Back in 2012, when John Green was the number one man in every teenage girl’s life, adaptations of his works were begged for by fans. Fast forward to 2019, and Green’s books are often regarded as unrealistic, dreamgirl fantasies, the sappy love stories of annoying teenage girls written by a middle-aged man. 2014’s The Fault in Our Stars and 2015’s Paper Towns were large commercial successes, leading to the Looking For Alaska mini-series and now 2019’s Let It Snow. Based on a collaborative novel between Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle, it follows three separate pairings as they navigate troublesome relationships on Christmas Eve.
The novel and the film have some noticeable plot changes, with less focus on Jubilee’s (Julie in the film) parents’ obsession with Christmas miniatures and the subplot of the teacup pig, and more on current issues such as college and holiday season loneliness. While the film is arguably more relatable, it is less comedic than the book. There are some positive changes however, Liv Hewson and Anna Akana provide some queer representation, with Hewson’s character particularly an excellent example of an LGBTQ+ visibility that doesn’t feel forced or stereotyped. The subtlety of Akana’s character’s struggle with her queerness manages to be understandable but not saddening- it is Christmas after all. With an array of other popular young stars (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Kiernan Shipka and Spiderman’s Jacob Batalon to name but two) rounding up the stellar cast, the plot changes don’t entirely lessen the quality of the film thanks to the talent of the actors.
Let It Snow doesn’t shy away from discussing difficult topics, including family illness and breakups, but it also doesn’t skimp on the cheesiness either. A classic holiday romance, the pairings seem inevitable from their introduction, and the film is far from trope-free, with forbidden romance, seemingly unrequited love, and enemies to friends to lovers all in the space of 90 minutes. Far from crowded, the way that the stories blend together is impressive yet effortless. The film centres around the Waffle House restaurant and a series of friendships reminiscent of small-town closeness weave the plotlines together to form a happy ending for all as Christmas Eve draws to a close.For a book adaption, it holds its own against the source material despite the changes, and modernises it from the original 2008 release. As one of the better Christmas films on Netflix, this has the potential to be a new favourite for holiday romance fans. Sure, Let It Snow is predictable, and cheesy, and follows the same formula as every other romance film. But isn’t that exactly what we need at Christmastime?
Image Credit: Netflix