Video Release: 10/16/2012
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter
Writer: Mark Valenti
Producer: James Wilberger
Director: David S. Cass, Sr.
Runtime: 87 min.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Melissa Gilbert
Vera Parks (Gilbert), an overly intense and demanding Broadway director gets fired from yet another job, leaving her no choice but to take a gig directing a small town Christmas pageant. Stunned at how basic the production is, Vera attempts to back out, but is convinced by some of the locals to give their town a chance. When Vera discovers her former fiancé Jack (Mailhouse) recommended her for the job, she is outraged. But over time Vera grows close to both Jack and his young daughter ( Lennon Wynn).
This is a terrific movie, heartwarming and one the family can enjoy together. Melissa Gilbert of "Little House on the Prairie" fame plays Vera Parks, a strong-willed and intense New York director. She gets fired from her job for her lack of people skills and accepts a job in a small town, Ashtown Falls, directing the yearly Christmas Pageant. She learns that no changes ever occur in the pageant, year after year, and she plans to bring something fresh to it. Enter trouble.
She longs to have the Nativity scene done in silhouette and to even, gasp, change the Christmas star into something more bright than tin foil. She even suggests removing the halos from the angels. One antagonist named Beverly believes she has gone too far. She fights Vera tooth and nail over every little detail but Vera soon learns there is more to Beverly's tense attitude than just resentment. It seems she received a bad medical report.
When Vera becomes friends with a young girl named Kristen Harmon (delightfully played by Lennon Wynn) she learns that her father is Jack Harmon, a man she used to date and had strong feelings for. Jack's wife has passed on and, despite fighting it, Vera finds she still has feelings for Jack. And, as one older lady reminds her, even though you may climb a mountain by yourself, "it sure is nice to share the view with someone at the top."
Vera fires a wise man but makes him her Assistant Director as she sees real ability in him. Soon she has a young woman named Anita, who can sing like an angel, but who has terrible stage fright, volunteering to sing. It becomes obvious that the cast is changing and for the better. Even Beverly and Vera become friends. However, a fantastic offer comes in just before opening night of the Christmas Pageant and Vera has to make a quick decision. Is she the same woman who lived in New York, or has her experience in Ashton Falls changed her? This film features wonderful themes including the closeness of a small hometown community and that second chances do come around from time to time.
This is a refreshing and warm family movie and we gladly award our Dove "Family-Approved" Seal for all ages to this delightful film.
Sex: Kissing by a couple.
Language: H (As a place)-1; Butt-1
Other: Tension and disagreements between a few characters; burping.