'EXmas' (2023) Explained: From Breakup to Breakthrough & Ending

EXmas is a delightful Christmas romantic comedy film directed by Jonah Feingold. This cinematic creation is set against the backdrop of Christmas, and it weaves a narrative of love, family, and the twists of life.

EXmas encapsulates the essence of the Christmas spirit through its engaging plot and a stellar cast, featuring Robbie Amell, Leighton Meester, Michael Hitchcock, Kathryn Greenwood, and more.

Plot Summary

In the heart of EXmas, the film opens in Los Angeles, providing us with a glimpse into the reminiscence of Graham and Ali's past relationship. Ali, despite breaking up with Graham, maintains a connection with his family. Graham, the head designer of a video game, faces a work dilemma when his boss demands a Christmas Day release, disrupting his holiday plans with his family.

Ali puts X on face of Graham in photo - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Faced with the choice between work commitments and family, Graham initially informs his family of his unavailability for Christmas. However, a change of heart occurs after a somber TV ad, prompting him to head home to Minnesota unannounced. Surprise awaits him as he discovers Ali, his ex-fiancée, celebrating Christmas with his family.

Tensions arise when Graham learns that his family invited Ali, still fond of her, to join their holiday festivities. Determined to reclaim his family's attention, Graham initiates a game with Ali, aiming to make her presence unwelcome by Christmas day.

Ali scared of goat - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The plot unfolds with strategic moves and playful tricks as the exes attempt to outwit each other. Graham leverages Ali's competitive nature and fear of goats, while Ali endeavors to sabotage Graham's reputation by orchestrating a toilet mishap. Amidst the comedic rivalry, new love interests enter the scene, adding twists to the story.

The turning point occurs during a hockey match, where Graham's father suffers a heart attack. Graham's heroic response in administering CPR not only saves his father but also prompts a profound realization about the neglect of his family and relationship due to work commitments.

The film climaxes with Graham quitting his job to prioritize his family and relationship with Ali. The pair's reunion is marked by heartfelt apologies and a resolution to end their game. The movie concludes on a heartwarming note with the family coming together, affirming the enduring bond between Graham and Ali.

Graham's Family Role in the Relationship

Graham's parents, embody the epitome of familial warmth. Their enthusiasm to welcome Ali back into the fold, despite the breakup with Graham, sets the tone for a story where family ties are resilient.

The family engages in a myriad of activities, from game nights to baking cookies, creating a supportive atmosphere. These inclusive endeavors act as catalysts, fostering a connection between Ali and Graham amid the festive celebrations.

Graham's mother imparts valuable wisdom, emphasizing the essence of a relationship as a two-way street. Her guidance prompts Graham to reassess his approach towards Ali, fostering a deeper understanding of the importance of kindness and empathy.

Graham with his family - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Ali's genuine connection with Graham's family transcends the breakup, showcasing the enduring bond she shares with them. This connection becomes a source of strength, ultimately influencing Graham's perception of their relationship.

The emotional catalyst occurs when Graham's father faces a health scare during a hockey match. The family rallies together, highlighting the importance of shared experiences and the realization that relationships are more valuable than career pursuits.

Graham's family acts as a supportive backdrop, nudging the characters towards self-discovery and reconciliation. Their active participation in Graham and Ali's journey symbolizes the resilience of family ties and their enduring impact on the dynamics of love and connection.

The family's role is integral to the narrative's resolution. Their presence showcases the idea that, even amid misunderstandings and challenges, family bonds have the power to mend and strengthen relationships.

Tricks Played by Ali and Graham

Graham, employs a series of tricks to bring out Ali's competitive side and expose her fears. From leveraging her competitive spirit during game nights to strategically introducing goats – a creature Ali is morbidly scared of – Graham aims to manipulate perceptions and create rifts.

Ali, retaliates with equal fervor. Knowing Graham's aversion to bathroom mishaps, she orchestrates a toilet overflow scenario, skillfully turning the situation in her favor. Ali's strategic moves not only counter Graham's tactics but also earn her praise from the family.

Ali, Graham, Brady and Jess - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The exes, seeking to provoke jealousy, introduce new love interests – Brady and Jess – into the mix. This subplot adds layers of complexity, as Graham encounters a rival from his past, and Ali navigates the nuances of her own romantic entanglement.

