×

Lost Holiday: The Jim and Suzanne Shemwell Story

The TV movie has a surprisingly rich history of "people stranded in snow" projects, from "Hey, I'm Alive" more than 30 years ago to "Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story" in 1994, when this sort of fact-based trifle still aired on CBS.

With:
Suzanne - Jami Gertz Jim - Dylan Walsh Miranda - Julia Maxwell Taryn - Brooklyn Proulx Keith - Alexander Aresnault Blake - Aaron Pearl Mary Ann - Judith Buchan Sheriff Tierney - Joe Norman Shaw

The TV movie has a surprisingly rich history of “people stranded in snow” projects, from “Hey, I’m Alive” more than 30 years ago to “Snowbound: The Jim and Jennifer Stolpa Story” in 1994, when this sort of fact-based trifle still aired on CBS. Today it’s Lifetime territory, and this telepic focuses on another hapless couple lost in the mountains (of Idaho, as played by Alberta, Canada). Reasonably well produced, this overtly spiritual pic nevertheless proves a rather tedious slog, inasmuch as if the Shemwells croaked, it’d be kind of a bummer addition to the cable net’s slate of Christmas movies.

Suzanne Shemwell (Jami Gertz) is estranged from her husband Jim (Dylan Walsh) when the movie opens, in part because he’s a free spirit and she’s a control freak. So when he pops in on the family and persuades her to take a break by going snowmobiling in the mountains, it feels like more of an opportunity for renewed bickering than bonding.

A broken bike and unexpected storm, however, leave the two marooned in the wilderness, as their family desperately tries to maintain hope, rallying the town in an effort to locate them. Gradually, the chances of their survival begin to fade, prompting grandma (Judith Buchan) to reassure their little girl with “God will provide” messages.

Perhaps inevitably, writer-director Gregory Goodell races through the backstory in order to quickly place his protagonists knee-deep in trouble, where they can start hashing out a relationship we initially don’t know much about.

“This is why we can’t live together!” Suzanne snaps at one point, which seems convenient, since odds are they’re both going to wind up resembling Jack Nicholson at the end of “The Shining.”

Walsh has an innate likeability that helps warm this undercooked stew, while Gertz comes across as predictably shrewish until the snow begins melting her hardened heart. (Hey, it’s a Lifetime movie, dammit — that analogy actually fits.) Before it’s over, the stars will get to wear unflattering makeup reflecting their plight and build up their calves trudging through snow, which tends to approximate the movie’s pace in dragging out the rescue efforts.

“Lost Holiday,” a co-production with France’s TF1, is one of several holiday-themed movies scheduled as part of Lifetime’s run-up to Christmas. Think of it as the local radio station that begins playing nothing but syrupy yuletide songs starting around Thanksgiving, only here, with pictures!

Lost Holiday: The Jim and Suzanne Shemwell Story

Lifetime, Sat. Dec. 8, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Alberta by TF1 Intl. and Nomadic Pictures in association with Lifetime Pictures. Producers, Chad Oakes, Mike Frisley; writer-director, Gregory Goodell.

Crew: Camera, Craig Wrobleski; editor, Bridget Durnford; music, Ron Ramin; production designer, Trevor Smith; casting, Jackie Lind. RUNNING TIME: 120 MIN.

Cast: Suzanne - Jami Gertz Jim - Dylan Walsh Miranda - Julia Maxwell Taryn - Brooklyn Proulx Keith - Alexander Aresnault Blake - Aaron Pearl Mary Ann - Judith Buchan Sheriff Tierney - Joe Norman Shaw

More TV

  • Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth WarrenNinth 2020

    MSNBC Democratic Debate Moderators Lost Control of a Messy Night (Column)

    After what seems like countless Democratic debates, February 19th’s had a giant curveball in Mike Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor whose enormous fortune has given him a late, but undeniable, leg up in the race. So it was unsurprising that the prospect of Bloomberg making a play for the nomination at the 11th [...]

  • Combs Making the Band

    Diddy Sons Quincy Brown, Christian and Justin Combs Will Judge 'Making The Band'

    The panel of judges for the MTV reboot of “Making The Band” was revealed on Wednesday. Diddy’s sons Quincy Brown, Christian and Justin Combs along with creative director and celebrity choreographer LaurieAnn Gibson are all set to join the franchise. Diddy’s children all have careers spanning music, entertainment and fashion. “Making The Band” is based [...]

  • Lesley VisserFooty's Bubbles & Bones Gala,

    Lesley Visser to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at 41st Sports Emmys

    Veteran sportscaster Lesley Visser will be honored with the lifetime achievement award at this year’s 41st annual Sports Emmys. It reps the first time a woman has received the accolade. “To be a pioneer at nearly every juncture of sports reporting isn’t easy despite how Lesley Visser makes it look, said Justine Gubar, executive director, [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Angelyne Signs on

    TV News Roundup: Angelyne Signs on to Produce Eponymous Peacock Series

    In today’s TV news roundup, Peacock’s limited series “Angelyne” got the titular woman as an executive producer, and Netflix announced premiere dates for “Ugly Delicious” and “Unorthodox.” DATES Netflix announced the premiere dates of new and returning shows coming this March: “Ugly Delicious” Season 2 is premiering March 6; “Marc Maron: End Times Fun” will launch March [...]

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren,

    How to Watch the Nevada Democratic Debate Online

    The ninth Democratic presidential debate will take place Wednesday as six hopeful candidates take the stage ahead of the Nevada caucus on Feb. 22. NBC and MSNBC will broadcast the debate on their networks from 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET to 8 p.m. PT/ 10 p.m. ET. Those wanting to tune in can also [...]

  • James Wolk

    James Wolk to Star in NBC Drama Pilot 'Ordinary Joe'

    James Wolk has been cast in the lead role of the NBC drama pilot “Ordinary Joe,” Variety has learned. The project explores the three parallel lives of Joe Kimbrough (Wolk) after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you made your [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content