If you watch enough Christmas movies on cable, you’re likely to see some familiar faces in interesting roles.

That’s been the case with many actors from the Whedonverse, occasionally popping up in a holiday movie either on Lifetime, Freeform or the Hallmark Channel. I have already listed several movies with Whedon alumni in another blog

Amy Acker (aka Dr. Saunders in Dollhouse, Fred on Angel and Root on Person of Interest) can claim she has starred in two holiday movies. After Dear Santa a couple of years back in Lifetime, shes now playing a former ballerina in A Nutcracker Christmas, looking after her niece who gets a big role with a ballet company in Philadelphia.

Lily, played by Acker, was a rising ballerina on the verge of playing the Sugar Plum Fairy in a Nutcracker performance in New York. A family tragedy ends her dreams and her love of ballet. It also ruined a prospective romance with a fellow dancer named Mark, played by Sascha Radetsky

Fast forward eight years and Lily hears her niece Sadie (Sophia Lucia) has been invited to play Clara in a performance of the Nutcracker in Philly.  Not only is it being based on her performance at a ballet competition,  the company is run by Mark.

Just like other Hallmark Channel movies there’s more inspiration and good feelings than conflict. Lily is looked at with suspicion by the other ballet moms because Sadie just happens to come in from out of town, and they learn Lily and Mark used to date. It’s quelled when one of the moms just asks. Mark and Lily talk about that night where he said she shouldn’t dance when someone died, and she finally understands why he was right.

Also, unlike most Hallmark Channel movies, this film doesn’t work too hard in pushing Lily and Mark together, with a little help from Sadie. What puts off the romance is Lily afraid to go back to her old life.

If there’s a flaw, it’s how Lily finds herself with a chance to be the Sugar Plum Fairy. The original choice, Juliet, quits because she doesn’t like Lily’s coaching, while the understudy gets injured. That’s when Mark has Lily fill in despite being out of dancing for eight years. That bugs the dance moms and Juliet. That is resolved, too, but maybe the script should have allowed both to perform.
The movie ends with the ballet itself with scenes with the featured players.

The story is a cute romance with Acker and Radetsky, as they try to reconnect. Lucia is also good as Sadie. It’s interesting Radetsky and Lucia are both accomplished dancers, but Acker still holds her own as a woman who rediscovers her love for dance.

The movie will be airing several times on the Hallmark Channel through the end of the month.  Let us know your thoughts below.

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