Coming Home for Christmas

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Coming Home for Christmas Movie Poster Image
Sentimental holiday fare with strong messages about family.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 95 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Family loyalty, conflict resolution, and helping those in need are important values. Give others a second chance and believe the best in people rather than assuming the worst.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are not exceptionally well developed but incredibly well intentioned. Parents are engaged and present. Sisters have a falling out but work to resolve it. Mike mentors the son of a friend killed in combat. Families spend Christmas with strangers in need of familial support.

Violence

Death of a soldier in combat is referenced a few times but never described explicitly.

Sex

A man and a woman kiss and embrace under mistletoe.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Coming Home for Christmas features estranged sisters trying to reunite their newly separated parents. A minor character's father died overseas in combat and is referenced a few times. The film is overwhelmingly family-friendly, focusing on the importance of healing family conflicts during the holidays, and the idea that family can take many shapes. There's a particular emphasis on singing and music, and though the likelihood of reuniting separated parents in reality is low and may be misleading for kids of parents going through a separation, it's treated in a lighthearted manner here.

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What's the story?

Sisters Kate (Carly McKillip) and Mel (Britt McKillip) haven't talked in five years since a big argument at Mel's wedding, but the news that their parents are separating has brought them back together, ready to reunite their folks. They have a plan to host Christmas in the family home -- the one they had to sell during the bad economy. The only problem is, a mysterious and friendly young man named Mike (Ben Hollingsworth) has just bought it. 

Is it any good?

COMING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS offers several strongly positive messages about family unity, especially during the holidays. It promotes the idea that family can take many shapes and that the important thing is to support the ones you love, forgive quickly, and not hold grudges. There's a particular focus on singing, dance, and music, and it's nice to see such positive relationships and community-minded messages. That said, the characters are all a bit too pure of heart, the conflict feels a bit forced, and the resolutions are extraordinarily tidy. The reuniting of separated or divorced parents as a film trope can be particularly misleading for kids with divorcing parents and may warrant discussion. But for parents and kids with a high tolerance for sentiment looking for some wholesome entertainment, it's wrapped neatly here in a lovely Canadian setting with snow, Christmas lights, and lots of holiday cheer. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about resolving conflict. Why do you think the sisters waited so long to talk again? Was it worth it to stay mad at each other? Have you ever stayed mad at someone for a long time? What happened? Did you ever work it out?

  • Families take different shapes in the film. What are some of the different versions of family the characters form?

  • How important is your childhood home in your family? Do you still live in it? If not, do you ever go back and visit?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love the holidays

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