First, I am a sucker for Lifetime movies… so when a friend texted telling me Lifetime was premiering a Christmas movie featuring an actress who uses a wheelchair in real life I got really excited!
Christmas Ever After premiered on Lifetime on Sunday December 6th 2020. Tony award winner and ground breaker Ali Stroker, who had a spinal cord injury at the age of 2, played the main character Izzi Simmons, a romance novelist. Ali Stroker was the first performer in a wheelchair to win a Tony award last year for her role in Broadway's revival of "Oklahoma!," Stroker is back to breaking barriers and Lifetime’s first to star a lead actor with a disability. I loved that her character was a writer and having won a Tony award I was also happy she sang one song in the film!
From Lifetime’s website: “Popular romance novelist Izzi Simmons (Tony® winner Ali Stroker) spends every Christmas at her favorite snowy bed & breakfast, but this year, she’s faced with an impending deadline and a severe case of writer’s block. Luckily, inspiration strikes in the unlikely form of the B&B’s new owner Matt (Daniel di Tomasso), who bears an uncanny resemblance to the handsome hero from (the covers of) Izzi’s novels. As both partake in the lodge’s annual itinerary of Christmas activities, Izzi’s writer’s block is cured and the first pages of her and Matt’s own love story may just be beginning.”
I think Lifetime did a good job with representing a person with a disAbility in this film. First, by casting an actress who uses a wheelchair in real life. And secondly, showing an inter-abled romantic relationship - and the complexities, desires and wonder of one! I applaud the use of language such as “Go for a push” instead of “Go for a walk”. I am happy they showed how Izzi gets into bed, but they could have also shown how she drove her car and also got in and out of her car. There were no references to Tiny Tim which was fantastic, as he’s most associated with disabilities and Christmastime and I’m just not really a fan, although Scrooge was mentioned once. Lastly, I loved loved loved the relationship and mentorship between Izzi and Matt’s young daughter who also dreams about becoming a writer.
There is also a twist to this story that will both give you goosebumps and melt your heart!
You can learn more about the film and watch the movie’s trailer and entire movie on Lifetime’s website here: https://www.mylifetime.com/movies/christmas-ever-after