In a surprising turn, Graham and Ali resort to intimate encounters with other individuals, aiming to evoke jealousy in each other. These maneuvers, though fueled by rivalry, inadvertently lead to moments of self-reflection and realizations about the true nature of their feelings.

To intensify the rivalry, both Graham and Ali attempt to unveil personal secrets, showcasing vulnerabilities and attempting to sway familial allegiances. These revelations serve as emotional turning points, exposing deeper layers of the characters.

Family play games on the table - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The playful tricks and strategic moves create a dynamic atmosphere, infusing the film with comedic elements while highlighting the complexities of post-breakup interactions. As Graham and Ali navigate this competitive game, their actions not only entertain but also contribute to the overall arc of rediscovering love amid holiday chaos.

EXmas, through these clever maneuvers, invites us into a world where love, rivalry, and family dynamics intersect, creating a tapestry of emotions that unfolds with the charm of a Christmas rom-com. The tricks played by Graham and Ali serve as narrative catalysts, propelling the story forward in unexpected and entertaining ways.

Existence of Spark Between Ali and Graham

Ali and Graham's interactions are laced with the remnants of their past love. The sweet fights, where they playfully try to outsmart each other, evoke a sense of familiarity and affection. These bickerings, though fueled by rivalry, often reveal the underlying tenderness that still exists between them.

Moments of intimacy between Ali and Graham offer glimpses into their shared past. Despite attempts to move on, the warmth and familiarity resurface during private moments, indicating a lingering connection that goes beyond the surface.

Ali and Graham Confess to each other - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The introduction of new love interests triggers moments of jealousy that speak volumes about the ongoing spark. Both Ali and Graham, despite their attempts to move on, find it challenging to witness each other with someone else, unveiling the depth of their emotions.

A pivotal moment in the film unfolds when Graham and Ali succumb to the rekindled physical intimacy. This act serves as a poignant realization that their connection goes beyond rivalry and still holds the elements of passion and desire.

Graham and Ali shake hands - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

As the story progresses, confessions and apologies become vehicles for expressing deeper feelings. Graham's acknowledgment of his shortcomings and Ali's admission about feeling neglected in their past relationship unveils vulnerabilities, reinforcing the idea that the spark never truly diminished.

The existence of a spark between Ali and Graham becomes a central theme, interwoven with the festive charm of Christmas. Despite the playful rivalry and attempts to move on, the film portrays love as a resilient force, capable of withstanding misunderstandings and time.

Incident Leading to Reunion

The festive spirit takes a somber turn when Dennis collapses on the ice, facing a cardiac arrest. This unexpected and intense moment initiates chain of events that reshapes the priorities of the characters.

In a moment of crisis, Graham steps into the role of a hero, administering CPR to save his father's life. This act not only showcases Graham's courage and quick thinking but also becomes a symbol of the unconditional love that family members hold for each other.

As the family rushes to the hospital, Graham undergoes a profound realization about the fragility of life and the significance of familial bonds. The juxtaposition of his dedication to work against the backdrop of his father's health scare prompts Graham to reassess his priorities.

Graham's epiphany leads to a significant decision – he quits his job, recognizing that the pursuit of career success should not come at the cost of neglecting his responsibilities to his family and his relationship with Ali.

In the aftermath of Dennis' health scare, Graham's perspective undergoes a transformative shift. Realizing the depth of his love for Ali and acknowledging his past shortcomings, Graham decides to pursue Ali and declare his undying love.

The incident becomes a poignant reminder of life's unpredictability and the need to prioritize what truly matters. Graham's journey from a career-centric focus to a profound understanding of the importance of love and family ties encapsulates the film's underlying message.

EXmas, through this incident, portrays a powerful narrative of redemption and the ability of a life-altering event to bring about positive change.

Resolution of the Bet and Apologies

Following the family hockey match and Dennis' health scare, Graham grapples with self-blame. His introspection leads him to acknowledge his neglect of familial and relational responsibilities, stemming from an excessive focus on his career.

Ali and Graham in the Kitchen - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Ali, recognizing the importance of transparency in relationships, decides to end the playful game between her and Graham. Understanding that honesty is paramount, she confesses that the bet needs to cease, and the competitive maneuvers should give way to genuine communication.

The resolution of the bet sets the stage for mutual apologies between Graham and Ali. Both acknowledge their roles in the complexities of their past relationship, expressing remorse for the misunderstandings and hurt caused. The apologies pave the way for a fresh start built on understanding and forgiveness.

