Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Angela's Christmas

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Angela's Christmas Movie Poster Image
Enchanting, affecting holiday tale has mild suspense.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 30 minutes
 Parents recommend

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Paints a simple picture of life in Ireland, 1914: sense of community, struggles of the country's poor families, religious devotion. 

Positive Messages

Strongly promotes family: the bond between parent and child and the bonds between siblings. Values stressed: generosity, courage, standing up for what is right, forgiveness, and community. A very poor family finds joy in the spirit of Christmas and their love for one another.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though the very young heroine makes a mistake, it's based on her sense of empathy, duty, and resolve. In addition, she's resourceful, forgiving, brave, and generous. Adults (including a police officer) are compassionate, responsible, and wise. Set in Ireland, 1914, there's no ethnic diversity.

Violence & Scariness

In a mildly spooky sequence, child thinks she may be in danger, sees threat in shadow of trees, someone "following" her. Men in bar laugh at her. Brother and sister scuffle, hit, tease.

Sexy Stuff
Language

Boy and little sister tease, name-call ("maggot").

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A short scene takes place in a bar where men are drinking alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Angela's Christmas is a short (30-minute) animated movie based on Angela and the Baby Jesus, the only children's book written by Angela's Ashes author Frank McCourt. The film is set in Limerick, Ireland, in 1914 and recounts an event in the life of McCourt's mother just before her sixth birthday. It tells a sweet, poignant, and ultimately heartwarming tale about family, community, and a little girl's empathy and resourcefulness. There are a few mildly tense moments as Angela hides from congregants in her church, then feels unsettled by shadows in a dark alley. Later she's chased by a policeman and momentarily scared of being sent to jail. Angela and her brother call each other names ("maggot") and scuffle; a few hits and kicks are landed, but the sequence ends in play. A short scene takes place in a bar, where men are drinking. Inspiring and funny, with gentle but important messages, the movie is highly recommended for all but the youngest or most sensitive kids, who might find even mild suspense unsettling. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBraidedLady December 14, 2018

Not gonna choose it again

There are a shortage of decent Christmas movies for children. My almost 3 year old was concerned when the brother and sister were fighting. And when the mom yel... Continue reading
Adult Written bybethaney December 10, 2018

Very sweet

My only complaint is when the mother exclaims "Mother of God!" and "Jesus!" when she finds Angela with the baby Jesus doll.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

It's a blustery Christmas Eve in Limerick, Ireland when ANGELA'S CHRISTMAS begins. Angela (voiced by Lucy O'Connell) is almost six years old. Her harried widowed mom (Ruth Negga) is struggling to get her four kids ready for church. Angela is fighting with Pat (Brendan Mullens), one of her two big brothers, which doesn't make things any easier. And the fact that they don't even have enough coats to fit everyone is troubling as well. It's very cold in St. Joseph's Catholic Church as Angela's family joins the worshippers. The little girl can't help but notice that baby Jesus, who lies only in a diaper in the Nativity scene's manger, must be freezing. It worries her so much that after the service, she secretly vows to make sure he's warm. As the narrator says, "Little ideas are often the seeds of big trouble." And so it is with Angela, who finds that her best intentions lead to an adventure she never expected.

Is it any good?

With its uplifting concept, inventive story, lovely animation, performances and music, this is a movie destined for repeat viewing by families who enjoy sharing holiday classics. Angela's Christmas packs a lot into thirty minutes of story-telling. Without any of the material trappings of the Christmas season, and with none of the modern conveniences and distractions, Angela's story is simple, heartfelt, funny, and well-told, a reminder of what holiday spirit and giving are all about.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the setting in Angela's Christmas. What did the movie tell you about Limerick, Ireland in 1914? About its people? Its kids? About how the community came together? Give some examples of how life there was different from our world today. Despite those differences, what feels familiar?

  • Pat and Angela were pretty typical as brother and sister. Did their fighting and name-calling seem real to you? What were Pat's true feelings about his sister? How did the movie show those true feelings? Have you ever had to stand up for a brother or sister? 

  • What made the priest change his mind about Angela at the movie's end? How did you know he wasn't mad at her anymore?

  • Why did Angela "steal" the baby Jesus? Can you think of a time when it might be okay to do the wrong thing for the right reasons? 

  • What character strengths were on display here?

Movie details

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love the holidays

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate