A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids can learn basic facts about farm animals.
The message of parents not working too hard and paying attention to their kids runs through the movie. Villagers show kindness and community spirit but there are some strange deceptions. Characters encourage each other.
Positive Role Models
Matt Cunningham is a widowed father caring for five children and working a high-pressure job. He is given a farm by his estranged father and learns the importance of community. Buster is a young boy who worries people will laugh at him because he wears sparkly clothes. Ms. Fletcher is a stern, selfish businessperson. She puts Matt's job on the line for a high-profile contract. Beano is a childlike adult farmhand who encourages Matt to spend more time with his kids. Miss Ashley is a vet who cares about animals and is at first standoffish with Matt but then falls for him. Miss Nerris is a kind teacher who listens to and reassures the kids. She encourages lifelong learning.
The main family consists of a widowed father who cares for his five children while working. A child says he's vegan and likes wearing "sparkly things." He's not questioned, just accommodated for. Children think a large, heavy man is an ogre. Stereotypical flamboyant theater director. Village residents include people of color.
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Violence & Scariness
Reference to the death of a parent. Some slapstick. Kids throw slop at property developers, floorboard hits a character's face. Welly thrown at someone's head. Angry villagers throw eggs at two people and chase them off with garden tools. People sprayed with manure. Angry kid throws a toy at their parent. Adult slaps another to try to calm them down.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very mild innuendo. Magical mistletoe makes donkeys kiss. An adult and children plot to make two adults fall in love with magic. Some flirting. Character kisses someone on the cheek.
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Language is infrequent but includes "poo," "farts," "idiots," and "stupid."
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Products & Purchases
Dell logo. Citroen and Mercedes badges on cars. Beer logos at a bar.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters meet at a village pub and drink a nondescript brown drink. Beer logos on taps.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Christmas on Mistletoe Farm is a festive comedy drama that incudes some gross-out humor, slapstick, and mild name calling. Matt (Scott Garnham) is a widowed father who goes to live in the countryside with his five children. The death of the kids' mother is mentioned often but no circumstances or cause are given. Matt works hard to take care of his children. But the movie's core message is to work less and embrace your community. Mild language includes "poo" and "farts," and there's some potty humor involving animal dung and a piglet urinating onto men's faces. Slapstick is present throughout and a few characters act in anger. There is some tame innuendo, flirting, and matchmaking, but nothing risqué. At the farm, the kids are befriended by a wacky childlike adult called Beano (Scott Paige), who might appeal to young children but is likely to irritate older kids and adults. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Setting up the story and getting to know the family in this festive family-comedy is a pleasant experience. Christmas on Mistletoe Farm's excellent cast of kids are charming and realistic, as their widowed dad rushes to get them to school before barrelling into work, flustered but getting by. At the same time as he's given the task to secure a big contract or get fired, he's told he's been given a farm by his estranged father. The charm continues at the farm, as the kids excitedly explore and the kitchen gets surprise guests of chickens and goats. However, the next surprise, in the form of the childlike adult Beano sleeping in the barn, brings the charm to a screeching halt.
Writer-director Debbie Isitt likes this kind of character -- Mr. Poppy from her Nativity series is a similar blend of sickeningly sweet naivety and nerve-grating silliness. Overacted by Paige, the character aims for midway between Jack Black in School of Rock and Robin Williams' Genie in Aladdin but wildly misses the mark. The movie soon falls apart in a shrieking, nonsensical mess of manic shouting and unearned grief exploitation. The story feels like chunks are missing. For a kids' movie that sidelines five excellent child performers for increasingly intense adults, and then throws in genuinely unsettling plot twists, this squandered opportunity is hard to recommend.
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.