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Adapted from Lois Lowry's 1994 Newbery winning book.
by The Dove Foundation

Christmas for a Dollar

Dove Rating
Dove "Family-Approved"
Suitable for any age

Video Release: 11/12/2013

Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter
Source: Video
Writer: Sally Meyer
Producer: Ron Brough, Barry Evans, Marybeth Sprows, Eric And
Director: John Lyde
Genre: Christmas
Runtime: 101 min.
Starring: Brian Krause, Nancy Stafford, Danielle Chuchran, Heather Beers, James Gaisford, and introducing Jacob Buster and Ruby Jones

Synopsis:
America is in the midst of the Great Depression, and the Kamp family is struggling to get by, especially since Mrs. Kamp's untimely death nearly a year ago. Eighteen-year-old Verna does her best to take care of the family while going to school, and seventeen-year-old Warren is anxious to work and earn money to help the family in spite of his father's protests. But it's the younger children -- aspiring ball player Russell; Hopalong Cassidy fan Norman; and straight-talking little Ruthie -- who struggle most with a bleak-looking future. Now, with their mother gone and their father, William, overwhelmed by the dismal economy and mounting doctor bills resulting from young Norman's battle with polio, the Kamp siblings fully expect a Christmas without presents or festivities. But when William scrapes together a dollar in coins to use only for Christmas gifts, everything begins to change. As each member of the family comes up with a special gift that costs little or no money to be given to another member of the family, the Kamps soon begin to see many of their dearest wishes come true. And just when Norman and Ruthie believe their hopes and dreams are dashed, small miracles of service and sacrifice bring them joy and teach the true meaning of Christmas giving. Perhaps a boy who struggles to walk can become a real cowboy after all.

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Dove Worldview:
You always need a good story to make a good movie and "Christmas for a Dollar" has both. The acting is excellent, the camera work is solid and the production is well done in every area. I really enjoyed watching this film.

Although the story takes place during the Great Depression, there is no doubt that viewers in today's world and economy will relate to it. The family is having difficulties replacing clothing for their of five kids and dad, a widower. Their Christmas might be short on material things but it appears there will be plenty of love as the family is rich in that.

The plot involves a young boy's love for a neighbor's horse, the oldest sister of the family attempting to take on the role of mother, and a young sister dealing with deception when her honest acts of kindness toward winning a gift box from the teacher is thwarted by a fellow student who lies about his supposed good deeds. In addition the eldest son wants a mechanic's job to help his father provide for the family but his dad is hearing none of it. The father manages to come up with a dollar that the family can split to buy Christmas gifts for one another. He reminds them of the one who did a lot with five loaves and two fish.

This story is well told and features themes of being adaptable, kind, and putting family first. It has its realistic moments when characters deal with disappointment. We are pleased to award the film our Dove "Family-Approved" Seal for all ages.

Content Chart & Description

Content ScaleSexLanguageViolenceDrugs & AlcoholNudityOther
SexLanguageViolenceDrugsNudityOther
Rating Descriptions

Sex: None
Language: Idiots-1; A boy fantasizes about holding a gun on a bad guy and saying, "Reach for the heavens or I'll send you straight to--" (Not finished);
Violence: A couple of boys break up things and slice open grain bags in a woman's horse barn; a boy shoves a girl; a girl kicks a boy; a boy bloodies another boy's nose with a punch to defend his sister; a kid punches a kid; a mean boy is hung up on a nail and left; a couple of boys hit each other with spit balls.
Drugs: None
Nudity: None
Other: A horse has an accident and bloodies its leg but is okay.

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