4 December 2023

Pick of the Flicks: Mistletoe Ranch

| Rama Gaind
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two people with horses

Mercy Cornwall and Jordi Webber star in Mistletoe Ranch. Photo: Supplied.

Director: Rhiannon Bannenberg, Defiant Screen Entertainment

Made in Queensland, Mistletoe Ranch is an unassuming family drama that rekindles a romance amidst the magic of Christmas.

It has been eight years since Aimée Tremblay (played by Australian Mercy Cornwall, Dive Club, Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire) left her home at Mistletoe Ranch following the death of her mother Molly, to pursue a career in photography.

Prior to leaving, Aimée had become engaged to James Hunt (New Zealand actor-musician Jordi Webber, Choose Love, Home and Away), a ranch hand and a friend she grew up with, sharing a love of horses.

Aimée’s busy life in New York meant the two grew apart. However, on learning her hometown’s holiday celebrations had been put on hold, the international photographer returns to the town of Snowy Oak to restore the seasonal spirit. There, she reunites with her ex-fiancé and discovers her family property is in debt.

James is running Mistletoe Ranch and a perilous financial situation arises. She is dismayed to see that no one has been living in the main family home, which has been kept in wraps.

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Initially, there’s a reluctance to break away from her high-pressure job. As Aimée faces a choice between returning to manage the property or selling it so she can continue to pursue her dream career, she finds herself reconnecting with the ranch, the locals and James.

Forced to work side-by-side to save the ranch, “recent bitterness subsides as old feelings of affection emerge”.

Aimée also gets to meet James’s daughter, Juniper (Molly Belle Wright). James and Juniper’s mother have been separated for some time, but remain friends.

Despite being shot in the Sunshine State, this film is not a travelogue, though the snow and the projected winter scenes give it more of an American home-like touch.

Rhiannon Bannenberg (Rip Tide, Dive Club) directs the romantic homecoming story. She was excited about shooting the film in Queensland, using movie illusion to create a landscape blanketed in snow.

Mistletoe Ranch is a heart-warming ode to enduring love and being true to yourself,” Rhiannon said. This charming love story between two childhood sweethearts sets the stage for an authentic reconnection that many in the audience dream of.

I loved working with our gorgeous cast and crew to tell this hopeful love story of childhood sweethearts finding each other again. I hope it brings joy and reprieve to audiences looking for some light this holiday season.”

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Mistletoe Ranch is written by Claire Harris and produced by Steve Jaggi, who said it felt fantastic to be back in production.

“We’ve assembled a talented cast and crew, and some beautiful equine friends to help bring this hopeful story to life,” Steve said.

Mistletoe Ranch is our seventh romance feature film and I’m proud of what we were able to achieve in telling this charming story. From the challenges of creating a snowy Montana landscape in the heat of the Australian summer, to rising COVID numbers, to the completely devastating and unexpected South East Queensland floods, we were certainly tested on this production. It’s testament to the resilience and commitment of our entire cast and crew, that we have this magical story to share with audiences.”

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