Parents' Guide to

One Magic Christmas

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

'80s Christmas movie has depressing, intense scenes.

Movie G 1985 88 minutes
One Magic Christmas Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 10+

Real life family makes uplifting holiday story

We have watched this one many times over the years. It is one of grandma’s favorites because it shows the way families that don’t have it all find their way. Strong but realistic sibling and mother-father relationships. The real takeaway is that life isn’t easy, but everyone gets to believe. Uplifting.
age 11+

Badly named example of a 'Christmas' movie

What was the Disney Corporation thinking? We would not have given this turkey any room on the shelf – never mind it going beyond the pre-production script stage. This black, bleak, misfire is surely one of the worst examples of a ‘Christmas’ movie we have ever seen. Harry Dean Stanton makes for one of the creepiest ‘Angels’ imaginable – roaming dark streets, chatting up little kids and mothers in an appallingly ‘suspect’ manner (not Harry’s fault just a BAD script.) At first, the family’s financially depleted domestic situation looked as it was being covered in a realistic (non-glossy ‘Hollywood’ style manner). Then came the desperate criminal element, with an armed hold-up, a stolen car (with a child on the back seat) but then it got even worse with this poor family’s Dad being shot dead! From herein, it all goes belly- up with a ludicrously glib North Pole interception – yes, you guessed it, write a letter to Santa and in the ‘nick’ of time - he will make it all well again! Perhaps Walt was turning in his grave about now - just as we were squirming in our seats! No Faith, no honest warmth, nothing to believe in, just wretched soulless writing. Stay away from this ‘magic’ least you want to go home feeling ill - check out the more accurate, disappointed audience reactions. Waste of an interesting cast (the only thing that drew us in the first case)

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Families looking for lighthearted holiday fare should definitely look elsewhere. With a story somewhat similar to It's a Wonderful Life, ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS makes the low points even lower, as Mary Steenburgen's character must endure the shooting death of her husband by a bank robber, her children being kidnapped and nearly killed by the bank robber, and then telling her kids that their father has died. This is all because she didn't give the future bank robber any money in an earlier scene at a gas station when he tried to sell his beat-up car to the mechanic.

Although this movie does its best to show the many difficulties families and individuals who are struggling financially face during the holidays, the dark moments are too dark, and the ending is a bit too neat and tidy, even by Hollywood standards.

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