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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Christmas spirit is embedded in giving, not getting. People who lie and cheat end up punished in the end. People who care more about making money than the true spirit of Christmas are eventually exposed.
Positive Role Models
Wendy is a dedicated daughter trying to honor her father's memory and dying wish that she keep his candy story afloat after his death. Tom is a good man who has been forced by his company's board to hire a sales consultant to modernize his old-fashioned store and boost sales. Eventually, he stands up for what he believes in. Retail consultant Teanna is rude and unfeeling. She represents the crass commercialism of Christmas and tries to sell products with sexually suggestive shirtless Santas. She also frames an innocent woman with a crime.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man and a woman fall in love. A man kisses a woman. A woman's 5-year-old daughter was conceived out of wedlock. Shirtless models stand around a department store in Santa hats.
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"Hell" and "shut up."
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Products & Purchases
Christmas is about giving, not getting. The commercial nature of Christmas is derided here.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Christmas in the City, a 2013 Lifetime Channel movie, falls squarely into the feel-good Christmas story category and doesn't deviate at any point from the requirements of that genre. The movie offers no negative judgments on the fact that the main character got pregnant by her high school sweetheart when they weren't married. He also left her to have the child, now 5, on her own. Language includes "hell" and "shut up." Shirtless models stand around a department store in Santa hats. The characterization of Santa, who seems to meld magical gift-giving powers with God-like omniscience, might intrude a bit on some religious beliefs. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a pleasant but utterly generic movie about vanishing Christmas spirit and the few who still feel the real spirit in their hearts. Dear, sweet people who love caroling and drinking hot cider triumph against evil souls promoting Christmas' commercial side. Some version of this unsurprising movie has been shown on Hallmark and/or Lifetime channels for decades. The good news is that it's kid-friendly, with no language, behavior, or sexuality (save a few guys without shirts) to offend anyone, unless what offends you is complete lack of originality. The actors are mostly competent and likable. Watch for Christmas in the City's highlight, in which two characters who are falling in love sit at a piano and sing a startlingly beautiful version of "Noel."
For city-dwellers who have lots of Christmas spirit, the movie may seem condescending as it implies that only small-towners know the real meaning of Christmas. In any case, from the moment the plot conflicts establish themselves, there will be no doubt as to how this movie ends.
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.