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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that All I Want for Christmas Is You is an animated movie based on Mariah Carey's same-named popular song and 2015 children's book. Carey narrates as a grown-up Mariah "recalling" a childhood story in which her younger self first learned about the joys and misadventures of owning a dog. Sparkling depictions of an extended family, including distinctive grandparents and younger siblings, as well as a pesky dog's antics (including bouts of vomiting and pooping) provide both laughs and moments of tenderness. Several of Carey's holiday songs are integrated into the story, too. Expect a few pratfalls -- tumbles in the snow and on a skating pond, characters upended by the naughty dog -- but nothing scary. The movie also has something to say about expectations, responsibilities, and the notion of perfection. It's safe and fun for all ages.
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What's the story?
Little Mariah (wonderfully voiced by Breanna Yde) has the same wish every year in ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU: a puppy. But her dad is allergic and her mom's a clean freak, so it never happens. Not until Mariah's grandma steps in, encourages Mariah to keep trying, and takes her to see Princess, the "perfect" puppy at a store. Mariah is obsessed with the little dog -- planning, preparing, and Hoping (with a capital "H"). So, when Mariah's dad brings home a trial dog (said to be the pet of an uncle going on vacation) and tells Mariah that if she proves that she can take full responsibility for this "temporary" dog, she'll get Princess for Christmas, the little girl is ecstatic. Of course, she can do it! That is, until she sees what chaos "Jack" brings with him. Oh, he's cute and smart, but what a trickster, what a naughty boy he is! He has an iffy stomach and an ability to make a mess of just about everything, Frustrated, horrified, and even humiliated by the little dog's antics, Mariah is overwhelmed. Does she have what it takes to be a responsible pet owner?
Is it any good?
A very likable little heroine, a trouble-making dog, and an ethnically diverse, extended family of unique, engaging characters keep the giggles coming and warm the heart by the story's end. The creative team brings Mariah Carey's book to life with style and spirit. All of the performances, including the kids', are excellent. Carey's songs and narration are well-integrated into the upbeat tale. A subplot featuring Grandpa Bill's (Henry Winkler) competition with a neighbor over Christmas decorations that light up the neighborhood is fun as well. What's more, Little Mariah learns something as she struggles to master the art of responsible pet care. All I Want for Christmas Is You is a sweet addition to holiday movies for young families.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making books into movies. Have you read All I Want for Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey? If you have, did the movie bring the book to life for you? If you haven't read it, did watching this movie motivate you to read the book? Where would you go to find it? Does your family use your local library to find books you want to read and/or to find new books that look good to you?
What did Little Mariah mean when she said, "I didn't have to be perfect and the dog didn't have to be perfect." How is being perfect different from doing the best you can do?
What inspired Mariah to change her mind about Princess near the end of All I Want for Christmas Is You? Was it just because of the little boy's disappointment, or were other things on the little girl's mind?
- On DVD or streaming: November 14, 2017
- Cast: Mariah Carey, Breanna Yde, Henry Winkler
- Director: Guy Vasilovich
- Studio: Universal Studios
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Holidays, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Empathy
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
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