Slow-moving faith-based drama is sweet but preachy.
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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 Christmas Lodge is a faith-based movie presented under the cottage industry of the late "Painter of Light" Thomas Kinkade. The biggest concern, besides personal attitudes toward religious belief and expression presented in a movie, is the overall pacing and subject matter of the film. The slowness of the story, coupled with this not really being about Christmas per se, is sure to bore younger kids looking for a little more action, humor, or engagement. While Christians looking for an expression of their faith will find much to enjoy in the dialogue and overall messages of faith, prayer, and belief in God's Plan, secular audiences may not like the heavy-handed preaching.
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What's the Story?
Mary (Erin Karpluk) is a hardworking, career-minded building preservationist who lives in a large city and has an urbane boyfriend named Kent. She takes Kent on a weekend trip to visit her family and ailing grandfather, and also to spend some time in the mountainous countryside where she finds peace and serenity away from the noises of the big city. While on a walk with Kent, they find an injured little girl, they take her back to her home, which is a beloved place from Mary's childhood called the Christmas Lodge, where Mary and her family would spend the holidays. She is reacquainted with the girl's father, Jack (Michael Shanks), who tells her that he can no longer afford the upkeep of the property. Mary is determined to secure funding to help preserve the Christmas Lodge, and after Kent breaks up with her, she finds herself more and more drawn to her family, the mountains, and Jack.
Is It Any Good?
While certainly not the worst or the most heavy-handed faith-based movie out there, CHRISTMAS LODGE does lay on the messages of faith and belief in God's Plan rather thick at times. That being said, if you are a Christian looking for a movie that encapsulates your values through talk and example, you will enjoy this movie. However, if you are not religious, the preaching gets to be a bit much.
What can be said without reservation, no matter the religious beliefs and fervency, is that younger kids will be bored by this story of slow-building romance and even slower-building preservation of an old rural lodge. Also, while the acting is above-average compared to many Hallmark-style movies, there really is no chemistry between the budding love interests in the movie, and any gaping holes in the veracity of the story are a little too conveniently made to work.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the overall messages of faith, belief, and following God's Plan. How were these messages conveyed in the movie?
How were "city people" and "country people" shown in the movie? Do you think this is accurate? Why or why not?
Why do you think the painter Thomas Kinkade put his name on this movie?
- On DVD or streaming: October 11, 2011
- Cast: Erin Karpluk, Michael Shanks, Victoria Banks
- Director: Terry Ingram
- Studio: Vivendi
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Holidays
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: March 28, 2023
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