In 2018, Netflix delivered absolute slam dunks in the romantic-comedy department with gems such as Set It Up and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Even in a year that rebirthed sweeping romance films in a major way at the box office, these features stand out as lovely portrayals of youth and relationships that help resurrect a feel-good genre.
On the flip side of these sweet, if only mildly escapist, portraits of love, the mega streamer has concurrently fostered a rather curious line-up of films. Their considerably more over-the-top Christmas movies have been something else to behold over the last couple of years. Yet, as cheesy and basic, but weirdly self-referential as Netflix’s holiday fare is, films like The Christmas Prince, The Holiday Calendar, and The Princess Switch can be embraced as festive flicks with the potential to warm the soul.
Could the company now be planning to make the ultimate Christmas romance as their next holiday original? Netflix has announced via press release that they are in the process of making a star-filled adaptation of Let It Snow. The feature film will be directed by My Mad Fat Diary helmer Luke Snellin from a screenplay by Finding Dory‘s Victoria Strouse, who penned the latest draft of the script.
The filmmakers have a strong foundation to work from as well. Let It Snow will be based on the eponymous holiday-themed short story anthology spearheaded by some of the most notable voices in young-adult literature: John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle.
Additionally, the film will feature a huge ensemble cast of shining young stars and even a decidedly established icon. Netflix has secured the talents of Kiernan Shipka (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), Shameik Moore (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), Isabela Moner (Sicario: Day of the Soldado), Odeya Rush (Dumplin’), Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Miles Robbins (Halloween), Mitchell Hope (Descendants), Liv Hewson (Santa Clarita Diet), Anna Akana (You Get Me), and last but not least, rom-com royalty herself Joan Cusack (Working Girl).
Green, Johnson, and Myracle’s book was first commissioned to be made into a movie back in 2014, turning about development hell for the better part of five years. Snellin and producer Dylan Clark have been attached to the project since at least 2016. But finally, the time is right for Netflix to resurrect the project as it plans to start shooting in early 2019.
Let It Snow comprises three marginally intertwined stories unfolding on Christmas Eve when a “once-in-a-century snowstorm” hits the small town of Gracetown. This sudden event also irrevocably changes the lives and relationships of several high school seniors; kids who must contend with numerous challenges ranging from romance and friendship to personal growth.
Johnson’s “The Jubilee Express,” Green’s “A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle,” and Myracle’s “The Patron Saint of Pigs” collectively play into tropes and character types commonly found in contemporary YA fiction, including brash characters, ridiculous adventures, and complicated romances. Yet, the trio weaves an utterly charming wintry treat.
Johnson starts the journey off strong with lots of humor. Green’s trademark quirky storytelling then follows that engaging banter through with sweet relatability. Finally — and slightly unfortunately — Myracle delivers a patchier ending with a tough-to-love protagonist. However, there is a stark sense of vulnerability in her tale. Moreover, Myracle does converge each story of the anthology together for a satisfying conclusion.
As a collection of admittedly airy but undeniably delightful stories, Let It Snow provides a great basis for the kind of lighthearted movie we expected from the holiday season; something that ticks all the boxes of comforting and silly cinema. It’s a project of the hyperlink variety, fitting in among movies like Playing By Heart and the ever-controversial Love Actually.
And as proven by the above-mentioned films, captivating storytellers behind and in front of the camera are absolutely necessary in the fluffiest of romances in order to elevate the simple material to something more heartfelt and real. Let It Snow has certainly struck gold in finding the buzziest young actors who are frankly amazing at their jobs.
Shipka, Moore, Rush, Hewson, and Akana have each led acclaimed original Netflix properties to stellar results. Others like Batalon, Robbins, and Moner have hit big screens in huge ways. After stints on the Disney Channel in the Descendants franchise, Hope could have a real breakout opportunity in Let It Snow. Of course, Cusack is a gem to the comedy genre between Working Girl, In & Out, and the Toy Story sequels. Her penchant for playing the liveliest characters cannot be overstated.
I don’t ask for much when it comes to Christmas movies, but Let It Snow has all the right fixings for a truly commendable holiday experience. In a season where corniness is more or less acceptable in the name of heartfelt fun, I’m thankful that something genuinely good is primed to be made by this mashup of creative voices.