A Christmas Star

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
A Christmas Star Movie Poster Image
Star-studded Irish holiday movie is clichéd but sweet.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 77 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

Love is a miracle and brings people together. Everyone deserves a second chance. A disabled character is treated respectfully by the other characters and the film.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Spud-Bob shows that kids with disabilities are just like other kids and deserve to be treated the same. Although Junior treats Noelle badly, he learns the true meaning of "manning up," which is doing the right thing.

Violence & Scariness

A man on a motorcycle purposefully swerves toward people. A kid hits a man in the head with a soccer ball on purpose. Some thugs walk threateningly toward Noelle.

Sexy Stuff

There's a labor scene, but nothing graphic is shown. A married couple kisses. Talk about a character asking another character to marry him, and some light flirting.

Language

"For flip's sake," "idiot," and some other mild insults.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A group of adults drinks at a bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Christmas Star is an Irish Christmas film full of star cameos, including Rob James-Collier (Downton Abbey's Thomas Barrow) as the villain, Liam Neeson as the grumpy narrator, Pierce Brosnan as the scheming boss, and a brief flash of singer Kylie Minogue. This sweet holiday movie has a little slapstick violence (a hit to the head with a soccer ball), some mild language and name-calling ("for flip's sake," "idiot"), and a brief kiss between a married couple. There is a brief childbirth scene, but nothing graphic is shown. Expect the positive message that love is the real miracle and the positive portrayal of a character with disabilities.

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What's the story?

Noelle (Erin Galway-Kendrick), who was born on Christmas under the Christmas star, has the ability to perform miracles, spreading joy and cheer whenever anyone around her is angry or sad. When the wealthy and scheming McKerrod (Rob James-Collier) returns to her village with his son, Junior, determined to take over the snow globe factory and run the town, Noelle tries to use her miracle power to give this Grinch a little Christmas spirit. But when Noelle finds her miracles just aren't working, she has to find a way, along with her loyal friend Spud-Bob, to foil McKerrod's plans and save her village.

Is it any good?

Overacting, clichés, and cheesiness abound, but the movie's unapologetic sweetness make it a pretty enjoyable Christmas tale. Mostly it's due to the leads, who make A Christmas Star an entertaining watch. Noelle is endearing without being too sappy, and her loyal friend Spud-Bob is the perfect sidekick, always ready with a cute one-liner. It's also great to see a character with a disability (Spud-Bob is severely disabled) who's treated as just another character and not as a chance to throw in some token diversity. He's treated respectfully by the other characters and by the film, which, by itself, has a great message for kids watching it. Liam Neeson as the curmudgeonly narrator is also a nice touch, balancing out a little of the over-the-top sweetness.

Tweens and up will probably be bored by the obvious plot, but parents will love the wholesome Christmas cheer. And Downton Abbey fans might get a kick out of seeing Thomas the butler as the villain, though his over-the-top character is definitely not one of the film's highlights.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about characters with disabilities. How are they usually portrayed in films? Is Spud-Bob's portrayal a typical one or not? 

  • How is this a typical holiday movie? What themes and messages do most holiday movies share? How is this one different?

  • What's your favorite Christmas movie? Why is it your favorite?

Movie details

For kids who love the holidays

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