A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Silver Bells is a 2013 Christmas movie starring Bruce Boxleitner as an overly competitive local sportscaster who learns that giving to others and helping those less fortunate is much more important than winning after a judge sentences him to community service at the Salvation Army. Though not entirely faith-based, the movie does make frequent reference to prayer, church, and God. In the only instance of bullying, a house is vandalized with toilet paper, Christmas decorations are knocked around, and the word "QUITTER" is spray-painted into the snow. Though this movie may be enjoyable for religious families seeking a movie about "the true meaning of Christmas," less religious families will be turned off by the slow pace and predictability.
What's the story?
Bruce Dalt (Bruce Boxleitner) is a famous local sportscaster. He also is overly competitive and goes through life believing that winning is the only thing that matters. That changes after an altercation with the referee of his son's high school basketball team leaves the referee with a bloody nose. The incident goes viral on YouTube, Dalt is suspended from the TV news desk, and a judge sentences Dalt to community service as a Salvation Army bell ringer. As he spends more time learning about the Salvation Army and the good work they do, Dalt begins to learn virtues such as giving and charity and learns to appreciate his son's decision to quit his team so he can volunteer as a coach for underprivileged youth. Dalt learns to care about his community and help others, realizing that by doing so, he actually helps himself and, as a result, might just get his job back.
Is it any good?
SILVER BELLS is full of clichéd Christmas verities such as "it's better to give than to receive" and "don't forget those less fortunate." The messages aren't exactly presented in a subtle manner, and variations of this story go back to at least A Christmas Carol, which makes it easy to predict what happens from beginning to end. For those looking for faith-based entertainment, this wholesome story should prove entertaining, but for everyone else, the movie's slow pace and trite story line make it difficult to sit through.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's message. What does the film say about faith and charity?
How is this movie similar to other stories in which self-centered characters learn "the true meaning of Christmas"?
Have you ever volunteered? How did it make you feel? What are some volunteer opportunities in your community?
- On DVD or streaming: October 29, 2013
- Cast: Bruce Boxleitner, Kenton Duty, Kevin Downes
- Director: Billy Damota
- Studio: Pure Flix Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Brothers and Sisters, High School, Holidays
- Run time: 105 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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