A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this is essentially a feel-good Christmas story, the DVD touches on -– but never fully addresses –- homelessness and the absence of the main character's parents.
What's the story?
In ELOISE: LITTLE MISS CHRISTMAS, 6-year-old Eloise (based on the character created by author Kay Thompson), lives in a suite at the luxurious Plaza Hotel. She and her friends want to put on a holiday show in the Grand Ballroom, but hotel manager Mr. Salamone (Tim Curry) bah-humbugs their theatrical aspirations for fear that they might ruin an upcoming hotel inspection. Of course, the show must go on, and the kids find another venue. The kids frolic through the hotel and practice their pageant as hotel staff prepare for the dreaded inspection -- which includes the creation of a Plaza-shaped ice sculpture. Eloise befriends Matteus and his mom who are flower vendors. Matteus excitedly describes his family's holiday plans at a country home, but Eloise learns that the two actually live in a van. And, Eloise is anxious about whether Santa will make it to the show. In a selfless gesture, she even sacrifices her Christmas wish list if he'll just show up. As the festivities wind down, Eloise invites Matteus to play with her whenever he wants.
Is it any good?
Crafted as a heartwarming, culturally inclusive holiday tale, Little Miss Christmas makes a decent effort but falls a little short. More-serious issues don't receive the same attention as the festivities. The stark class difference between the affluent Eloise and the down-on-their-luck flower vendors is painfully obvious but barely explored. When Eloise's Mom (who travels a lot) does arrive at the show, we don't even see her face, and she isn't visible in a final group scene.
Little Miss Christmas seems to send a mixed message. Eloise and her friends realize that Christmas isn't about ballrooms or gifts, but rather love and sharing. But unwrapping presents is still a big highlight after the show. And despite Eloise's offer, the reality is that Matteus and his mom will return to their cramped, cold van in the evening, while Plaza residents order room service and snuggle under down comforters. Sadly, all the caroling, eggnog, and fancy ice sculptures won't change that fact.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the holiday traditions celebrated by their friends and family. Why is it important for Eloise to include her friends' cultures in the show? Also, does Eloise have enough supervision? Is it OK for her and her friends to leave the hotel and walk around Manhattan alone?
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