A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
People are more important than possessions. Community and family fill a life. Success and wealth give people the luxury of being generous.
Positive Role Models
Sophie is lonely when she arrives in a small village in Scotland, but the community of knitting friends at the local pub take her in as one of their own. They're generous with their support, and in return she's generous with her wealth. Myles lives alone with his butler, Thomas, in a large castle and has grown into a surly loner, though he's also generous with the tenants of his farmlands. Thomas supports his boss (and friend) Myles.
Set in Scotland, the film falls back on some stereotypes of Scots involving pubs, kilts, folk dances, and more. Some characters are Black. A man is said to have stopped talking from grief after his husband died.
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Violence & Scariness
An author describes all the crazy ways she could have killed off a male character.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing. It's suggested a couple sleeps together. A man is seen from the waist up in a bathtub.
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"Ass," "arse," "daft," "bugger," "moron," "sod," and some other local terms all revolving around being an "idiot."
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Products & Purchases
Saks Fifth Avenue, Mac, The Drew Barrymore Show, VW.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
People spend a lot of time in a pub drinking whiskey. Adults drink wine and champagne in other scenes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the Scotland-set A Castle for Christmas is pretty friendly-family fare, though it isn't likely to interest the youngest. While it's a romance, there's more sparring than kissing (just a couple of kisses and it's suggested that two characters are retiring to a bedroom to sleep together). The main characters are late middle-aged, and they're both at a crossroads in life, but experience has shown them that community, family, and people are more important than possessions. One successful character is generous with her money. Adults drink alcohol regularly, from wine and champagne to whiskey at the local pub, where the town's characters hang out. Language includes "ass," "arse," "daft," "bugger," "moron," "sod," and some other local terms revolving around being an "idiot." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
With all the hallmarks of, well, a Hallmark movie, this Scottish-set romance stumbles --despite likable characters -- because of a predictable story and some typecasting. Viewers of a certain age might be curious about A Castle for Christmas thanks to the pairing of stars Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes. Attractive and charismatic, they both do their best with the material, and some of their flirtatious sparring is cute. But Elwes in particular is straddled with a poorly-developed character and a laborious accent. Why the production put two England-born Brits in the lead male roles as Scots, with one of them wearing kilts even as he does house chores, is anyone's guess.
Be warned, Scottish viewers: you are once again depicted as merry, folk-dancing, whiskey-drinking, plaid-wearing pub-dwellers. Meanwhile, the arrival of the wealthy American who will bring this village and its castle back to life is played entirely straight. The Christmas timing is also gratuitous. There's a scene where two characters checking into the inn are given lingering attention. Why? Were they written out of the final film but their intro left in? It's confusing. Still, there's something refreshing about a silver screen romance starring late middle-aged actors, and the film's locations and folksy music are appealing.
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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.