Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey Movie Poster Image
 Parents recommendPopular with kids
Christmas musical has imagination, positivity, diversity.
  • PG
  • 2020
  • 122 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 15 reviews

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.

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids will see positive racial and gender representations in the diverse cast and also the character of a little girl with unique STEM skills.

Positive Messages

Patience is a virtue, and so is forgiveness. Envy, crime, and greed will weaken you in the long run. Communication is essential for healthy relationships. A child's imagination is a thing to cherish, even if it makes the child different from her or his peers. Anything is possible "if you believe." The film transmits positivity, creativity, and diversity.

Positive Role Models

The ensemble cast's main characters are all Black. Jeronicus must learn to love again. His granddaughter Journey may show him how with her unconditional affection. The two share a unique gift for fantastical problem-solving and invention. Journey's character conveys that girls can excel at technology and math. Kids display great courage in trying to rescue a stolen toy. Other characters, namely Don Juan (the film's only main Latinx character) and Gustafson, lie, steal, and cheat.

Violence & Scariness

A wife and mother dies unexpectedly, leaving her husband bereft and unable to care for their daughter. A flying toy lands on a man's face and appears to burn him. Grandpa Jeronicus yells at Journey. Don Juan slaps Gustafson regularly. Two kids have to flee men chasing them and then escape a fire by riding atop a crate and flying at just the right angle through moving fan blades.

Sexy Stuff

Ms. Johnston flirts shamelessly with Jeronicus. He remembers sharing a kiss with his wife. In one scene, a little boy shouts, "I don't want to die! I haven't even hit puberty yet!" In another, he admits he "really" likes Journey.

Language

"Imbecile."

Consumerism

Gustafson steals inventions in order to manufacture them as toys and increase his wealth, but Christmas is shown to be ultimately about family and traditions.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Gustafson drinks what appears to be an alcoholic drink out of a goblet.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is an appropriate and even inspiring film for most age groups, but a couple of scenes could scare very young viewers. These include some sad moments such as when a little girl's mother dies and her father sends her away, or when the man later ignores and yells at his granddaughter. He eventually comes around and rediscovers both love and wonder. In another sequence, two kids mount a dangerous escape after they've sneaked into a palatial estate to retrieve a stolen robot. The robot thief is only comically menacing, as is the matador doll that persuades him to lie, steal, and cheat. These two characters show that envy, crime, and greed don't pay. Kids could be inspired by the mostly Black ensemble cast and the main character, a girl with a vivid imagination and a gift for technology, engineering, and math. The Christmas film also has some flashy musical numbers and positive messages about family, tradition, patience, forgiveness, and curiosity.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written byVincenzo November 15, 2020

Nice, but a bit boring

I enjoyed it, but while it seemed to be geared for a younger audience, it chugged along at a very slow pace and my kids were getting bored. They love other musi... Continue reading
Parent Written byWanjeri December 11, 2020

A gem

I looked forward to watching this flick but was disappointed by the villain who didn't have too much depth. The action bits I struggled to believe. I loved... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 14, 2020

Amazing Christmas Movie

I really enjoyed this movie! It has a really upbeat vibe to it and it brings a smile to your face while watching! I recommend :)

What's the story?

Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) is a fantastical inventor who has fallen on hard times and faces closure of his once-merry store in JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY. In fact, his bad luck began years earlier when disgruntled apprentice Gustafson (Keagan-Michael Key) started stealing his best inventions, including and encouraged by the talking matador doll, Don Juan (Ricky Martin). Then Jeronicus' wife dies and his daughter moves away. Flash forward many years to a first visit from his granddaughter, Journey (Madalen Mills). Jeronicus must now find a way to open himself up to love again and also to save his store from bankruptcy. The only insurance the bank will accept is a revolutionary new invention.

Is it any good?

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is both modern and, at the same time, pleasantly old-fashioned in its magical tale, elaborate sets and wardrobes, and ensemble musical numbers. The diverse cast and some of the music give the film a decidedly contemporary feel, but the characters are played with an innocence that harkens back to an earlier era. Grown adults flirting with each other or concocting evil plans do so mostly harmlessly. Wide-eyed kids with names like Journey and Edison have active imaginations and are fascinated by inventions. All of their wardrobes are elaborate blends of plaid tweeds, jewel tones, and gadget-inspired hardware.

The film boasts an excellent, mostly Black cast, with Whitaker carrying the lead and a magnetic Mills as his granddaughter. Key and Martin are a bit over the top, but they all hold their own in song and dance pieces. Adult viewers could tire of some of the early shifts in tone from fantasy to drama to musical, then back again. At one point, the secondary characters all seem to have British accents for no apparent reason. But the two-hour movie has plenty packed in to make it enjoyable enough for the whole family. It's a professionally-produced and expensive-looking package, from the wardrobes and sets to the animated sequences and elaborate musical numbers, to the warm amber tones that ooze holiday spirit.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the genre of Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. Would you characterize this film as a musical, a drama, an adventure, a comedy, or some combination of genres?

  • What time period do you think this film is set in? Judging by the people, their accents, wardrobes, and the look of the town, where would you guess this is set?

  • Have you seen very many holiday family films with mostly Black casts? Why is this representation important?

  • Jeronicus Jangle's store is known as a "World of Wishes and Wonder." How do the concepts of "wishes" and "wonder" relate to the rest of this film?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

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