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Happy 3rd week of Advent. I hope you have been enjoying my blogmas series. Today I am excited to share a review of Max Lucado‘s The Christmas Candle. Based on the best selling novel, the film is a Christmas movie about Christmas that is an excellent viewing during the Christmas season!
Featuring theology from both Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, the story features Hans Matheson as a pastor who has been struggling with his faith since a tragic loss. Due to Barbara Flynn‘s entreaty as Lady Camdon, Matheson’s character (Rev. Richmond) arrives in fictional Gladbury in 1890 in time for the Advent season. But Gladbury is no ordinary town with a tradition of a Christmas miracle every 25 years wherein an angel bestows a miracle upon whomever lights the Christmas candle. The new reverend however does not believe in these miracles and tries to convince the town folk to believe in God and not miracle candles. Meanwhile Mrs. Haddington (Lesley Manville), the wife of the candlemaker, wants to use this year’s candle so that her son would come back home after a long absence and yet when the magical candle is knocked off the shelf she devises a plan to give out candles to everyone seeking for a miracle. So what will happen when the Christmas candle is actually lit on Christmas Eve?
The story makes for a beautiful Christmas movie starring an ensemble cast including John Hannah (“Sliding Doors”), Samantha Barks (“Les Miserables”), Susan Boyle (“Britain’s Got Talent”), Sylvester McCoy (“Doctor Who”) and James Cosmo (“Braveheart”).
Christians will appreciate the focus on God and Advent. The New York Daily News described it as a “Dickens-meets-Sunday-school movie”. Given the 1 star rating, I reckon that description was not meant to be positive. However, just because the movie has an honest look at Advent – maybe even more so than most modern day Sunday School classrooms – that does not mean that it is lackluster and without soul. The performances are well flushed out and the characters believable.
As the Los Angeles Times put it, ” [the film’s] message of community and faith shines brighter” and “beams with holiday spirit”.
Rating: PG for mild thematic elements.
Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.
Where to Watch:
Director: John Stephenson
Cast: Hans Matheson, John Hannah, Lesley Manville, Samantha Barks, Susan Boyle, Barbara Flynn, James Cosmo, Sylvester McCoy