Angela's Christmas

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

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 22 reviews

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 5 reviews

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though very young heroine makes a mistake, it's based on her sense of empathy, duty, resolve. She's resourceful, forgiving, brave, generous. Adults (including a police officer) are compassionate, responsible, wise. Set in Ireland, 1914; 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

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

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 the mild suspense unsettling. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3 and 6-year-old Written bytmsetzer83 July 11, 2019

Sweet holiday movie

My kids, 3&5 loved this movie this past holiday season. I'm very careful with what they watch as they can be sensitive to scary or mean characters.... Continue reading
Parent of a 6-year-old Written bymeladie January 9, 2019

Short and sweet Christmas movie

This movie let's you slow down a bit. It gives you time to think but it's not too slow. It has more than one message and they are all appropriate for... Continue reading
Kid, 5 years old March 26, 2021
Teen, 13 years old Written bykotlc_rocks123 January 30, 2021

Too religious

If you aren’t religious it might be too much for kids. but otherwise it’s sweet.

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 6 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 30 minutes of storytelling. 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 OK to do the wrong thing for the right reasons? 

  • What character strengths were on display here?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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