The North Shore is no stranger to holiday movie magic, and that’s a gift that just keeps on giving.
This weekend, the Wilmette Theatre will debut a new holiday film, “Merry Good Enough,” which features beloved Wilmette son Joel Murray and fellow Wilmette actor Daniel Desmarais.
The indie film is only in town for three shows: 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, and 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 26. Members of the cast and crew, including Desmarais and filmmaker Caroline Keene, will attend the showings and participate in Q&A. Murray, the youngest brother of the famed Murray family, is set to participate on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are available at the Wilmette Theatre’s website.
Keene called her film a “darkish comedy” about three adult children in a dysfunctional family who return to their childhood home in the Boston area for the holidays. And in a “reverse ‘Home Alone'” hook, Keene said, the children wake up to find their mother is gone, and the film centers on their reaction to and navigation of the situation. Their estranged father, played by Joel Murray, shows up to complicate matters.
“It’s a very holiday film but we also like to say it’s a Christmas movie for people who don’t like Christmas,” Keene said. “It celebrates the things we like about it but also taps into the stress of it all.”
It is Keene’s first feature film, one she co-directed with Dan Kennedy, and for it, she uses her own memories of the holiday season, including her love of sentimental Christmas movies such as “Home Alone” and “Home for the Holidays.”
She first had the idea for “Merry Good Enough” when she was a film student, and her professor’s disapproval of the idea only further fueled her desire to get it made.
“I knew when I was disappointed that I cared a lot about the story,” Keene said. “I do love Christmas movies and just had this idea of adult siblings waking up and not having a parent there. … The emotions are very inspired by my life. As an adult, memories of Christmas bring up childish behavior, in a good sense and bad. I was inspired to explore that in a movie.”
Keene said getting Murray to sign on was a big deal for the film. She also is proud that the film received digital distribution, making it available to rent and purchase via streaming services such as AppleTv and Amazon Prime.
For theatrical release, Keene and her team began cold calling theaters to secure showings. Wilmette Theatre was on that list.
“I know how much the theater means to (Murray and Desmarais),” Keene said.
The movie will also be shown at several theaters in the New England area, near where it was shot in December 2022. Keene said the winter production makes the holiday film that much more special.
“The feeling of Christmas in the movie is very real,” she said. “Whether at the Christmas tree farm or the store, it’s not set decoration but real. The feeling is real and that was very special.”
For more information on the film, Keene and the actors, visit the film’s website.
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