I have to admit: I’m a sucker for a cheesy romantic comedy, especially if it takes place at Christmas. I also have a longstanding love for Arthurian legend and all of its trappings. So when Netflix announced its new original movie The Knight Before Christmas, starring Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse, I was absolutely thrilled. The film is available to stream today, and if you love the shared Netflix Christmas Movie Cinematic Universe, I’m certain you’ll love this story.

Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse in The Knight Before Christmas. Photo: Netflix/Brooke Palmer.

The Knight Before Christmas follows school teacher Brooke (Hudgens), whose recent heartbreak has her feeling particularly disillusioned with love as Christmas quickly approaches. Although she hates seeing her cheating ex-boyfriend everywhere she goes in their small town, she seems content to hang out with her sister Madison (Emmanuelle Chriqui), niece Claire (Isabelle Franca), and brother-in-law Evan (Scott Ryan Yamamura).

However, when she accidentally hits a cosplay knight from the local Christmas pop-up with her car during a blizzard, she quickly discovers that her ideas about romance and magic aren’t quite what they should be. Meanwhile, Sir Cole (Whitehouse) has been sent centuries into the future by an old crone (Ella Kenion), who tells him that to become a true knight, he must first open his heart and accomplish his fated quest. As Brooke and Cole get to know each other, they both have to reframe their preconceptions about life and love, before Cole’s deadline on Christmas Eve — otherwise, all is lost.

Obviously, The Knight Before Christmas leans heavily on tropes. The time-traveling knight from the 14th century thinks cars are metal steeds, for example, and insists on being referred to as “Sir” while he refers to others as lords and ladies. He’s painfully formal and uses wildly outdated slang that’s since become insulting, but quickly learns modern dialects and Christmas songs by binge-watching TV and talking to an Alexa. There’s something especially slapstick about this unassuming Englishman earnestly trying to navigate the future based on riddles from an old crone, but because of the context, it totally works.

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Josh Whitehouse in The Knight Before Christmas. Photo: Netflix/Brooke Palmer.

In addition to Cole’s fumbling, this movie also features: mutual pining, knowing looks from family members and friends, multiple interrupted kissing attempts, a daring rescue, an obsessive love of hot chocolate, a tragic backstory, a horse named Sherwyn, a Christmas puppy, an inquisitive niece, a tear-jerking moment of shared community, and a character with a secret talent for baking delicious bread. It’s delightful and silly and warm, which is exactly the kind of content I want to consume this kind of year, especially when the holidays begin to feel especially tough.

The Knight Before Christmas certainly isn’t going to win any awards this year, but that isn’t why it exists — and that’s okay. The cast looks like they’re having an excellent time; I had an excellent time watching them play out this big-hearted rom-com about two people who definitely shouldn’t be able to make it work, but fall in love anyway. At the end of the day, that’s all I’m asking for in a holiday movie.

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