December is upon us, and with it comes Christmas cookies, awkward dinners with relatives and, if lucky, snow. It’s also that time of year for cliché holiday movies about saccharine characters finding love in the most unlikely places.
“My Christmas Hero” is no different. It stars “Full House” favorite Candace Cameron Bure as orthopedic doctor and Army reservist Maj. Nicole Ramsey, who begins her story by meeting I Corps Maj. Daniel Ross (Gabriel Hogan). Their tale, as so many do in these films, ties back to World War II.
Ramsey, who is, of course, too busy for a relationship, first meets Ross in her medical office, where he visits due to a bad knee. Though her ethics say she is unable to date a patient, he specifies he won’t be treated for long. Hurdle jumped.
Ramsey, however, comes with emotional trauma in the form of reeling from the death of a man she never met. Cpl. John Medlin, Ramsey’s grandfather, died in Italy around Christmas 1944, soon after his daughter was born stateside.
What jumps out immediately is the film’s confusing math, an issue destined to become more glaring as movies of this genre continue to rely on World War II to anchor storylines. It’s one thing to suspend reality in favor of a film, but this chronology is a stretch. The dates in the film would make Ramsey’s mother at least 79, though she’s played by the spritely 61-year-old Teryl Rothery. Meanwhile, it’s suggested that Ramsey is in her 30s. (It may be high time for Korean or Vietnam War veterans to serve as the foundations of these holiday movie timelines.)
Moreover, the last surviving local WWII veteran — a man named Mr. Morton — is one of her patients. He and his wife have been married 76 years, which makes him at least 94 (assuming he was 18 when the war ended) when he requisitions Ramsey for a new hip so he can finally go dancing with his wife.
But I digress. Ramsey’s ultimate mission is to uncover the circumstances of her grandfather’s death and bring some closure to her mom. And who better to help than the charming, blue-eyed Ross?
“She’s a cup of Christmas cocoa,” he muses to a fellow soldier. Ross’ charm quickly melts Ramsey’s resolve like fake snow on a Los Angeles sidewalk.
Six or seven B-plots evolve throughout the course of the film, including the building of a veteran-centric nonprofit, an ugly Christmas sweater party, and some not-so-subtle PTSD messaging.
Alas, Ramsey and Ross continue on their quest for the truth about her grandfather with a road trip to Portland, where a member of her grandfather’s unit, Christian, reveals that Medlin was a hero, as expected.
Their unit was hit by a group of German snipers, he says, and Christian was shot. Ramsey’s grandfather was the one soldier who stayed behind and tended to his injuries, but he died before he could rejoin his unit.
“He was a true American hero,” Christian says.
There is still one-third of the film left at this point. Without totally spoiling things, everyone gets a joyous ending filled with, of course, a tribute to fallen heroes replete with the playing of the Marine Hymn — even though this is a distinctly Army movie.
God bless us, everyone.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.