christmas films and rarely ever find myself in getting into the Christmas spirit, unless it’s in the company of a bonafide Christmas classic (think Home Alone or Muppets Christmas Carol. And I’m afraid to say that Lost at Christmas is definitely not a Christmas classic.
Rob (Kenny Boyle) and Jen (Natalie Clark) have a horrific time on Christmas Eve as their respective relationships come to a rather unexpected end, and find themselves stranded at a train station in the Scottish highlands. One of the few things this film does well is the setting. It is without a doubt a beautiful looking film set in some amazing Scottish scenery and director Ryan Hendrick knows how to showcase the sheer beauty that’s on offer and does this very well. It’s just a shame the rest of the film doesn’t match up this. There are some (thankfully infrequent) attempts at CGI that are very poor, and there are some unusually shot scenes, the most notable being the bathroom scene and from outside of a car windscreen, that don’t really work. In addition to the landscapes, Hendrick seems to love arty closeups on the actors faces and I’m afraid these don’t work either.
The plot is your stereotypical Christmas romantic film – it is the only time of year where strangers would happily travel together through the middle of nowhere. Any other time of year and this would be a horror film. This isn’t the only unfathomable action either, there’s a lot of things that happen that seem completely bizarre and out of place. This may be because this is obviously a homegrown low budget offering that doesn’t have the Hollywood finances to make the bizarre seem a lot more believable. In Scotland, two strangers hating each other one minute and liking each other the next seems very out of place. Although the bickering between them in the first half an hour gets very tiresome very quickly, so it may have been for the best that they started liking each other quickly! There are at least a few laughs, although nowhere near what you’d expect from a film categorised as a romantic comedy.
One of the biggest issues with Lost at Christmas is the acting. I hate to be so cruel when it’s obviously a Scottish made film with local talent, but the acting on offer here is quite poor. There are some fairly heartwarming moments that are spoilt by a cliched script and some horrific acting. It seems to vary between overly exaggerated to having no feeling or emotion whatsoever, and it leaves you feeling unconvinced about any of the relationships that evolve. Sylvester McCoy is the only one who does well, as even Clare Grogan is hindered by some ridiculously overlarge glasses that are far too prominent in nearly every scene that she’s in.
Sadly though, Lost at Christmas’s biggest flaw is that for a Christmas film, it doesn’t feel very Christmassy. Despite being set at Christmas, with snow and mentions of Christmas at every opportunity, it is severely lacking in any Christmas spirit or emotions. Christmas films are meant to be overall a rather happy and festive experience, but Lost at Christmas feels rather dull and quite low spirited. And the music, whilst good, only serves to exacerbate the lack of Christmas spirit.
Anyone who likes Christmas films no matter what will likely find Lost at Christmas fairly enjoyable. However, to me, it was just a bit lost.
Lost At Christmas will be in UK Cinemas from 4th December and on Digital Download from 7th December
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