'The Knight Before Christmas' Review: There's a Reason This Holiday Rom-Com Is So Satisfying

Vanessa Hudgens won Christmas last year with her Netflix rom-com, The Princess Switch. The film was a viral sensation, filled to the brim with the feel-good, low-stakes hijinks we’ve come to expect from our holiday movies. A sequel to that now classic is coming in 2020, but while we wait, Hudgens has another holiday flick for us: The Knight Before Christmas. And I’m pleased to report it’s very, very good.

The plot of the movie is delightfully bonkers: A knight from 1334, Sir Cole (Josh Whitehouse), time travels to present day Ohio and meets a science teacher, Brooke (Vanessa Hudgens), after she accidentally hits him with her car. The doctors think Sir Cole has a head injury, which is why they aren’t fazed when he says he’s from medieval times. They think his memory will return in time and he’ll be back to “normal.” But days go by, and Sir Cole still contests he’s a knight. Brooke starts to wonder if he’s telling the truth, until—spoiler alert—she realizes he very much is, and they live happily ever after.

Much like Amy Adams’s character in Enchanted, the humor in The Knight Before Christmas stems from Sir Cole attempting to navigate the modern world. He pulls out a sword to fight Brooke’s ex-boyfriend, calls cars “steel steeds,” is enamored with televisions (a.k.a “magic boxes that make merry”), and thinks neckties are tiny torture devices. Brooke finds Sir Cole’s naiveté endearing, though, and romance blossoms. Not much about The Knight Before Christmas is realistic, but that’s the point. It’s pure, unabashed escapism in the best way possible.

Josh Whitehouse and Vanessa Hudgens in The Knight Before Christmas.

Brooke Palmer/Netflix

“I think all rom-coms, on some level, are fairy tales, and I liked dropping the pretense and just owning it,” Monika Mitchell, the director of The Knight Before Christmas, tells Glamour.

Finding pure joy in 2019 is hard, after all, which is probably why rom-coms have become a booming business again. “I guess we all need to believe in magic a little bit more now than before,” Mitchell says. “These movies are entertainment, and that’s OK. They’re art, but they’re commercial art. They’re designed to be entertaining to the entire family so that a group of loved ones can sit together. Everyone has something in there that they can hold on to. Watching something that makes you happy is legitimate. To be happy at the end of something you invest an hour and a half of your life in is completely legitimate.”

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