Christmas with Holly

  • Review Date: December 9, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 91 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Heartwarming story of overcoming grief is great family fare.
  • Review Date: December 9, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 91 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

Positive messages

Members of a fractured family find common ground in caring for their young niece, and the experience rekindles their own sibling relationships. Themes like adapting to change and healing after heartache are woven into all of the characters' experiences. The story centers on a nontraditional family structure that abounds in love.

Positive role models

Mark changes his entire life to care for his niece and finds heartwarming fulfillment in the task. He and his brothers are often at odds, but they make Holly's needs their top priority, and the set-up has surprising results for their relationships, too. Mark and Maggie's relationship is respectful and addresses both parties' emotional needs.

Violence

The story centers on a young girl who's lost her mother. Some brief worry during a house fire, but all is well in the end.

Sex

A couple of scenes show men in their boxers, but not in a sexual scenario. A woman tells her sister that a guy is hot for her. A sweet romance culminates in a couple of kisses.

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

Adults are shown drinking beer in a few bar scenes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Christmas with Holly is a poignant tale of people recovering from grief and finding fulfillment in new relationships. While the content is as clean as it comes in TV movies, the subject matter -- which deals with a young girl's sadness over the loss of her mom and a woman's attempts to move past being left at the altar -- often is emotional and not really appropriate for young kids. Those who do watch will be treated to heartwarming moments that illustrate the best aspects of family relationships and a budding romance.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

In CHRISTMAS WITH HOLLY, Mark Nagle (Sean Faris) is appointed guardian of his 6-year-old niece, Holly (Lucy and Josie Gallina), after his sister dies, and he struggles to help her work through her sadness over the loss of her mom. Looking for a change, he and Holly move in with his brothers, Scott (Dana Watkins) and Alex (Daniel Eric Gold), in their childhood hometown and attempt to make a go at family life. Meanwhile, Maggie Conway (Eloise Mumford) arrives in town to open a store and attempt to put her ruined engagement behind her, and she finds herself drawn to Mark and Holly. Could second chances be the ticket to happiness for all of these healing hearts?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Hallmark Hall of Fame is a trusted name in family entertainment, and Christmas with Holly won't disappoint viewers who've come to expect the best from the label. The story approaches weighty topics like losing a loved one and taking risks with a delicate balance between reality and rosy optimism. Of course, this is a family-geared movie set against a backdrop of the holidays, so it's pretty clear from the first few character introductions how things will shake out in the end, but that doesn't make the road there any less fitful or the characters' journeys any less challenging.

This is a lovely story whose appeal transcends easy-on-the-eyes characters or pretty scenery. It takes serious circumstances that face average people in the real world and chronicles their attempts to rise above them. In so doing, it offers families the chance to think about the challenges that other people face and to talk about how the movie's messages about relationships, love, and keeping faith relate to their own lives. Even better, the story supersedes the traditional romance to incorporate a love story between a man and his unexpected new daughter, and this connection overshadows even the developing relationship between two adults who find healing in each other's company.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about coping with grief. What events in your life have impacted you like Holly's mom's death did her? Who do you turn to when you're facing an emotional crisis?

  • What messages does Christmas with Holly send about family relationships? How do Mark and his brothers come to understand each other better as the story progresses? Are there family members you wish you could reconnect with?

  • What would you consider to be educational TV? What can be gleaned from movies like this one? Do you think this movie could compete on the big screen? What determines which movies are made -- and which ones are successful?

Movie details

DVD release date:November 20, 2012
Cast:Eloise Mumford, Josie Gallina, Lucy Gallina, Sean Faris
Director:Allan Arkush
Studio:Hallmark Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Holidays
Run time:91 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Christmas with Holly 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; OK 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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Educator and Parent Written byJared Galczynski June 3, 2014
AGE
11
QUALITY
 
I saw this when on TV when it came out in 2012. It was so poignant yet so magical, the storyline about a little girl who has lost her mother and hasn't spoken since. Still not given the AY MAYRA.
Parent Written byBPmichigan December 26, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Excellent movie, great role models, clean material best understood by adults

Christmas with Holly is a nice addition to the Hallmark Hall of Fame series. The content is clean (can't say that about many new movies) and the story is excellent, especially if watched more than once. The movie also shows how important it is to have connections between family and friends - All the characters in this movie (aside from the selfish girlfriend) need each other. The movie does not contain any offensive material, but is not really geared toward kids - Although some kids can relate to the experience that Holly is going through (the grief of losing a parent, problems at school, and having to move to a different environment), challenges that the adults are facing (such as suddenly having parental responsibilities without any time to prepare, not being able to count on anyone else to provide adequate care for the child, or the disappointment of being left at the altar) cannot be understood by especially young audiences.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byOld Codger December 24, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Nice trio of very believable brothers

Firstly, I'm a sucker for Hallmark movies, but very critical of bad acting. I'd rather see good actors put effort into a mediocre script than names sleepwalk through roles.. That said, this one surprised even me: good script, good acting, and, wonder of wonders, three characters who actually look like they could be brothers behaving like brothers. I did find the selfish soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend a bit overwritten. Bless the good actress who played that thankless role.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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