Angela's Christmas Wish

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Angela's Christmas Wish Movie Poster Image
 Parents recommend
Some emotional intensity in uplifting Ireland-set sequel.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 47 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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.

Sexy Stuff

"Holy Mother of Mary," "Scaredy-cat," "Mother of God."


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.

What 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."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 7-year-old Written byncullen12 December 22, 2020

Cute and short family movie

45 minute film about a father who leaves his family for Australia and how his children two years later are trying various ways to get him home for Christmas. My... Continue reading
Parent of a 5-year-old Written byJonathan F. December 28, 2020

Heartwarming 45 minute animated film

As a resident of Ireland, I connected to the premise of the story. We watched it all as a family on our Christmas vacation and everyone was enjoying watching an... Continue reading

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

What's the story?

In ANGELA'S CHRISTMAS WISH, Angela (voiced by Lucy O'Connell) and her siblings long for the return of their dad (Moe Dunford), who left for Australia two years ago. Deciding to take matters into their own hands and give their mom (Ruth Negga) a Christmas surprise, Angela and her brother Pat (Brendan Mullins) hatch plans to bring their dad home. When digging to Australia doesn't work, they consult an atlas and decide they'll take a train. When they're told that won't get them there, they opt for a ship. The film follows the pair as they explore their various ideas, raise funds for the trip, and involve the daughter (Lola Metcalfe) of the local vet in their plans. What they don't know is that their mom has her own Christmas surprise in store.

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.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the mother's story of the fat king and the skinny pauper in Angela's Christmas Wish. What was the moral of this story?

  • Where is Ireland? Can you find it and Australia on a map? How would people travel between these two countries today?

  • What did you learn about the time and place of this film's setting? How would you compare it to your life today?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

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