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A Christmas Switch

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
A Christmas Switch Movie Poster Image
Unoriginal holiday story has some positive messages.
  • G
  • 2018
  • 90 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain and inspire rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Experiencing life in someone else's shoes brings a new perspective. It's valuable to have balance in one's life. Promotes importance of family, compassion, self-awareness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Two lead characters are solid people at heart -- determined, hardworking, honest, and loving, though each has something to learn. The male characters are supportive, caring, good dads. One African American featured player.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults have a glass of wine in two scenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Christmas Switch is a comedy about two moms -- one a wealthy, high-powered businesswoman, the other a hardworking waitress with little time for herself -- who magically change places just before Christmas. Scenes about the challenges and absurdities of trying to take on someone else's identity go hand in hand with messages about the value of family, finding balance in life, and examining priorities. Adults have a glass of wine in two scenes. 

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What's the story?

Audrey Turner (Jackie Seiden) is overworked, overscheduled, and worried about money in A CHRISTMAS SWITCH. She's given up her lifelong musical ambition to be a devoted wife to Paul (Houston Rhines) and mom to young daughter Kelly (Cleary Herzlinger). Julia Samson (Ashley Wood) is overworked, overscheduled, and worried about her business. She has little time for her family and almost seems to like it that way. Nothing has prepared either of them for the magical moment in a Christmas store, presided over by a mysterious "Mrs. Nick" (Annie Abbott). Two whispered wishes, a tug, a fall -- and suddenly it's the next day. Each wakes up in someone else's bed: alone, astounded, confused, and facing a stranger in the mirror. As they slowly learn the truth about their predicament and negotiate their way into the lives of another, concern about how and why it happened gives way to the magic of finding out about themselves.

Is it any good?

A cheery Christmas ambiance, an adorable little girl, and other effective performances have to make up for some careless plotting in this timeworn tale of trading places. In a movie that already demands a substantial willingness to suspend disbelief, the script gives short shrift to logic. Convenient performances on a stage in a small diner so that a music mogul can pop in to hear a waitress sing? A decidedly middle-class family who can't afford a $9 toy but has a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with an array of gaily wrapped gifts beneath it?

On the bright side (and the movie IS bright), Cleary Herzlinger as 4-year-old Kelly Turner is delightful without being precocious. And while the rich woman has a lot more to take away from her experience in A Christmas Switch than the struggling one, the two actresses give it their all. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of movies in which characters trade places. What makes A Christmas Switch funny? Do you think the characters learn more about themselves or about the folks whose body they inhabited? Explain. 

  • At what point did you know exactly how this movie would end? What elements make a film enjoyable in spite of its predictability?

  • Find out what it means to "willingly suspend disbelief." When did you "agree" to suspend your disbelief in this movie? 

  • What's this movie's message about the importance of finding balance in life? 

Movie details

For kids who love the holidays

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