A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This story is meant to entertain, but it does let viewers glimpse life in a different time and place in mid-century rural Tennessee.
Strong themes about sacrifice, selflessness, perseverance, and love. Much mention of God, miracles, angels, Jesus, and the religions origins of Christmas. Family is a great source of strength for Dolly and her family, and it's by pulling together in the tough times that they make it to the good ones. Material things can't hold a candle to the joy of being with the people you love. Following your heart can make dreams come true. Intense themes like poverty and death are dealt with in thoughtful ways.
Positive Role Models
Dolly is surrounded by people who inspire her in different ways. Her parents embody selfless love and devotion to God and to family. Her teacher looks past Dolly's flaws to recognize her potential. Best friend Judy helps Dolly see things from a different perspective, which makes her more empathetic. The Painted Lady encourages her to hold onto her dreams.
Violence & Scariness
No violence, but some intense moments when characters' lives hang in the balance. In one, a mine explosion nearly kills Dolly's father; another shows Dolly's family awaiting inevitable death during a snowstorm.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple kisses and shows affection for each other. A farm boy quips about where babies come from: "Right out the butts in the barn." It's lightly suggested that the Painted Lady is a prostitute.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Rarely "hell" and "butt."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
This movie is a sequel to Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love originally aired as a TV movie and follows Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors with more inspirational stories about sacrifice, selflessness, and Christian faith from the acclaimed singer's childhood. Much like the first movie, this story doesn't sugarcoat the harsh realities of life in a poor rural community in the 1950s, and the characters face life-or-death peril. In a particularly tense scene, Dolly's mother talks to her daughter about facing death with courage and helping the younger kids to do the same. In another, the fate of Dolly's father is in question. Young kids and sensitive viewers might need reassurance during these scenes, but there are overwhelmingly more incidents of perseverance, kindness, mentoring, and faith to take from this story that warms the heart for the holiday season. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This inspirational blending of two stories from Parton's childhood is just the thing to get you in the holiday spirit, but the life-and-death realities deserve consideration for sensitive viewers. There's no glossing over the fact that if not for a small change in fortune (or faith, as Dolly's family believed), that Christmas might have had a devastating outcome, and there are moments that are difficult to watch even anticipating a happy ending. Even so, this shouldn't preclude families watching together. In fact the opposite is true, as you can use this remarkable story as a teachable moment and a means to remind kids of the importance of gratitude. Just know you may need to reassure youngsters or explain the realities of survival in a place and time that will seem foreign to many.
For all its heartwarming messages about family and Christianity-derived themes, though, Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love is a jumble of simultaneous storylines that sometimes get in the way of each other. There's Dolly's quest to be the star of the Christmas pageant, her rift with her best friend, a slowly evolving backstory for the schoolmarm, and the somewhat odd-fitting appearances of an inspirational figure named the Painted Lady (played by Parton), who shows up to inspire young Dolly to not give up on her dreams. The end result is less refined than it could be, but even this can't upend this family movie's truly wonderful themes about family and faith.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.