I'll Be Home for Christmas

Movie review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
I'll Be Home for Christmas Movie Poster Image
Jon Taylor Thomas' yule tale charming for tweens.
  • PG
  • 1998
  • 86 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The main character helps athletes cheat on an important exam and lies to get out of sticky situations (although he redeems himself later).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the main character helps athletes cheat on an important exam and lies to get out of sticky situations (though he redeems himself later).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLindsey S. November 25, 2015

Not sure why this site says it's okay for 9 and up.

I'm a little disappointed with the rating system for this movie. I rely on common sense media for our family movie nights . I ended up needing to fast forw... Continue reading
Parent Written byheartlikealion December 16, 2013


I recorded this movie not knowing what age group it was for and watched it with my husband with the hopes of sharing it with our son. But it was for older kids... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old December 24, 2013

MrLevi Revews

They do say "Crap" But that's not even a bad word and It is said very quietly so don't worry about that,There are some gross scenes like whe... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byadtr_forever November 25, 2011

Family/friends movie to watch

I watched this movie when we had a sub one day and I loved it. I found it funny but could also have romance in it, but not a bad romance! (No, not Lady Gaga, lo... Continue reading

What's the story?

Wisecracking college freshman Jake (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) has refused to go home since his dad remarried after his mother's death. But he changes his tune when his father says he'll give Jake his treasured Porsche if he gets home by Christmas Eve. Allie (Jessica Biel), Jake's girlfriend, is delighted because they get to travel home together. Plans change when Jake gets into trouble helping some football players cheat on an exam. Pretty soon, he ends up dumped in the desert dressed in a Santa Claus suit while Allie hitches a ride home with Eddie, Jake's sworn enemy. Jake is determined to get to New York. Still dressed as Santa, he makes his way across the country, fast-talking his way out of every sticky situation. As he travels, he begins to realize the importance of friends and family. By the time he gets home, he doesn't even care about the Porsche.

Is it any good?

It's hard to find a Christmas movie for younger teens that isn't too corny or childish; I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS may fit the bill, since it combines sentiment with age-appropriate humor. Adults may find this holiday story dull, but teens will probably enjoy Jonathan Taylor Thomas and his con man persona. Thomas is a surprisingly skilled actor, and makes his character's transformation from self-absorption to sensitivity believable and appealing. As Allie, Jessica Biel is refreshingly real, too. Allie isn't afraid to speak her mind; she tells Jake what she thinks of his bad behavior.

Although the story has no real surprises, it's kept afloat by Jake's rakish ingenuity. He's at his best when he's forced to dispense "hot" appliances to tiny tots, or when he helps a shy cop win back his estranged wife. Each episode along the way teaches Jake a lesson about being honest and helping others, and by the end of his journey, he drops the con man pose and lets his real self come through.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of Christmas movies. Compare and contrast it with other titles, such as It's a Wonderful Life, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or A Charlie Brown Christmas. Do you see any common themes? Why do you think there are so many Christmas films and so few dealing with other major religious holidays, such as Ramadan or Passover?

Movie details

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