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 on Salvation Street is a religious family flick about a pastor's family struggling to find its place in a poor neighborhood. There are a lot of references to violence and crime, including a few tense scenes involving gang members with guns, and one side character dies on-screen (though not violently). There also are some mildly upsetting scenes with CPS threatening to take children from their homes. Although it has a strong overarching message about helping others and a happy ending, the more adult themes make it best for tweens and up.
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What's the story?
Pastor Noah Davis (Joe Pacheco) is searching for direction after his wife's death when he gets an invitation by former student Charlie (Israel Matos) to come preach at the inner city Salvation Street mission. Along with his two teenage daughters Brianna (Olivia Rose Keegan) and Alexa (Catherine Lidstone), Pastor Noah struggles to connect with his new community, which is much rougher than they're used to. When the family unexpectedly takes in two neighborhood kids, they find themselves at odds with the local gang and unsure if they'll be able to bring hope to their new community while still staying safe.
Is it any good?
Although CHRISTMAS ON SALVATION STREET is certainly well intentioned, it's hard not to laugh out loud at the unrealistic depiction of inner-city life and the sometimes cringe-worthy acting. Pastor Noah comes across as the white savior coming in to help the minorities without a very deep discussion about why the neighborhood is impoverished. The interactions with gang members are the most laughable, as he wins them over by literally throwing a Bible at them.
Families looking for a spiritual movie that opens up discussions about helping others and poverty may enjoy this film. There are some really nice messages about the rewards of helping others that are valuable for all viewers. But those who aren't religious most likely will find it too heavy-handed.
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