Knowing this was a Disney movie, I expected some immaculate picture perfect Christmas scenes with fluffy white snow, jolly folks all over and the overall feeling of a mass psychosis.
Instead what we see here is a story of a working-class family getting unemployed and evicted. The poverty shown here isn’t romantic in the traditional Hollywood style, but dull, mundane and stressful instead. You know, more like in real life. It’s not an uplifting setting, but I have to applaud them for this more bold approach. Even the snow is that off-white yellowish slush us most people have to experience during the holidays.
Story wise the movie loans a lot from Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). There’s an angel who died in the last century and now has to do a good deed here on earth by helping a family that is being evicted and in debt, and especially targeting its mother Ginny (Mary Steenburgen) who has lost her faith in the christmas. Biggest twist here is that this time around it’s the father who isn’t down in the dumps, but the mother; plus the story is told from the kids’ point of view. Bad shit starts to happen, initiated by the angel and it all escalates to a double murder and them losing their father. Only way to undo it all is for the mother to start believing in the christmas.
Now, I’m not an expert in children psychology, but I’m purrdy sure this is not the best lesson to teach the kids, especially the ones who’ve actually lost their parent.
A lukewarm and uninspired rehash of ”It’s a Wonderful Life” that misses most, if not all of the magic of its iconic predecessor