Parents' Guide to

The Heart of Christmas

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Intense faith-based tearjerker based on a true story.

Movie NR 2011 89 minutes
The Heart of Christmas Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

An honest review from a skeptic

Definitely not your typical Hallmark/abc family christmas movie, but nonetheless fills your heart and soul with warmth and relief. As mentioned by the author of this page, The Heart of Christmas might be a little too intense for younger children as the subject per se is very tragic. I admit that even I wanted to skip this movie, thinking the subject was too sad for a Christmas movie. "Let's watch feel-good kind of movie today," I thought. I'm so glad I didn't listen to myself and sat through this heavy-hearted yet incredibly (times infinity) beautiful. The theme of Christianity is indeed very present (some might say it was overly displayed) but it didn't personally bother me, although I understand how it could. Maybe it's because I'm also a Christian. But I think it's more so because you just realize that in these times, when science, tangible and reliable methods and information, isn't on your side, and giving up is just not an option, you need a miracle. The subject of religion but however not be for everybody, which is also 100% understandble. If you're one of these people, just letting you know there are some scenes with prayers that aren't made so subtle. So before you fall asleep reading this oh-so-cheesy review (if you even made it all the way here), I strongly recommend this movie. Smiles and feels guarenteed - it's just a winner.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

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

The scenes involving prayer often feel forced and heavy-handed, and the acting and dialogue aren't always the best. But THE HEART OF CHRISTMAS does not try to sugarcoat the day-to-day difficulties of parents hoping for miracles in the midst of their children being treated in a cancer ward in St. Jude Children's Hospital. Resiliency, courage, and faith are continually on display in this movie, and, although it's a tearjerker, it's also the story of parents and a community coming together to make the best of an incredibly difficult situation.

Although not directly about Christmas per se, the movie does directly promote the traditional Christmas values of selfless giving, faith, and cherishing each moment shared among family members. Families looking for more lighthearted Christmas fare should definitely look elsewhere, as this movie does attempt to honestly portray life in a children's cancer ward.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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.

See how we rate