A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Christmas in the Smokies is a Christian-themed chaste romance about the return of an ex-boyfriend to the small Tennessee town where he left his 17-year-old girlfriend 20 years before. No cliché is avoided as the battling lovebirds work their way through foreclosure and their differences to find happiness. "Christ the Lord," "heavenly host," and other Christian references are made.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Now in her thirties, Shelby Haygood (Sarah Lancaster) stayed in Tennessee's Smokey Mountains, living a simple country farm life with her parents ever since she was left at 17 by boyfriend Mason Wyatt (Alan Powell), the local boy who made good as a country singer. CHRISTMAS IN THE SMOKIES focuses on how years later, just as the farm is facing foreclosure and Shelby is afraid she and her parents will lose their sustaining jam and pie business, Mason surfaces to reconnect with his roots, his authentic self, and, if he's lucky, Shelby. She rejects him mightily until he agrees to give a concert to raise funds to pay her mortgages. Even that doesn't raise enough money, but another business connection saves the day and reunites the two attractive people everyone agrees were always meant for each other. A score of pleasantly countrified Christmas music is heard throughout.
Is it any good?
This movie is best for romantics who love faith-based stories. Christmas in the Smokies is a well-made retread that doesn't feature a single original thought but relies on an attractive and competent cast (including TV veteran Barry Corbin as Shelby's good-humored dad) to carry its tired story through 90 minutes of inoffensive and uninspiring mediocrity. Adversity, as it does in so many movies, comes in the form of mean old bankers, whose hands are tied, and a rapacious developer who wants to buy up the over-leveraged acreage to make a business center and homes, which will inevitably destroy the time-honored way of life of good country folk. Moments that give pause include the dad's calm response to only having 60 days to raise $60,000: "A child was born in that manger. Everything's gone be all right." There's no hint of where Mason went when he disappeared nor why he couldn't be reached by phone. And even when asked, he can't explain why he left. But no one who has ever watched a movie will doubt from the first moment that the two fighting exes will get together by credit roll.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether it's believable that during the entire twenty years since 17-year-old Shelby was ditched by her boyfriend that she would still be single in Christmas in the Smokies. Does it bother you when movies have implausible storylines?
How does faith help people cope with problems?
Do you think that hope and belief in Christianity saved the farm from foreclosure? Could it be that faith gave them comfort while they searched for strategies that could help them raise money?
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