When a singer gets stuck in a small town, she finds the family she has always longed for. Brooke Shields stars in Holiday Harmony on HBO Max. Here's my review, and a look at the story, and cast.
The Story of Holiday Harmony
Gail (Annelise Cepero) is a traveling singer. She lives out of her van and travels the US playing one gig after another. Anxious for her big break, she submits a video to an iHeart radio contest. When she gets the news that she won a spot to perform at their Christmas Eve show, she hits the road to make it to Los Angeles in time.
When an alpaca causes an accident that wrecks her precious van “Jewel”, she is stuck in the tiny town of Harmony Springs, Oklahoma. The auto shop owner Van (Brooke Shields) finds Gail on the side of the road and takes her back to her shop. Her son Jeremy (Jeremy Sumpter) is the mechanic who will fix Gail's van.
With only $500 to her name and a $2,500 bill to fix her car, Gail heads out to the local bar to compete in their pass the hat karaoke night. Everyone puts money into the hat and the winner of the competition wins the pot. Blown away by her performance, Jeremy comes up with another way for her to earn money while she is in town.
Jeremy puts Gail in charge of running a music program for kids. The children are getting ready for an upcoming Christmas concert, and need a music teacher to help them get ready. It's a special program to Jeremy since it was started by his brother.
Gail loves being part of this community. Everyone in the small town welcomes her and makes her feel right at home. As someone who grew up in the foster care system and has spent her life on the road, this is a new feeling for her. She isn't used to people caring for her, and helping her.
Holiday Harmony Cast
In addition to Annelise, Jeremy, and Brooke, Holiday Harmony has a great supporting cast. All of the children in the movie are a lot of fun. And, Carla Jimenez is full of southern charm and hospitality as Rachael.
Real life iHeartMedia radio host Amy Brown and radio DJ Sisanie have small roles in the movie as well. Amy Brown is the one who helps Gail realize what's important in life and also helps her realize that she has to stay true to who she is. In an industry where everyone wants to control you, you have to be strong and stick up for yourself.
Review of Holiday Harmony
I really enjoyed Holiday Harmony. I loved seeing Brook Shields on TV again and I thought that this was a fun role for her. While this is marketed as a Christmas movie, it's really a movie that you could watch anytime. Yes, Gail is heading to Los Angeles for a Christmas Eve performance. And, the children are singing in a Christmas concert. But other than that, there isn't much Christmas-y stuff in the movie. Which was perfectly fine with me.
The Verdict: Pitch-Perfect. What a treat to listen to Annelise sing. I didn't watch West Side Story, so I wasn't familiar with her beautiful voice. Holiday Harmony does a great job of weaving beautiful music into the story. Aside from the song that she sings at the Christmas Eve performance, all of the other music in the movie is not Christmas related. So this ties into my comment above about it being a movie that you can watch anytime.
This is not like a Hallmark movie where they stuff in Christmas activities. This movie can stand on its own without adding Christmas fluff. It's a movie about living. About living your dream, but recognizing that the path to get there may change along the way. And, being open to let love into your heart. That we can't live in sadness, or grief. Instead, live life surrounded by family, and friends who will always be there.