Parents' Guide to

12 Dog Days Till Christmas

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Well-intentioned tale about foster child has heavy themes.

Movie NR 2014 88 minutes
12 Dog Days Till Christmas Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

Amazingly Terrible

The acting is terrible. Some of the lines are almost unbearable. The storyline is a little rocky, and some of the story's morals are questionable. You would almost think a group of high schoolers wrote and filmed it. But. I could not stop watching it. I had to finish it. Not going to lie, there is such an awkward charm about this movie that I ended up watching all the way through till the very end. I dare say, I would recommend it, but only because it has an undeniable charm almost like a home movie you would make with your siblings. I rated this movie as disappointing because it disappointed my expectations of a Hollywood movie. Although, if I were to rate this on a scale of "terrible, but strangely charming", I would give it four and a half stars. Worth the watch, but in a strange way.
age 8+

Loved it

Very cute movie with a great theme. It's a TV movie, so it has some issues with pacing and acting, but it was still very good.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This movie has something to say about second chances, but the addition of a few more experienced actors, like Vel Johnson, would have improved this movie enormously. Its heart is in the right place though as it emphasizes the bad hand dealt to so many innocent children whose only crime was being born to addicts or irresponsible shirkers. The movie paints a fairly complimentary view of foster care, a system often portrayed in the media as seedy, mercenary, and sometimes downright cruel. The foster parents portrayed here are good people doing their best to help kids in need. Jack and his foster siblings are housed in a large, decent home governed by decent grownups who set rules and truly seem to care. Never having been adopted, and on the verge of aging out of the system, Jack feels alienated and alone. Worst of all, he fears that he will one day be as unreliable and hopeless as his mother. With the support of a saintlike probation officer who sees the good in Jack, the boy begins to develop empathy for others as he works with unlucky dogs and the shelter employees who open their hearts to him. Shakespeare is quoted and reading books is viewed as a fun and productive activity. What 12 Dog Days Till Christmas lacks in polish and Hollywood finesse, it makes up for in good intentions and generosity. In a nice reversal of media stereotypes, a solid, middle-class black family takes on a troubled white boy, sharing with him their love and family values.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate