Christmas may be over, but it’s never too late to re-watch your favourite Sullivan holiday films. Here, Dan Matthews reflects on watching A Wind At My Back Christmas for the first time:
A Wind At My Back Christmas is such an enjoyable film for Wind at my Back fans. Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to go on another adventure with the Bailey family and the other residents of New Bedford?
First off, Tyrone Savage really grew up! It is almost difficult to recognize Fat at first because of how much Tyrone grew. At first I was disappointed that his character didn’t get a chance to shine, but closer to the end he did have a number of memorable scenes. Hub and Maisey also are noticeably older, but the change isn’t as dramatic as with Hub.
Secondly, as I knew going into the screening, Shirley Douglas (May Bailey) and Kathryn Greenwood (Grace) didn’t make an appearance. As mentioned by the other characters: “We can’t have Christmas without Mother Bailey and Grace”. Their absence was definitely noticed. Strangely I found myself missing May more than Grace – even though Grace is pretty much my favorite character. Maybe it is because Christmas is so much about traditions and I felt May would have contributed a lot by insisting on family gatherings and shedding light on the family history and festive customs of the Bailey family.
Many other familiar faces are strangely absent as well. It would have been great to catch a glimpse of some of the other characters we have grown to love, like Archie or the Cramps. Showing more familiar faces could have made Hub’s return to New Bedford a more interesting event.
Okay, I can’t focus on negatives. The music still sets the tone for the story, creating both light-hearted and emotion moments. Hub’s story is interesting and shows how much he has grown up. The Christmas morning scene was really cute – exactly what I was looking for in a Christmas movie.
Just to warn you, I’m going to start talking about specifics now. So if you haven’t seen the film yet, and you don’t want to spoil it, stop reading now!
Giving Hub some romance and making him struggle with his future was a good option. Dylan Provencher carried the show and Hub was given a lot of good scenes. Hub was wise, but still carried along some of his childhood pettiness as he jumped to conclusions and fought with his family.
As I mentioned earlier, I felt bad for Fat. Hub had two girls chasing him, and Hub had none. Everyone was concerned about Hub’s future and no one seemed to care about Fat’s declaration of wanting to join the RCMP. Hub was the star and Fat was a background character. Fat also was beaten up by a girl! (Maisey) However, I still enjoyed how Fat’s story resolved. He followed his heart and tried to help his brother. He also tried to become more realistic and stopped trying to compete with his brother. I do still wish Fat was a little more crafty in his surveillance of Hub. Fat is too smart to be fooled by Hub hiding in an alley.
I was frustrated with Honey throughout the story. To me she seemed like the villain. She didn’t support Hub, was snapping at Max and her children and simply had a dream of leaving her family behind to go to Toronto. In the end she reconciles with Hub and is a comfort to Anna, but I overall I was hoping Honey would have done something a little more interesting and been more loving of her children.
I’ve always loved Max, and while he is grumpy at first, I still find him to be a voice of reason. I’m glad he gets to continue to write – he has too much passion to be burnt out!
I’m not sure I bought Maisey’s obsession with Hub. However, her character was still strong and I’m glad she was able to move on.
Toppy didn’t really shine. She was putting on the pageant and was a sounding board for Maisey.
Anna was a welcome new addition. I would have liked to see a little bit more development of the relationship between her and Hub. As it was shown on screen, I can almost see why Honey was worried that Hub just wanted to help her – as is his nature to do.
The ending between Max and Honey reminded me of ‘The Gift of the Magi’, a short story by O. Henry. In the short story, a man sells his prized watch to buy combs for his wife. His wife meanwhile sells her lovely hair to chain for her husband’s watch. In the end both are left with useless gifts but are reminded of their great love. In Wind at my Back Christmas, Max and Honey are able to compromise so that their gifts don’t go to waste. I’m glad they were able to work together – they should both be able to follow their dreams.
The ending of the film is fairly abrupt. Hub discovers he cannot go with Anna into the United States and that he will be unable to keep in touch with her since she has to change her identity. Hub ends with “Don’t ever give up on me… I love you”. Then Anna leaves and the movie ends with the town of New Bedford singing Silent Night around the gazebo.
I can’t help but ask – what happens next? Sadly we’ll probably never really know. But let’s all continue to invent adventures of the residents of New Bedford in our imaginations.
This holiday season, let’s enjoy family. Let’s put aside our differences and celebrate the joy of the season.