Down & Out at Christmas
The George family are doing well with Christmas coming: David George (Kevin Sizemore) is busy with his good job, his wife Julie (Claudia Esposito) is busy as a social mum, their teenage children are wrapped up in their own lives and gadgets which just leaves the innocent six year old Nina (Siomha Kenney) who is the only one in the family who cares about Christmas and being kind. And then David loses his job and rather than slow things down the family continue with the lives the way they were until all of a sudden the money is running out and they have to sell their home. With a spot at an underpass on the cards David is approached by a kindly old Christmas tree farmer Henry Banks (Terry Kiser) who a year earlier was on the receiving end of rare moment of kindness from David. The question is will David and the family have learned their lesson as to what is important in life or will they return to their old materialistic ways?
I'm going to ramble for a bit here but go with me. Have you ever lost everything; your job, your money, your self worth and your home? Trust me it is a humbling experience when you find yourself sleeping rough, living day to day and dealing with mounting debts which you can't run away from. The sad thing is that it is easy to get in a mess with the must have culture of having the latest gadgets, buying on credit and when you do get in a mess there is an easy way out by going bankrupt and starting all over again. Now for some getting in a mess is not always their fault but when you get into a mess through your own recklessness what do you learn by going bankrupt.
In a way "A Christmas Tree Miracle" is all about what I have just been on about as we enter the world of the George family who having been living it large, buying what they want and by the sound of it putting some money by. But by trying to keep things going and living above their means and being too proud to admit they are in financial trouble until it is too late end up in a real mess. There is a lot of depth to what is presented in the first half of the movie as we get the eye opening experiences of the George family who through being materialistic and proud are their own worst nightmares. We see how when they finally admit they are in a mess the realisation and selfishness of the family puts an added air of tension in the family.
Now all this is great as is the fact that come the second half of the movie we get presented with whether or not the George family especially David will have learned their lessons or will return to their materialistic former ways. But instead of sticking to being realistic "A Christmas Tree Miracle" goes for the happy Christmas ending which whilst giving it a heart warming aspect robs the movie of some of its power which is what it had to start with.
What is surprising about "A Christmas Tree Miracle" is that this lacks some of the finesse you find in most Christmas movies. It's not that it looks amateurish, it has a certain style and quality about it but it lacks gloss. Yet the brutal honesty of it, the realism it shows when it comes to people living above their means, refusal to learn and pig headedness keeps you watching. And that is something because there are times when some of the acting comes up short or ends up over the top.
What this all boils down to is that "A Christmas Tree Miracle" is in fact a very good movie with a very important message to get across. It is by no means perfect as certain aspects let it down but it speaks a whole lot of sense when it comes to modern life and the way we live making it a movie which can be watched through out the year.
Tags: Christmas Movies