Faith Filled Christmas

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Faith Filled Christmas Movie Poster Image
Christian Christmas tale has some heavy themes.
  • NR
  • 2017
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Violence
Sex
Language

Reference to bowel movement. "Shut up."

Consumerism
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. 

What 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.

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What's the story?

It's sunny in Florida, but that doesn't make it any less like Christmas in FAITH FILLED CHRISTMAS. The Fairways are a big, happy, multiethnic family. Grandparents Mildred (Debra Petersen) and Simon (Gerry Gelley) live in a beautiful, well-run assisted living center. Walter (Essex O'Brien) and Ruth (Donna Deklavon), their African-American son and daughter-in-law, have an assortment of adopted and foster kids. In one special day just before the holiday, Simon and his prankster buddy Byron (Michael Liddle) secretly plan an afternoon of Olympic events -- The Geezer Games -- while the unsuspecting owner of the facility is away. Mildred takes her skeptical friend Betty (Carol Taylor) on a beach outing with the kids to advocate for the family's church. The family is able to bring some much-needed Christmas spirit to a desperate young mom, a struggling homeless woman, and a whole lot of appreciative seniors. It's a rewarding day of "passing forward" both good deeds and Christian love. 

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can discuss Faith Filled Christmas in terms of its religious content. The Biblical phrase "You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world" is at the heart of the movie. What does this mean and how was it illustrated in the story? 

  • Fiber Fairway expressed the belief that only one set of religious teachings can be correct. Do you agree with his thinking? Why or why not?

  • The film stressed the words "intentional" and "winsome." How did the varied stories reflect these concepts? 

  • What was the significance of the Christmas ornament in this story? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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