Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The Christmas Candle

posted by Nell Minow
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Nudity/Sex:Out of wedlock pregnancy
Violence/Scariness:Mild peril, sad stories, tense confrontations
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:November 22, 2013
Lowest Recommended Age: 4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements
Profanity: None
Nudity/Sex: Out of wedlock pregnancy
Alcohol/Drugs: None
Violence/Scariness: Mild peril, sad stories, tense confrontations
Diversity Issues: None
Movie Release Date: November 22, 2013

Former Presidential candidate Rick Santorum is now in the faith-based movie business and his first film is based on christmascandleThe Christmas Candle by Max Lucado.


Just before the holidays, a progressive young clergyman named David (Hans Matheson) takes over a church in a small village called Gladbury in late 19th century England.  The town is known for its miracle — every 25 years an angel appears to touch one of the candle maker’s Christmas candles.  Whoever lights that candle receives a miracle.  This year, there is tremendous anticipation and there are many in the town who want the miracle for themselves, including the candle maker and his wife.  David encourages his parishioners not to wait for a miracle but to help each other through kindness, generosity, humility, and love.  And soon the village creates a more connected community and a more welcoming environment.

The evident sincerity of the production is appealing but it cannot disguise a not-ready-for-prime-time amateurish quality in the superficiality of the writing and pedestrian direction.  It is awkward and uneven, but it is also a little less sugary than most faith-based family fare.  Lesley Manville gives a subtle and touching performance that transcends the clunky dialogue and over-constructed plot and Susan Boyle looks very natural in 19th century garb and sings beautifully.  The emphasis on helping others rather than wishing for a selfish miracle is most welcome, though disappointingly undercut in the final half hour.

Parents should know that there are some mature themes, including an out of wedlock pregnancy and family estrangement.

Family discussion:  What would you wish for?  Who can you help?

If you like this, try: “Christmas with a Capital C”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment TRINITY

    so in other words 11 years of praying , seeing Miracles happen to bring this Movie to pass ,Gods perfect Timing , Miracles that have come forth just from the PRE-RELEASES of the Movie , should never have come to pass, because this movie should never have been made in the First place ?
    Is that what you are implying?
    Otherwise what exactly ARE you saying ?And who exactly are you trying to get your “thoughts” to?
    Whom are you hoping will listen and what exactly would you prefer them to do instead ?
    Or are you merely just interested in getting attention ??
    Please think about what you do before you spout off…and whats Jesus’s response to this ?
    There’s enough stabbing and gutting from the Secular Critics aimed to kill this completely or patronize and pat on the head because they hate Christianity to begin with , do you become just like them ???

    • Nell Minow

      Trinity, it is impossible for me to imagine what it is in my review that could have led you to make these accusations. The only thing that makes sense to me in your comments is your asking what I was saying as it is clear you did not pay attention to what I said. In what way did I suggest that this movie should not have been made? Just as with any other movie review, I tried to explain to those who are considering buying a ticket what I thought about the movie’s strengths and weaknesses. I am glad to see faith-based and uplifting films made available, but it is also fair to expect them to meet the same standards of storytelling, artistry, and quality I would expect from any film, and that audiences are entitled to expect for the time and money they are asked to spend.

      I am always sorry to see someone who purports to represent Christianity show so little grace and generosity. If you want to persuade others of your position — and of the benefits of following the path of righteousness — you will do better to express your views more thoughtfully. In particular, if you have actually seen the film, you might share your thoughts on what you liked about it. I’d be glad to hear that from you, and assure you I will respond more respectfully than you did.

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