Dec 19, 2021

"Home for Christmas": The Girl with 5 Boyfriends and a Girlfriend

One reason I hate the holidays is my memory of many Christmases past with endless dissimulations and awkward silences.  Some of my relatives back home had a "don't ask, don't tell policy," and others didn't know at all (and would start screaming if they did), so:
West Hollywood became Santa Monica
Gay Pride became "a street fair"
Volunteering for the AIDS Project became volunteering for Big Brothers
The Metropolitan Community Church  became First Presbyterian
The boyfriend became a "friend," if I mentioned him at all.
And I had a "girlfriend."

So I was interested in Hjem til Jul (Home for Christmas), a Norwegian short series in which 30-year old Johanne (Ida Elise Broch) gets so tired of her family's constant sneers and digs about being single that she blurts out "I have a boyfriend!"

Now she has three weeks to find a boyfriend for real and present him at the Christmas Eve dinner!

I know, this is the plotline of about 50% of Hallmark Christmas movies.  But bear with me.

With the help of her roommate/best friend Jørgun, Johanne posts a provocative profile on a dating app.  Some of the men are utter jerks, like Paul (Nader Khademi), who goes beserk in an escape room and then yells that they aren't intellectual equals, but most are perfectly nice, with one fatal flaw:

1. Stein (Mads Sjøgård Pettersen,top photo), a fitness enthusiast whose idea of a date is a spin class.

2.Henrik (Oddgeir Thune), who is old enough to be her father, and may in fact have dated her mother.

3. Jonas (Felix Sandman, left), only 19 years old, who is amazingly good in bed but dumps her by claiming that he's "leaving for Bali to go to college."

She also meets people on the street, at parties, and at the hospital where she works as an unconventional, "let's bend the rules" nurse:

4. Thomas (Kinsgford Siayor), a "cry on my shoulder" Christmas tree salesman and bartender.  He turns out to have a girlfriend.

5. Raul (Paul Andino), the hospital's "cheer up" clown.  Johanne just isn't into clowns.

6. A woman Johanne meets at a party, who goes down on her on the train.  She's just not into women, either.

After some subplots involving patients at the hospital and Johanne's parents trying out an open relationship, it's Christmas Eve. Who does Johanne bring home?

All eyes turn to the hallway as she brings in (spoiler alert!)

Jørgun, the roommate/best friend.  Everyone turns on their "little sister's coming out" smiles.  But then:

Raul the hospital clown, who has just started dating Jørgun, and:

The tough, non-nonsense hospital patient who has been mentoring her.

She brought people that she cares about. What difference does it make if they're romantically involved?

Gay characters:  The woman at the party.  Maybe Johanne's younger brother Sebastian (Arthur Hakalahti).  But everyone seems rather nonchalant about it. And subverting the "boyfriend for Christmas" trope queers the text.

Beefcake:  Three of the guys are displayed semi-nude.

Other Scenery:  Not very interesting.  The exterior shots are all on one street in the town of Røros

Misleading Title:  Johanne is not going "home for Christmas."  She lives in the same town with her family. It should be "A boyfriend for Christmas," but that tile is already taken by 5,000 Hallmark movies.

My Grade: B+.


  1. I guess I was lucky to have a more accepting family.

    I thought Bali would be more for Spring Break. Not that I'd know. #MillennialProblems

    1. My brother is the only one who I actually had a 'coming out"conversation with. My sister didn't speak to me for about 10 years, but's a gay ally now. My parents were of the "don't ask, don't tell" type.

  2. Those Norwegian guys are cute


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