A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids can see how people lived in Ireland in 1913, where scarcity and Catholic faith were the norm. The siblings in the film know to reference an atlas at the library to find out more about Australia's location.
Social classes don't matter much to kids. Happiness is worth more than gold. Wishes and prayers can come true. "Hold your tongue to hold your friends." It's better to give than receive. Be grateful for what you have.
Positive Role Models
Angela and Pat show resourcefulness and a positive attitude in the search for their dad. The family has little but they are rich in love for each other. The kids help their mother with chores and she rallies energy when they ask for a story. When Angela does earn a few dollars, she spends it on socks for her neighbor's cow rather than the doll she's long wanted. She shows her generosity as well by making a deal with the local vet to help birth the cow for free. Dorothy's biggest wish is for her busy dad to pay her more attention. He ignores her and cruelly dashes the other children's hopes for bringing their father home. Mam tells a fable about the value of happiness.
Violence & Scariness
The kids sneak into an industrial dock and nearly onto a boat before they're caught. Nobody is hurt.
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"Holy Mother of Mary," "Scaredy-cat," "Mother of God."
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Products & Purchases
A main message of the film is that money cannot buy you happiness. Dorothy's family is wealthy and they serve fancy cakes and tea in a big, warm house. Angela's family is poor and four kids share one room and few toys. The vet reads the Limerick Leader newspaper, which still exists today.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Men gather in a pub and hold large mugs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Angela's Christmas Wish continues the adventures of the animated characters inspired by novelist Frank McCourt. References are made to the first film, Angela's Christmas, but you don't have to have seen it to appreciate this sequel. Set in Limerick, Ireland, in 1913, the movie's setting and conditions could feel unfamiliar or even a bit sad to very young viewers, and there are some emotional scenes. But the ending is happy for all of the characters, including main character Angela (voiced by Lucy O'Connell) and her siblings. The contrast between the circumstances of Angela's poor family/neighbors and those of the wealthy family of the local vet is evident, but the message here is that money doesn't buy happiness, just as scarcity doesn't necessarily bring misery. Angela and her siblings make do with very little, but they have rich imaginations, demonstrate resourcefulness and generosity, and they're clearly well loved. Angela and her brother try raising money by singing in a local pub, and they face potential dangers when they try to sneak onto a boat, but the film has no seriously scary or iffy content. Language includes "Holy mother of Mary," "scaredy-cat," and "mother of God." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Has there even been a more endearing hero than the wide-eyed, red-ponytailed title character of Angela's Christmas Wish? You can't help but root for her from the start, and when her wish is granted at the end and her animated and freckled face twists in shock, relief, and joy, only the most stoic of viewers will resist a tear. Angela is kind, hopeful, and determined. When she errs, she does so with the best of intentions.
As scripted by writer-director Damien O'Connor, based on characters from Angela's Ashes author Frank McCourt, the reality of the poverty around Angela's family only makes the character's sweetness and generosity more moving. Secondary characters are memorable, especially an old man with a pregnant cow but empty coffers and a blind accordion player busking for coins. The animated settings, like the central church and cobbled streets, bring a blue-tinged, December-chilled Limerick to life.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.