Christmas Town

  • Review Date: October 16, 2013
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Cynical lead, mature themes drag down holiday film.
  • Review Date: October 16, 2013
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn about some of the struggles of single parenting and the idea of the Christmas spirit.

Positive messages

Christmas Town promotes positive ideas about family, forgiveness, and having faith in ideas bigger than yourself.

Positive role models

Characters are relatable, kind, and engaged.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

A man and woman kiss under mistletoe.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Movie details

DVD release date:November 3, 2009
Cast:Nicole de Boer, Patrick Muldoon
Director:George Erschbamer
Studio:Phase 4 Films
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Holidays
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Christmas Town was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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