December 19, 2016 — It is rare that holiday cheer is actually this cheery.
Christmas in the Clouds is a heart-warming romantic comedy set in a Utah ski resort that is owned and run by Native Americans.
Joe Clouds on Fire (Sam Vlahos), the owner has been using an online dating service to connect with a woman; Tina Pisati (MariAna Tosca), whose last name is Little Hawk, is arriving to spend the holiday at the resort. The only problem is that when Joe described himself, he took 30 years off of his age. So when she arrives, she thinks Joe’s son, Ray Clouds on Fire (Tim Vahle) is the one she has been corresponding with.
Of course, Ray has not been told what is going on. And the resort has been put on notice — a critic for luxury hotels is arriving to review the report. When Tina arrives, he thinks she is the critic.
The critic is actually scruffy, inebriated Stu O’Malley (M. Emmet Walsh), who gets shunted into a budget room. But then, he’s so drunk he barely notices.
Joe is intentionally stand-offish with Tina, not wanting to pander to a critic; Tina, believing he wrote to get her out there, is confused by his apparent lack of interest.
Meanwhile, Earl, the resort’s chef (Graham Greene), has turned vegetarian and now insists on telling all of the diners who order any kind of meat the names and the personalities of the animals butchered for their meals.
The cast is made up primarily of Native American actors and the romantic comedy plot features them in roles that are not overworked classic Native American stereotypes. The New York Times stated, “…the writer and director, Kate Montgomery, deserves credit for portraying modern Native Americans who are neither alcoholics nor oracles of folk wisdom. And when will we have another chance to see the fearsome Wes Studi (“The Last of the Mohicans”) calling out bingo numbers instead of war cries?”
And Roger Ebert.com gave it a thumbs up, saying “Christmas in the Clouds” is part romantic comedy, part screwball comedy, and part historic breakthrough. The history is made because the movie is about affluent Native American yuppies. So many movies about American Indians deal in negative stereotypes that it’s nice to find one that takes place at an upscale Indian-owned ski resort. The only alcoholic in the cast is a white undercover investigator for a guide book.
The award-winning Christmas in the Clouds was featured at The Sundance Film Festival.
Christmas in the Clouds is available on DVD and Blu-Ray, or you can stream it immediately with your Amazon Prime membership.