In a heartfelt confession, Graham admits that Ali has "humped some sense" into him. While Graham initially attributes this newfound awareness to Ali's influence, she requests a genuine apology. Graham's realization that he owes Ali an apology marks a significant turning point in their journey toward reconciliation.

The family, witnessing this sincere exchange, becomes a backdrop for the resolution. Their collective support reinforces the idea that relationships are not only about the individuals involved but also about the network of love and encouragement that surrounds them.

Graham and Ali Happy Ending - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The bet, initially a source of rivalry, concludes with an unexpected twist. Graham's supposed gifts for the family turn out to be last-minute neck pillows from LAX, adding a touch of humor to the resolution. The unveiling becomes a moment of lightheartedness amid the emotional intensity.

The resolution of the bet and the subsequent apologies form the bedrock for Ali and Graham's renewed connection. It signifies a departure from the competitive dynamics, making room for sincere introspection and a commitment to building a healthier, more transparent relationship.

Ending Explained

The climactic moment arrives when Graham, propelled by the newfound understanding of his priorities, rushes to the airport to declare his undying love for Ali. The heart-to-heart conversation outside the airport serves as the backdrop for their final reconciliation. Both Graham and Ali express their love and regret, leading to a poignant reunion that solidifies their commitment to each other.

A recurring mystery throughout the film involves the disappearance of the baby Jesus figurine from the nativity scene. The revelation that the neighbor's dog was the culprit adds a touch of humor to the narrative. The missing baby Jesus, symbolizing the unexpected twists in life, serves as a subtle metaphor for the unpredictability of relationships.

Ali in Graham's parents house - Exmas - Amazon Prime Video
Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The film's ending extends beyond the reconciliation of Graham and Ali to depict a heartwarming family Christmas celebration. The family's visit to Ali's place and Graham's thoughtful gift – a starter truck for Ali's baked goods business – reinforces the idea of love, support, and shared joy during the holiday season.

A glimpse into the future, two years later, shows Graham inviting Jeannie's ex, Heather, to their Christmas dinner, completing a circle of sweet revenge. This touch of humor adds a light-hearted element to the ending, emphasizing the evolving dynamics within the extended family.

The concluding scenes fast-forward two years, revealing that Graham and Ali are engaged once again. Graham surprises Ali with a food truck, embodying his commitment to making time for their relationship. The ending beautifully encapsulates their journey from estrangement to a rekindled love, emphasizing the growth and resilience of their relationship.

In essence, EXmas concludes with a blend of heartfelt moments, humor, and the quintessential Christmas cheer. The film's ending resonates with the spirit of forgiveness, love, and the belief that, during the holiday season, even the most complicated relationships can find redemption and joy.

Wrapping Up with Personal Reflection

While the Christmas rom-com, Exmas, has its share of flaws, its lighthearted and festive appeal manages to overshadow them during the holiday season. The plot of EXmas occasionally feels abrupt and lacks a seamless flow. The occurrences in the film seem sudden, and the transitions between scenes are not always well-crafted. The narrative tends to rely on clichés and predictable romantic comedy tropes, diminishing the element of surprise.

However, the film's saving grace lies in its ability to capture the essence of Christmas merriment. The festive backdrop, combined with humorous moments and heartwarming family dynamics, creates an atmosphere that resonates with the cheerful spirit of the holidays. The film successfully wraps the audience in a warm blanket of Christmas joy, allowing them to overlook certain plot shortcomings.

The flaws in the plot are skillfully concealed by the festive vibe of EXmas. The film becomes a pleasant escape into the world of holiday cheer, where love, forgiveness, and family take center stage.

In conclusion, EXmas, manages to deliver an enjoyable Christmas experience. The film's heart lies in its celebration of love, family, and the magical moments that define the holiday season.

Watch 'EXmas' on Amazon Prime Video.

'EXmas' (2023) Explained From Breakup to Breakthrough & Ending

Author: Lia Chez

Author/Writer - Lia Chez

Say hello to Lia Chez! When she's not basking under the sun or owning the city's nightlife, Lia's living her dream life. With a passion for fashion-tech and a heart tuned to pop beats, she's our style and music maven. Lia delves deep into the American music scene, Movies & TV Shows, dishing out the juiciest entertainment news with a dash of humor. With her, every day's a beach bash, and every night's a city lights spectacle!

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