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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Being true to oneself. The importance of family. Not judging or looking down on people.
Positive Role Models
While the characters are basically stock archetypes, lead characters learn the importance of being true to themselves. Characters help those in need.
Violence & Scariness
Kids bully a younger and smaller boy before the boy's "cousin" steps in and breaks it up; the boy who bullies later becomes friends with the smaller boy.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In a hair salon, a woman talks about how her trucker husband is only home once a month, and how "we more than make up for it" when he returns home.
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Products & Purchases
American Airlines is the airline of choice. Direct mention of Red Bull and Walmart.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bourbon drinking by responsible adults. Wine and champagne drinking at a fancy holiday party.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Christmas in the Heartland is a 2017 holiday-themed family movie in which two teen girls heading to the same place for the first time decide to switch identities. A woman in a beauty salon says that "we more than make up for it" when her trucker husband returns home after being gone all month. Bigger kids bully a smaller boy in the backyard of a touch football game before one of the teen girls breaks them up; the boy doing the bullying immediately sees the error of his ways and befriends the smaller boy. Some drinking. Some product placement or mention: American Airlines, Red Bull, Walmart. One of the grandmothers is snobby and materialistic, but her behavior isn't rewarded by the end of the movie. 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 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.
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.