Ahh Christmas… it’s the most wonderful time of the year! Usually with all the cheer, tends to come a horde of terrible Christmas films designed to be entertainment for the entire family. I can confidently say that Dash & Lily, on the other hand, shines as a delightful Christmas coming-of-age rom-com that you can share with your entire family.
This series is a whirlwind Christmas romance that builds as cynical Dash and optimistic Lily trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations all across New York City finding they have more in common with each other than they would have expected.
Meet Dash & Lily…
Based on the book, Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, the series is an ode to Christmas in New York. The streets are filled with people, the lights are gorgeous, carolers deck the streets, it is most definitely a Christmas Wonderland. The series incorporates New York in such a manner that the city not only guest star in this love story, it shines as lead.
Executive producer, Joe Tracz, puts it perfectly; “When I read Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, it felt like New York. It wasn’t just the specificity of the locations, it was the way the book captured the spirit of the city – the sense of possibility tinged with loneliness, and the way they both seem to magnify around the holidays.” If you loved Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, You’ve Got Mail or When Harry Met Sally, you’ll find that similar cheer in this series.
Dash & Lily was shot in New York during Christmas 2019 and of course, none of us had a clue that this year would look so much different. Shawn Levy, who joins Joe Tracz and Nick Jonas (yes, from the Jonas Brothers) as executive producers describe it best; “ Right now it’s bittersweet for everyone to watch movies and shows set in a pre-Coronavirus world. It feels like a time capsule. And certainly, the bustle of New York City in Dash & Lily is a reminder of a simpler time. And I hope it’s also a reminder of a time that we will someday get back to.”
… And fall in love
Dash & Lily is a beautifully, wholesome love story that even your grandma will enjoy. Why do I keep hammering on this aspect? Because every Christmas I struggle to find something to watch with the entire family moving in and out of the house. There is nothing more embarrassing than having your parents walk in on a NSFW scene and you have to fumble for the remote.
That being said, don’t mistake Dash & Lily for fluff. If you are a lover of literature, you’ll appreciate references to great authors and their work, and more importantly the source materials’ understanding thereof. However, if literature is not your thing, don’t worry, the series is also not burdened by these references and you will still be able to enjoy their race through the Big Apple.
The two lead actors, Austin Abrahms as Dash and Midori Francis as Lily, seemed to me like they were made to play these roles. Francis gives a dorky quirkiness to Lily’s “weird girl” heroine narrative, as well as a layered background story. The story seems at times to be very focussed on her. Abrahms, on the other hand, is fast becoming one of my new favourite actors, although he doesn’t get such a nuanced character in this series. You might remember him from Euphoria and if you are a fan like I am, you need to also check out Chemical Hearts on Prime Video where he stars next to Lili Reinhart.