By using our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.

Previewing A World Record Christmas 

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

Nikki DeLoach and Lucas Bryant have been regulars on the Christmas circuit the last several years and this season, the duo are paired in a lovely film inspired by the true story of Auldin Maxwell. A World Record Christmas is as much a family story as it is a story about a just-past-newlywed couple taking the time and making the space to be extraordinarily present with each other and their autistic son, played by Aias Dalman, who is also autistic.

 A World Record Christmas

Marissa and Eric are doting parents to Charlie, a high-functioning autistic 13-year-old who loves building things. When he learns that the town is going for a Guinness World Record for the most number of Christmas presents wrapped in an hour, he fixates on setting his own record.

Over the first good stretch of the movie, he tries to hone in on what record he will attempt to break, and as the promo materials tip, he settles on Jenga blocks, intent to beat the world record of balancing 1,400 blocks on a vertical block. The secondary goal for him is something much more personal — he hopes it will finally bring his absentee birth dad, Peter (Matt Hamilton), back into his life.

 A World Record Christmas

Peter’s been AWOL since he and Marissa divorced five years earlier. When she remarried Eric, he stepped up in a huge way, becoming a model dad in everything but name. It’s a zinger that he deflects despite it very apparently, and rightly so, cutting close when it’s reiterated a handful of times.

 A World Record Christmas

It’s also a bit of potential sore spot because he’d really like a second child, which is something Marissa isn’t wholly on board with. And her BFF Jane (April Amber Telek), gets to the heart of it, reminding Marissa that she did the single mom thing very well but the situation has changed.

A World Record Christmas

She also candidly tells her she needs to have an open conversation with her husband about her reticence. That’s a timely message for her to hear as Charlie grows less dependent, due in no small part to his friendship with Jane’s daughter, Amy (Daphne Hoskins), who treats him as an equal, sometimes in ways he might not yet be ready for.

 A World Record Christmas

Refreshingly, the marriage story isn’t about a couple on the verge of separating or maintaining a ruse that they’re together when they’re not (see DeLoach’s Cranberry Christmas). When Marissa and Eric receive not-so-subtle reminders from her boss, Hillary (Miranda Edwards), that their marriage could use a little care and feeding to keep them on the same page and connected to each other as partners and not just parents, they work on it, and work through it together when their transparency with each other is tested.

 A World Record Christmas

Once Charlie chooses his challenge, his family, Amy, Jane, and Eric’s mom, Nana Mary (Beverley Elliott), rally around him to help him get a shot with Guinness judge Ophelia (Alison Wandzura) and get the community involved in his attempt. The path to the record takes a few emotional detours that help the characters to let go of some notions and embrace others. Jason Bourque directs a script by Mark Hefti based on his story with Antonio Cupo.

A World Record Christmas premieres Thursday at 8 pm/7c on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in the US and W Network in Canada. It’s also streaming on Hallmark Movies Now in a pre-linear preview window. Here are a couple of sneak peeks.

Photos courtesy of Allister Foster/Hallmark Media; videos courtesy of Hallmark Media.

Related posts

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.