A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Change happens; it's often a positive thing, and one should be open and embrace that change. Standing up for oneself when being taken advantage of is essential.
Positive Role Models
Heroine must learn to face up to men who exploit her. At first passive, she ultimately gains the confidence to fight back. With the exception of the film's hero, the adult males are all greedy and self-centered and have no ethical values. They demean, cheat, and lie to the female lead. An African-American woman is a key player.
A reference to dog poop. A dog farts.
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Products & Purchases
Visual of an Apple computer. Ben & Jerry's ice cream is mentioned.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Norman Rockwell Presents: A Christmas Tail is a Canadian DVD import that combines romance with the exploits of an adorable dog who can't stay in one place for very long. Two single-parent families vie for yellow lab Bear (or Paisley, as he's initially called in the rival family's house). The movie has a simple plot with enough obstacles to delay the inevitable happy ending, at least for viewers who don't know from the beginning what will happen. There's one mention of picking up dog poop and one dog fart. However, except for enjoying the dog, it's doubtful this film will engage the interest of younger kids. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Not even an adorable dog can save this lightweight, predictable film. Static, low-energy direction and one-dimensional characters allow for very few laughs and absolutely no surprises. The leading actors and those playing their kids are game enough, but the material and the execution fail them. Particularly distasteful are the underwritten and poorly performed villains' roles. The obnoxious old boyfriend makes one wonder if Maggie had any standards at all in her choice of partners. Their relationship defines Maggie as a victim who values being with someone at the expense of any self-esteem. And, at her job, Maggie is even more vulnerable; it takes escalating abuse to spur her to even the most innocent revenge. Still, there's that cute dog, along with Christmas music and colorful holiday decorations that fill the screen. Those count for something.
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.