Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Christmas in the Heartland

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Uninspired holiday family movie has drinking, bullying.

Movie NR 2017 112 minutes
Christmas in the Heartland Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 7+

Well played

I absolutely love this movie!! Great actors, no cussing, shows you how teenagers like to scheme an actually think they can get away with it, actors an actresses did a wonderful job. Music was great nice choices.Great movie I watch it repeatedly an I’m 58 years old. Need more movies like it. Family movies!!

This title has:

Great messages
age 13+

Poor Body Messages for Girls

What struck me most (after the ridiculous premise and lack of consequences for pulling off this switch) is the way the women and girls talk about female bodies. One of the main characters says she "throws like a girl" and has to be taught how to throw a football. The rich grandmother takes food from her "granddaughter", saying "a moment on your lips, forever on your hips".

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (2 ):

This is an uninspired "switcheroo" movie in which two teen girls from different socioeconomic backgrounds trade places to see how the proverbial "other half" lives. Despite hailing from Vermont, it doesn't take the two lead characters long to drop the "g" in any gerund they use while referring to every noun they see as "this here" shortly after arriving in Oklahoma, clearly under the influence of "locals" who never miss a chance to use homespun witticisms like "more nervous than a night crawler at a fishin' derby." The family from a blue-collar background, led by Shelley Long as Grandma Judy, is, of course, as fond of plainspoken truths and an honest day's work as they are of barbecue, and the family from a wealthy background, featuring Bo Derek as Grandmother Elsa, is, of course, snobby and materialistic, despite the grandfather's realization that, yes, there's more to life than money. And, of course, not to spoil anything, the two girls who pull the "switcheroo," as well as their families, learn the True Meaning of Christmas.

To say that the ending is a little too convenient is putting it mildly. Aside from Shelley Long, who makes the clunky attempts at "downhome" dialogue sound almost plausible, the acting is either flat or overdone. Apparently, Hollywood and/or the Hallmark Channel believe that the best way to make people realize that the holidays should be more of a season of giving instead of wanting and buying things is to continually churn out trite movies with this message, and Christmas in the Heartland is yet another attempt to get this message across.

Movie Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate