Bailee Michelle Johnson in Christmas Oranges (2012)

Lacking Christmas Zest

Rose (Bailee Michelle Johnson) was left on the doorstep of Mrs. Hartley (Nancy Stafford) who always took in abandoned children. And for the first eleven years of her life Rose grew up there often helping to look after the other orphans and having plenty of fun. But when illness befalls the Hartley home it leads to Rose having to go to the orphanage run by Mr. Crampton (Edward Herrmann) who he himself had been an orphan in a home with his brother Joe (Bruce Newbold) when they were growing up. Mr. Crampton's orphanage is very different to the home run by Mrs. Hartley with Mr. Crampton being a stickler for rules. But never the less Rose's kind nature remains unwavered and she brings hope to those around her. So when Rose ends up breaking the rules those who have become her friends try to help her in order to make sure she has a good Christmas.

"Christmas Oranges" is based on a short story by Linda Bethers and Ben Sowards with it appearing those who have read the story also taking a shine to this movie adaptation. I haven't read the short story and to be truthful "Christmas Oranges" didn't captivate me in the way that it clearly has others. It isn't that this is a bad movie but it is one which ends up feeling a little too familiar with this story of a good natured young girl making friends at an orphanage, winning over those who are negative and so on. Even the mystery surrounding Mr. Crampton and his own daughter is all a little too classic in feel which makes "Christmas Oranges" one of those movies which you find yourself writing in your head long before the scenes arrive.

I think part of the trouble with "Christmas Oranges" is that it is trying to deliver that classic old fashioned family drama feel. As such we have the mind 1910's with a mix of humble, pompous and mischievous characters. There is also that politeness which ends up feeling all too manufactured as does the sudden burst of magical music which appears in various scenes giving the movie a feel that it is trying too hard to deliver what other movies have done before. And sadly it distracts from the little bit of mystery the movie has when it comes to Mr. Crampton's daughter.

What this all boils down to is that "Christmas Oranges" ended up a by the book movie which was pleasant enough but just didn't grab me in the way I was expecting having gone on the reviews of others.

Tags: Christmas Movies