A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jack Frost (Michael Keaton) is a guy who feels at home being on stage in his rock band. While playing a gig in Denver, a record producer hears the band and wants to bring them on his label. Jack comes home to his wife (Kelly Preston) and son, Charlie (Joseph Cross) late at night, and gets a warm welcome. When Charlie invites Jack to his hockey game, he promises to make it, but is too involved in a recording session to get there in time. To make up for it, Jack commits to taking the family to their mountain cabin for Christmas. But just as they are packing the car, he gets a call from the record company and -- you guessed it -- can't make the trip. He has a change of heart, deciding to turn around and make it home for Christmas. But fate has other plans, and he perishes in a car crash. One year later, when Charlie plays the magic harmonica that Jack had given him, the snowman outside becomes host to a familiar spirit. Guess who's home for Christmas?
Is it any good?
Michael Keaton lights up the screen with his portrayal of this rocker-dad-turned-snowman. But he's not given much to work with. The plot is predictable and the special effects are more creepy than cool (that wry expression of Keaton's looks rather evil on the snowman). We expect more from Jim Henson's workshop, frankly! Though the soundtrack and the beautiful shots of the Rocky Mountains in winter add some grandeur, this movie takes the topics of death and loss a little too lightly. Charlie mopes and feels a little bitter, but nothing emotionally profound happens, even when Dad shows up again. It's as though every dad comes back as a snowman or some such thing in order to say his proper good-byes. More fluff here than substance.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Charlie's dad's death affects Charlie. Why does he quit the hockey team? Why do his grades fall? What would happen to Charlie if his dad didn't come back as a snowman?
Jack tells his son not to tell anyone about his reincarnation. When is it OK to keep a secret? When do the words "don't tell anyone" raise a red flag?
- In theaters: October 28, 1998
- On DVD or streaming: October 28, 2008
- Cast: Kelly Preston, Mark Addy, Michael Keaton
- Director: Troy Miller
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Holidays
- Run time: 102 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild language
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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