The Ringer’s 25 Days of Bingemas is a guide for people who love original holiday movies; it’s a guide for people who hate original holiday movies; it’s a guide for people who occasionally watch these movies and want more; it’s a guide for people who never hope to watch these movies but would like to watch one writer descend into madness as she attempts to differentiate between 25 unique forms of holiday magic, 12 different fake countries, and eight different male leads who make you wonder, “Wait, is that the guy from Mean Girls?” (It isn’t, except for that one time when it is.) Every day for the next 25 days, Jodi Walker will feature one of this season’s 169 original holiday movies, answering a curated series of questions in order to showcase the genre’s masterful formula, the dedication to chaos, and the commitment to consistently widowing lumberjacks that launched an entire genre of TV movie. On the 21st day of Bingemas, we turn our cheerful spirits to …
What are we watching?
Something From Tiffany’s
Where are we watching it?
Amazon Prime Video
Why are we watching it?
Because, per Amazon, “When a simple mix-up of gifts causes [Rachel’s and Ethan’s] paths to cross, it sets off a series of twists and unexpected discoveries that lead them where they’re truly meant to be.”
So sorry to our girl, but Vanessa Hudgens wishes. This movie is full of stars, I tell you, stars! Zoey Deutch and Kendrick Sampson? Megawatt stars. Leah Jeffries? Itty-bitty future star (literally—she’s in the upcoming Disney+ Percy Jackson and the Olympians series). Jojo T. Gibbs? Name of a star, comedic timing of a superstar! I’d simply like a wallet-sized photo album of all of these people’s faces to flip through when I feel like seeing something gorgeous. To quote Jojo T. Gibbs in one of the best line deliveries of Bingemas, when she’s suddenly faced with the reality of Kendrick Sampson in front of her: “You are fine as hell—what are those, hazel?”
How problematic is the meet-cute on a scale of “one saved the other from falling in a snowbank” to “one is the other’s boss and they fall in love on a work trip”?
Stardom aside, I do need to let you know that we’ve been duped: Something From Tiffany’s is barely a holiday movie. Its central climax takes place on New Year’s Eve, and while that is technically a holiday, it’s not one of the original-holiday-movie-mandated holidays. Nevertheless, this is a rom-com, so you better believe the meet-cute is overly complicated, generally inconceivable, and pitch perfect. We meet Ethan while he’s buying an engagement ring for his girlfriend at Tiffany’s; some guy named Gary is also there, buying “something reasonable” for his girlfriend, Rachel. Gary immediately gets hit by a cab outside (he would, honestly), and when Ethan goes to help him (he would, swoon), their Tiffany’s bags get switched, generating an ever-unfolding turducken of meet-cutes throughout the movie. This ultimately results in brief, seemingly irrevocable heartbreak and, eventually, like 16 perfectly timed romantic callbacks that all made me cry. (I will not be disclosing how many times I cried during this movie. Please respect my privacy on this, the 22nd day of Bingemas.)
How believable are the lead characters’ ostensible careers?
Rachel is the kind of quirky baker and restaurant owner who gives impassioned speeches about cornettos and loads unwrapped loaves of bread into the back of a van. But she’s not so quirky that she, like, accidentally eats an entire candy cane candle or anything. If all dogs are boys and all cats are girls, then all holiday heroines are bakers, and their love interests are … not all creative writing professors at UCLA, actually! That’s a new one. The most unrealistic part of this movie is that Rachel does not immediately break up with Gary the moment she learns that Ethan—once again, a man who looks like Kendrick Sampson—is also a professor. This movie keeps it a tight hour and 20 minutes, but we really could have wrapped things up in five minutes.
Are there any fake towns, or perhaps a whole fake country?
