The Christmas Bunny

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
The Christmas Bunny Movie Poster Image
Tearjerker wraps emotional themes in spiritual message.
  • PG
  • 2011
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive messages

The idea that vulnerable creatures -- both animal and human -- need love and care is the main message. The necessity of proper and responsible care of rabbits (and pets in general) is shown throughout the film. The power of prayer during tough times is also upheld throughout the film. 

Positive role models & representations

The mother of the Cooper family shows tremendous patience and boundless love with the foster child Julia, who clearly suffers the emotional scars of being raised by a drug addicted biological mother. Julia is taught responsibility and a bit about believing in herself by the rabbit expert, Betsy Ross, who helps Julia come out of her shell a bit.


While not shown in the moment, Rumple the bunny is shot by a BB gun early in the film, and the viewer's first sights of Rumple is in the snow, injured. When Rumple is later taken by Derek, the bratty son of the Coopers and put on a makeshift stunt sled, Julia tackles him, punches him several times and bites his wrist until she draws blood. 


A character uses the acronym "BS." 

Drinking, drugs & smoking

During a Christmas dinner party, two characters stand outside and smoke cigars. In a flashback scene, Julia recalls her mother -- already acknowledged by everyone to be a drug addict -- coming home late one night to the hotel where they are staying, stumbling and acting surly and incoherent before passing out in the bed. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this tearjerker of a holiday drama deals honestly with the heavy themes of adoption, child neglect, and the frustrations of unemployment. Aside from the emotional weight of the film, the content is very mild, with some religious themes. Viewers who are sensitive to endangered animals might be disturbed by the numerous scenes of injured or neglected bunnies, who have been rescued by a determined caretaker.

User Reviews

Adult Written bycommonparent December 4, 2011

Not suitable for Children!! Common Sense Media leaves out a lot from it's review.

Well, after reading this review by Common Sense Media, I will never trust their reviews again. Maybe they failed to actually watch the movie before rating it.... Continue reading
Adult Written bymonkeymoney February 10, 2012

mixed feelings

I love this movie because: 1. I like bunnies 2. have a good massage 3. almost a perfect movie for a family afternoon. Well, my problem is with the movie, that... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 1, 2015

Boring and Cheesy

Very predictable and nothing really happens. Some sad scenes, Julia is abused by her mother who is on drugs. Later she gets lost in the woods and almost dies. T... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bysstofer123 December 3, 2016

a great movie !!!

I believe this movie of the christmas bunny is a great movie espeically if you like animals and a kid who gets fostered by a family who is a stranger to the lit... Continue reading

What's the story?

Julia (Sophie Bolen) is sent to her third foster home in six months. Her biological mother is a drug addict, and their only bond is a VHS tape of The Velveteen Rabbit, which Julia watches obsessively. She is taken to the Coopers, a family struggling to make ends meet. When they attend a Christmas dinner in the lavish new home of Uncle Chip, the Cooper's son Billy receives a BB gun as a gift; he immediately runs outside with the gun and accidentally-on-purpose shoots a rabbit in the leg. A bond immediately forms between Julia and the rabbit (which she names Rumple, in one of the only times she speaks), and this bond grows as they take Rumple to an eccentric "bunny lady" named Betsy Ross (Florence Henderson) who teaches Julia the responsible care of rabbits. From here, the Coopers must learn to have faith in God and themselves that their luck will improve, and Julia must learn to trust her newest family.

Is it any good?

This touching story manages to stay engaging, if somewhat predictable. In its portrayal of the impermanence of foster children's living situations, of the frustrations and difficulties of the long-term unemployed, and the responsibilities of caring for animals, THE CHRISTMAS BUNNY does not take the easy way out like other "holiday/cute animal" movies might. Each of these issues is dealt with honestly and realistically. 

As the eccentric hermit "bunny lady" Betsy Ross, Florence Henderson seems to be having some fun in a very un-Carol Brady role. As the foster child Julia, Sophie Bolen broods and sulks silently from one scene to the next, and while it's easy enough to understand the reasons for her profound withdrawal, one wishes there could be more to latch onto with the character besides a monomaniacal obsession with "The Velveteen Rabbit" and bunnies. That said, tough-skinned kids might enjoy the hint of hope that peeks into Julia's life as the family surrenders to faith and the child slowly learns to trust.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the responsible care of animals. What are the day-to-day chores and responsibilities that go into taking care of a pet? How does the media influence the popularity of certain pets or animals?

  • How realistic are the economic conditions portrayed in the movie? Kids: How has your family been affected by tough economic times? How can the lack of money or financial security affect a family's day-to-day life?

  • Which parts of the movie pack the most emotional punch? How do movies convey certain emotions to viewers? Is it the characters, the acting, the music, etc.?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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