Dolly Parton’s CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Alex
The film opens in the square of a small town, Fullerville. A homeless woman (Dolly Parton) asks for change and begins singing a song about “what Christmas is”. Soon the entire town begins singing and dancing about “Christmas on the square”. The cold Regina Fuller (Christine Baranski) arrives into town a few months after her father’s funeral, ready to serve eviction notices to the entire town, despite the protests of her assistant Felicity (Jeanine Mason).
Regina’s first stop is Pastor Christian Hathaway (Josh Segarra) and his wife Jenna (Mary Lane Haskell) who have been having fertility issues and deeply want a child. Regina tells them that she’s sold the town, and that the biggest mall in middle America will be built where they are standing. She is serving everyone an eviction notice and a check giving them all settlements for relocation. Regina then goes to the local hair salon to see her old friend Margeline (Jennifer Lewis), serving her, her eviction, upsetting Margeline.
Regina then walks by Carl’s (Treat Williams) general store, and has a flashback of them being young and in love. She wants to move on, since it’s a painful memory. She ignores the homeless woman asking for change. The town is devastated, having all been given eviction notices, and sing “say farewell to Christmas”. The townspeople, led by Christian, put up a large sign for a “Resist Regina” meeting, hopeful she will see it. Christian and Jenna sing a song declaring their love for each other.
Margeline comes to Regina’s for a hair appointment. Margeline sings a song admonishing Regina for what she’s done, wondering where the old Regina with a heart went. She tells her straight that she needs to change or she won’t have any friends and not to be the queen of mean. She tells her to do her own damn hair and leaves. Meanwhile, Regina is ignoring repeated calls from her doctor, Dr. Marshall.
Regina goes to see Carl to break the news, and he wonders why she never answered any of his calls or letters. She tells him people change. He doesn’t want to take the settlement check. She tells him it’s time to move on, and his store just sells secondhand broken things. He asks if that’s what she sees, and sings about all the items in the store and the memories they hold. Regina implores him to just take the check.
On the way out Regina finds her car covered in protest fliers. She knocks them all off, and the homeless woman magically appears, insisting she will get change out of her one way or another. When Regina drives off, the homeless woman sends a flier into Regina’s face, so she almost hits Dr. Marshall. He asks her to come by and discuss the results of her physical – she demands he just tell her, and he says there was a shadow on her brain scan. She says she will come see him the next day.
That night, the homeless woman appears in Regina’s home, now a glowing angel – named Angel. She sings that sometimes people need angels to help them, and tells her that father used to love watching the lamps being lit in the square. She sings about lighting lamps to guide the way. Regina remembers her father, as Angel tells her that her father lit a path for her, and she needs to follow it to find the part of her she lost.
At the church, the town gathers and sings that Regina is “the wicked witch of the middle” and try to come up with plans to thwart her. Regina arrives and tells everyone that when her father died responsibility for the town fell to her, and she’s doing what is best for everyone. The townspeople all yell at her, criticizing her, and Regina tells them the new deadline to move out is Christmas Eve – tomorrow. The town sings a song declaring they will come together and persevere.
Regina stops at a bar where the bartender is a little girl named Violet. Violet charms Regina and sings that “life is not a fairy tale”, which Regina agrees with, joining her in song. Violet says her dad told her that the wicked witch of the middle is responsible for her mom’s death, because she didn’t give the drugstore a break on her rent. Violet had a fever, and her mother had to drive twenty minutes to get her medication and was killed in an accident. Violet says it’s actually her fault because she had the fever. Regina insists that’s not true, just as Violet’s dad Mack (Matthew Johnson) comes home. Regina sings wondering if she’s a bad person.
At home, Regina flashes back to her father being so excited about building the town and telling her one day she’ll be the one running it. Later, Angel appears to Felicity, who it turns out is an angel-in-training. Angel tells Felicity she has not been successful yet on her job to change Regina’s heart, and she has not yet achieved the status of angel. After Regina is mean to Felicity, Felicity wants to quit and give up. Angel sings that “everybody needs an angel” and that she needs to do her job.
Felicity drives Regina across town, and they pass the high school, where Regina remembers attending her first dance.
She sees Carl giving another girl a ring, so she dances with another boy and abandons Carl. She then gets pregnant, and her father tells her she needs to go away for a while. She later finds out that the ring Carl had was for her, but she was pregnant and ashamed and rebuffed him again. Then her father took her baby from her as she cried and gave it up for adoption. She couldn’t stand being around her father and got as far away as she possibly could. Angel shows Regina how her father agonized over the decision. Angel tells her that everyone makes mistakes and its impossible to forgive others if you haven’t forgiven yourself.
Regina gets her brain scan at the hospital. As she exits, Violet is being brought in on an ambulance after she and Mack were in a hit by a hit-and-run driver. Regina tells Felicity to call for one of the best doctors and fly them there. She calls out to Angel and asks her to please help Violet, she can have her life. Angel tells Felicity phase one of changing Regina is complete, changing her heart. She tells Felicity phase two is to get her heart to change her mind.
Mack sings to Violet as she lays in her hospital bed, then the pediatric surgeon Regina flew in arrives. Regina asks Felicity to drive her to Carl’s store – Angel appears and tells Felicity that Regina isn’t ready, but Felicity ignores her advice and takes Regina anyway. Regina tries to rekindle things with Carl, but he tells her their past is in the past and it’s too late. She buys her father’s old lantern from him and leaves, saddened.
The town closes all their stores for the night and begin packing their things. Angel watches over them and sings. She appears over Violet and wakes her up and appears over Jenna and touches her stomach. Regina lights her father’s lantern and asks him to light a path for her. In her father’s notes she finds the details of her adoption and discovers her child is Christian. She nearly hits Dr. Marshall with her car again, where he tells her her test results came in clear and she is healthy. She tells Christian about being his mother and gives him her father’s lantern.
At church, Christian tells the congregation that Violet woke up. He gives his sermon about a young girl giving up a child for adoption. He introduces Regina to the congregation to his mother, to everyone’s shock. Angel sings and tells Regina she’s the answer to her father’s prayer. Regina speaks to everyone and explains that she wanted to uphold her father’s dreams for the town, but life and death happened. She sings and asks for forgiveness. She says she wants the lights in the square shining, and tells everyone she’s not selling the town and they rejoice.
As the town celebrates, Violet arrives having recovered. Gary asks Regina to dance, and the lantern lights by itself. Angel and Felicity, now an angel, watch over everyone. Angel tells the audience to “light your light”.
Regina (Christine Baranski) returns to her hometown, which was left to her by her father, and tells the townspeople they are being evicted and given settlements to relocate. The town, led by Pastor Christian (Josh Segarra), tries to figure out a way to resist, while an Angel (Dolly Parton) and angel-in-training Felicity (Jeanine Mason) try to get through to Regina's heart. It is revealed Regina had a baby as a teenager she was forced to give up by her father, and she forgives her father and herself, discovers the baby is Christian and decides not to sell the town after all.