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 Town is a family movie about catching the Christmas spirit, but it deals with some heavy themes that younger kids may not understand, such as a single mother's tense relationship toward holidays and her own father, after having lost her mother at age 7. There's also a constant tension between the mom's cynicism about the holidays and her son's desire to experience holiday cheer against the backdrop of reconnecting with her estranged father. The messages are ultimately positive and uplifting, but the journey along the way is unlikely to keep the attention of younger kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Single mom/workaholic/holiday-doubter Liz McCann (Nicole de Boer) and her 10-year-old son Mason are off to visit her estranged father for the holidays in his new home in Hollyville. The problem? The place goes a little haywire on Christmas, and Liz isn't the biggest fan of the season, or much of anything, due to her own difficult childhood. But, as the duo find themselves lingering in Hollyville, she begins to see magical, unexplainable events that force her to rethink her hard-earned cynicism.
Is it any good?
CHRISTMAS TOWN's premise is a bit far-fetched: A small town is devoted entirely to putting on a Christmas production that turns out to be not only a production after all. But it's not an out-there set-up that makes it a bit hard to take as a family film: It's the cynical single mom's near-constant inability to get into the spirit that makes the majority of the film drag.
For young kids looking to see the magic of Christmas, Santa, or anything like holiday cheer, Debbie Downer will not just stand in the way -- she'll confuse things altogether. In spite of these drawbacks, there's a family movie here with some strong messages about what it means to make amends, let go of the past, and have a little faith, and especially some good demonstrations of intergenerational relationships. Best for older kids with an attention span or understanding of such issues.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the idea that families come in all shapes and sizes. What does your family look like? How is it the same as or different from other families?
What does your family do, if anything, to celebrate the holidays? What are your favorite activities?
What does the Christmas spirit mean to you? What kinds of things do you do when you're in the Christmas spirit?
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