Here’s a name you may not have heard in a while: Ne-Yo. The R&B singer known for early aughts hits like “Miss Independent” and “So Sick” stars in “The Sound of Christmas,” a charming new holiday film, as Quentin, a widowed billionaire who falls for his kids’ nanny, Montana.
As the holidays approach, Montana (Serayah McNeill of “Empire”) finds herself unemployed and without a place to stay. She catches a break when Quentin’s mother, Estelle (Roxzane T. Mims), with whom she sings in their church’s choir, offers her a job as a live-in nanny to her two grandchildren, Deirdre (Alijah Kai) and Daniel (Blake James). The film follows Montana as she wins over the children and, eventually, their closed off dad.
Directed by Booker T. Mattison, the church features heavily in “The Sound of Christmas.” Montana is a church girl who breaks up with her boyfriend because she wants to find someone with whom she’s equally yoked, or spiritually aligned. And though Quentin’s mother, and even his snooty girlfriend, Chloe (Draya Michele), are active members of the church, Quentin has not been to a service since his wife’s death — resentful that his prayers to save her were not answered. Montana helps lead him back to religion and brings music back into the family’s life.
The relationship between Montana and the kids is a highlight, as are some of the other secondary relationships. And though the film is as predictable and saccharine as one might expect of holiday fare, viewers who grew up in the Black church may enjoy seeing a relatable and chaste romantic story on-screen.
The Sound of Christmas
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. Watch on BET+.