A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Christian messages: forgiveness, God's love, inclusiveness, helping others. Expresses hope that people will be "intentional" and "winsome." Some specific tenets: "When God calls, we answer." "God gives power to forgive." "You are the salt of the earth and light of the world." In one segment, proposes that there's only one right way to observe; all religious paths don't arrive at the same place.
Positive Role Models
Central characters are generous of spirit, called upon by God to be of faith, to be inclusive, and to do his work. Senior citizens are portrayed as hopeful, gregarious, fun-loving, and alert to the needs of others. Lots of ethnic diversity; mixed-race families. Population of large assisted living center, with one exception, is white. Those in need of social services and struggling with issues are, with one exception, of color.
Reference to bowel movement. "Shut up."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Young mother with child in foster care system is a struggling addict. Flashback shows her drunk at a party in which alcohol and drugs are present.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Faith Filled Christmas (formerly known as Salted Christmas) is a religious holiday tale that aims to inspire both good works and a joyful spirit. It opens with two words on screen: "Intentional" and "Winsome." Then following one family through one day, the filmmakers show how that family exemplifies both. The Fairways are a diverse clan in terms of age and ethnicity. They bring their faith, generosity, and energy to both the residents of an assisted living center and to folks living "on the edge" in their beachside Florida town. The story touches upon the foster care system, homelessness, addiction, and religious skepticism, as well as on the buoyancy of seniors when given opportunity. Sincere in its Christian messages, even those who enjoy faith-based holiday fare may take issue with the film's assertion, in one character's words, that different religious beliefs "cannot be 'right' because they all say completely different things ... Three roads headed in different directions don't end up in the same place." Given the scenes detailing a young woman's difficulties with substance abuse and subsequent loss of her child, the film is best for teens and mature tweens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Made with enthusiasm and conviction, if not filmmaking expertise, this film boasts a spirit and messages that are undeniable. The profusion of senior citizens in the film (all white, with one exception) fairly bloom with Christmas joy. Watching them participate in wheelchair and walker races, as well as a spectacular "bedpan" toss, are highlights. Most notably, Michael Liddle gives a wonderful performance as Byron, a relentless prankster. Other performances vary from barely competent to adequate, but each and every one of the participants gives it his or her all. Co-writer/director Don McChesney and his crew must have had a wonderful time making Faith Filled Christmas. That shows, as does the commitment of everyone involved to definitive Christian precepts.
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.