No, Something From Tiffany’s very much takes place in IRL New York City. After days—weeks!—spent with Hallmark, Lifetime, and the two soundstages between them, I nearly got motion sickness from going to all these different locations throughout Manhattan. But we’re dealing with Bezos dollars here, and that is evident everywhere, from the casting to the locations right down to more Tiffany’s branding than you’ve seen since the Big Charm Bracelet agenda took hold of early-aughts bat mitzvahs everywhere. Speaking of those locations: After Ethan sends Gary off to the hospital, Ethan’s daughter, Daisy, insists they go check on him the next morning, when he first encounters Rachel … who invites him to her restaurant’s Christmas market booth in Bryant Park … after which, they go on a romantic stroll by the East River, where he tells her about his next book idea … riiiight before she goes to pick up her boyfriend from the hospital and he goes to pick up his girlfriend from the airport.
We know Ethan has a daughter, but we also know that he has a girlfriend, so I was somehow still stunned to learn that Ethan is a widower. (What can I say? I’m just a quirky writer who can still be surprised by the delicious taste of a candy cane candle.) Probably my favorite conversation between Rachel and Ethan—as they both attempt not to immediately fall in love with each other—is when they talk about mourning the loss of his wife and her mom, who died when she was nine. You really feel the way these losses—and remembrances—are foundational to their characters throughout the film, and it sure is something what good actors can do in a rom-com. Like make you scream, “KISS!!!” while they’re actively talking about death, for example.
Does anyone almost kiss only to be interrupted? Are there any snow-related high jinks?
I have to combine these two all-important questions because after Rachel and Ethan accidentally end up having yet another romantic evening alone together in New York City, she asks him to be honest with her about why he sought her out again. Ethan leans in close, and it starts snowing; Rachel leans in closer, they close their eyes, and … he wishes her the best and walks away. I am calling SNOW SHENANIGANS, Ethan!
Is there a villain who sows discord?
I appreciate that the villains of this movie aren’t clownishly villainous; they’re simply not fit to inhabit this fairy tale. Vanessa just really hates New York City, which is sad for her, but it gives Ethan a solid excuse to break up with her when he accidentally falls in love with a local baker. Gary is immature and lacks initiative, but he does really love Rachel. Does he also let Rachel think he bought her a Tiffany’s engagement ring, refuse to give the ring back to its rightful owner when confronted about it
(which may not be theft but is definitely immoral), and then keep the nature of that immorality from his fiancée, right down until the moment she discovers it herself? Sure, yes, he absolutely does that.
Is there any singing/crafting/baking/blogging?
Obviously, there is so much baking throughout this movie, and I loved that Rachel frequently says the names of actual foods out loud so that we can understand what kind of food her restaurant serves …
But Rachel also does the wildest damn thing I’ve ever seen once she discovers that the ring on her finger was, in fact, intended for someone else. She apologizes to Ethan, gives him a loaf of bread to share with Daisy and Vanessa, and promises that Gary will get the ring back to him. Ethan does indeed share the bread with his family, and when they start tussling over it, the engagement ring flies out of the bread BECAUSE RACHEL BAKED IT IN THERE. What if they hadn’t gotten into an impromptu wrestling match over the bread, Rachel?! What if two adults and one child couldn’t reasonably eat a loaf of bread in one sitting, and they’d thrown the rest away, Rachel?! What if Ethan wasn’t actually ready to propose anymore because he’s in love with someone else now, Rachel?! What if they DIDN’T LIKE SOURDOUGH, RACHEL?!? She pushed the quirky too far, and the quirky pushed back.
Is there any magic?
Luckily, Tiffany’s is magic, people—and they’ve been paying rom-coms to tell that to you for years! Or, at least, Ethan’s engagement ring is magic. Because even though it was intended for Vanessa, made its way into Gary’s traitorous hands, briefly faced peril inside a loaf of bread (I’ll never be over it), and wreaked a lot of havoc on four hotties’ lives over the course of one December, that ring always knew where it was supposed to be. And that’s exactly what Ethan tells Rachel when he proposes to her one year later, going back over every single romantic moment we’ve watched between them. “You’re my cornetto!” he cries out. It’s a perfect rom-com line. And when Bingemas is all said and done, if someone asks me if I covered Something From Tiffany’s, I’ll simply have to respond, “Oh, yeah, I think I remember the film.” And that person will never talk to me again.