An Evergreen Christmas

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
An Evergreen Christmas Movie Poster Image
Well-meaning but generic holiday story with mature themes.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 99 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Promotes positive values of family, teamwork, shared faith, and striving for goals: "Family is what matters most."

Positive Role Models & Representations

A basically good young woman returns to her roots, her values, and her family. She learns to trust her own instincts, assert her independence, and accept personal responsibility. For the most part, "small town" folk are shown in a better light than "big city" dwellers. An effort is made to provide ethnic diversity throughout.

Violence

A man rages at his teen daughter and belittles her; later she has bruises on her arms. Though we don't see him drinking, he is brutal and appears to be inebriated in several scenes. Two men angrily face off with a baseball bat and a rifle; actual violence is avoided.

Sex

One sweet kiss. A brief discussion occurs concerning sleeping arrangements for an unmarried couple. They share a bed but are never seen there together.

Language

A few insults: "tramp," "butt." An obviously racist man sneers at a boy of Mayan heritage and calls him an "illegal."

Consumerism

Tom's chips, Snyder's pretzels, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, Giant Penny stores, Satya Records.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Young adults drink at a bar; one man becomes drunk. It's suggested that a mean bully drinks; he appears to be inebriated in several scenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that An Evergreen Christmas is intended to be an uplifting holiday movie, strongly promoting simple values of family, community, and personal responsibility ... and showcasing its star, Charleene Closshey, a composer, musician, and singer. The well-worn concept of big-city shallowness and self-absorption versus the authenticity and integrity of small-town living is at the heart of this film. Serious themes -- the death of a parent, racism, and abandonment -- emerge as a young woman reevaluates her life and her purpose. The opening scene shows a man collapsing and dying; his funeral follows soon after. Then much of the story concerns his family's grief, their adjustment, and the economic turmoil surrounding that death. A brutal father with a racist agenda threatens his teen daughter with violence in several scenes, one of which later results in bruises on her arms, though the actual abuse is not shown. The film has a racially diverse cast and contains a few scenes with drinking and drunkenness.

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What's the story?

Evie Lee (Charleene Closshey) went to Los Angeles some years ago to pursue her dream of becoming a singing star. By the time we meet her in AN EVERGREEN CHRISTMAS, she's all but given up that goal and is working as an assistant for a demanding rock diva. When her father suddenly dies on the family Christmas tree farm in Tennessee, Evie is devastated. Taking her struggling-actor boyfriend with her, she returns home to grieve along with her grandfather, his wife, and her younger brother. Evie is stunned to learn that, as the eldest child, she is now responsible for the farm. Estate taxes threaten to leave the family penniless, and they most certainly will have to sell. Although the excitement of the city and the boyfriend are calling her back to Los Angeles, Evie realizes she'll have to make the heavy decisions for her family. Calling upon her almost-forgotten inner strength, old friends, and a town she once loved, Evie sets out to establish new priorities and new dreams and rebuild relationships with those she'd left behind.

Is it any good?

The story is familiar; the resolutions (and there are several) are predictable. Some good actors have their work cut out for them when there's no subtlety in either the storyline or dialogue. As a result, one-dimensional stereotypes include a wannabe Hollywood actor, a diva pop-musical star, a greedy businesswoman, an ignorant racist bully, and a prickly but loving grandfather who relies heavily on his faith and his gun. Small-town life is idealized; big government wants to destroy the farmer and his family by extracting that last dollar from a dead man. Ms. Closshey, recognized as a talented musician, wrote the music, participated in the filmmaking, and clearly wants to add acting to her résumé; it’s an adequate effort. Overall it's an OK but uninspired film for older kids and teens that's unlikely to inspire multiple viewings.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes a "holiday movie." What are some common themes and outcomes that viewers find appealing? 

  • What are some of your family's favorite holiday films? Do you have any movies that you watch year after year? What makes them special?

  • What does it mean when a movie is referred to as "predictable?" There were several storylines in this film. Did any of them have unexpected resolutions, or did you know all along how each of them would end?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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