Girl befriends empathetic reindeer in gentle holiday tale.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blizzard is a 2003 Christmas story-within-a-story about the importance of friendship and how to cope with its loss. The death of a friend is reported. Adventurous Aunt Millie visits from Africa and tells a story to help her dear 10-year-old niece cope when her best friend moves away. The magic of Christmas, Santa, his elves, and the reindeer are the focus. The movie showcases the notion that it's okay to be different and emphasizes forgiveness and compassion.
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What's the Story?
BLIZZARD is the magical reindeer daughter of Blitzen and Delphi. Voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, she's a good-hearted renegade who doesn't obey the rules if it means ignoring those in need. From the far reaches of Santa's Village in the North Pole, she feels the pain of Katie (Zoe Warner), a poor young girl who lives to skate on her town's local rink. Otto Brewer (Jan Triska), a kindly retired Olympic figure skater, has taken Katie on and tutored her to a competitive level. But job loss sends Katie and her family to the city, with a daunting new school, and no place to skate but an expensive club full of bullying rich girls. Katie misses Otto and skating. Blizzard, who has all three of the rare magical reindeer powers, including "empathic navigation," feels Katie's pain and visits her, breaking the rule against contact with humans. When a rival ruins Katie's skates before an important competition, Blizzard "borrows" skates meant as a gift for another child, another major infraction. Eventually, Katie returns the skates and begs Santa (Christopher Plummer) for mercy on Blizzard's behalf. Santa agrees not to punish Blizzard but requires that the two never see each other again. This story is told as a flashback by Aunt Millie (Brenda Blethyn) to her niece Jess (Jennifer Pisana) to help Jess cope with the loss of her best friend and heal her broken heart.
Is It Any Good?
This story is nicely told, book-ended, like The Princess Bride, with an adult telling an illustrative story to a skeptical child who needs bucking up. The merits of being "different" are emphasized, as are the difficulties of moving, finding a place in a new school, and following a passion. Other kind messages are also touted. Santa notes that every society needs good rules, but too many rules can be a bad thing, and forgiveness is a great way to show compassion. Blizzard is a sweet tale that will resonate with grade-schoolers.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the way that Blizzard breaks the rules of Santa's village. Do you think her actions are okay since she broke rules in order to help people in need?
Is it helpful to hear stories about how other people have coped with difficulties? How so?
Have you had to move away from a friend? How did it make you feel?
- In theaters: December 24, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: October 7, 2014
- Cast: Brenda Blethyn, Zoe Warner, Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Pisana
- Director: LeVar Burton
- Studio: MGM
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Character Strengths: Empathy
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: January 19, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
A Christmas Story
Wonderful antidote to cutesy holiday tales; some swearing.
Christmas Story (2007)
Tale of how Santa came to be has some emotional intensity.
Peppy holiday favorite for both kids and parents.
For kids who love the holidays
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