Each movie listed includes: 

(1) Title (2) Rating (3) Genres (4) Starring (5) Synopsis (6) My Personal Review (7) Scoring 1-5

 

 

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Last Chance For Christmas (2015)
Rated: PG
Genres: Family, Fantasy, Romance
Starring: Hilarie Burton, Gabriel Hogan, and Tim Mathison 
Synopsis: Santa's stockman has to find a replacement for an injured reindeer. When he locates one, complications and love ensue.
Review:  A unique Christmas story about needing a substitute reindeer. How can they not have extras at the North Pole? Lol. The characters keep the movie moving and engaging. A charming movie. 
Scoring: 3
 

Last Christmas (2019)

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Emilia Clarke, Emma Thompson, Henry Golding, and Patti LuPone

Synopsis: Nothing seems to go right for young Kate, a frustrated Londoner who works as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop.  But things soon take a turn for the better when she develops a growing attraction to a charming suitor who seems to good to be true.

Review: When it started, I thought it was going to be a dull movie about a troubled girl.  I’m so glad I stayed with it.  As Kate evolves, with the help of Tom, we see all the layers to her and all her life experiences that led her down her path.  I can’t give away the part that makes it so special without ruining it for you.  I will say I cried a few tears.  When it was done, I felt uplifted.  Kate saying, “Helping each other is, in fact, what makes us happy,” sums up what Christmas means.

Scoring: 4

Last Vermont Christmas (2018)

Rated: G

Genres: Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Justin Bruening and Erin Cahill

Synopsis: The Marvin sisters gather for what may be their last Christmas at their childhood home.

Review:  This story has lots of relatable family and personal issues as well as a sweet story. It also moves very slowly. It felt like I was watching it forever. I didn’t mind but I prefer something that keeps me so interested I don’t notice the time. 

Scoring: 3

The Least Of These: A Christmas Story (2018)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Religion

Starring: Tayla Lynn, Emma Faith, and Michael Nicolosi

Synopsis: A charming Christmas tale of hope, forgiveness and faith that centers around a single mom, her seven-year-old daughter and a Salvation Army Santa Claus.

Review: This movie is simple yet so beautifully moving.  The faith of this little girl, shared with her by her mother, is inspiring.  The characters all have a compassion and kindness that we need more of.  The community helping each other creates an emotional reaction.  I was emotionally invested from the very beginning.

Scoring: 4

The Legend of Frosty The Snowman (2005)

Rated: PG

Genres: Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy

Starring: Larry Miller and Burt Reynolds

Synopsis: Frosty the Snowman goes where he is needed most and shares his magic with the town of Evergreen when they needed it most. 

Review: This is another sequel that seemed to be done solely for the sake of having a sequel. The story is poor but the rest of it is just as bad. It takes away from the legend of Frosty rather than adding to it. I’d skip this one and stick to the original. 

Scoring: 1

The Legend of The Christmas Witch (2018)

Rated: NR

Genres: Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Paola Cortellesi

Synopsis: During the day Paola is an ordinary primary school teacher, but at night, she turns into The Christmas Witch, a magical creature who brings gifts to the good kids.

Review: I recommend parents preview this before showing their children.  There is some language and discussing how to French kiss that may not be appropriate for younger children.  That being said, I really liked it.  It’s the best version of the Italian La Befana I’ve seen.  It was funny but not silly.  It is in Italian but dubbed over in English so you don’t have to read subtitles.  I found it very entertaining.  It’s a good introduction to the Italian culture and how they celebrate Christmas.

Scoring: 3

Let It Snow (2013)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure, Jesse Hutch, and Alan Thicke
Synopsis: A self-defined Grinch, Stephanie begins her stay at Snow Valley Lodge immune to Christmas sentiment. But as the lodge's festive traditions provide the Christmas Stephanie never had growing up with her distant father, Stephanie also finds herself developing feelings for the son of the owners, Brady.  As her Christmas Eve deadline approaches, she's faced with a decision: should she transform the lodge into a new winter hot spot or embrace tradition and let it snow?
Review:  This movie is enjoyable, as all of Candace Cameron Bure’s movies are.  We have the expected change of thinking and embracing of Christmas but it’s done in a gentle way with the beautiful backdrop of nature. I particularly liked the multicultural traditions of the inn. 
Scoring: 4

Let It Snow (2019)

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Romance

Starring: Joan Cusack

Synopsis: In a small town on Christmas Eve, a snowstorm brings together a group of young people.

Review: This may be a film for millennials and teens.  Each story is superficial and they never get too involved.  It seemed like they tried to duplicate Love Actually but missed on the story, the emotions, and Christmas.  The actors were good but the story just felt forced.  I’d skip this one.

Scoring: 1

The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus (2000)

Rated: G

Genres: Animation, Fantasy

Starring: Robby Benson, Dixie Carter, Hal Holbrook,

Synopsis: Based on the L. Frank Baum holiday classic, a human orphan raised by the Faire Folke becomes the benefactor of all human children.

Review: This version of Baum’s story is adapted to make the story understandable to even young viewers.  It’s a different Santa origin story than many are used to but the story is so elaborate and lovely I’d have children try it.  It’s one the family could enjoy together.

Scoring: 2

Life-Size 2 (2018)

Rated: TV-14

Genre: Comedy, Fantasy

Starring: Tyra Banks and Francia Raisa 

Synopsis: Grace is a hot mess in the middle of a quarter-life crisis, realizing that she is in over her head as a toy company's CEO. To make it worse, her wild-child ways are causing the company's stock to plummet.

Review:  First off, I ask you to notice the rating and not show it to young children. Secondly, when it began, I thought it might be one of the stupidest movies ever. Luckily, as it went on the story got better. It has a message of female empowerment. For me it’s still a one-time watch. 

Scoring: 2

 

A Light In The Forest (2003)

Rated: PG

Genres: Family, Fantasy

Starring: Lindsay Wagner

Synopsis: Britta must face her fears at her school's Christmas pageant while Holly Boy, the spirit of the season, must battle the forces of evil.

Review: I found this movie to be a little hard to watch.  There were places where it was really slow or far too much fantasy.  Even my imagination can only suspend so much belief.  This is more of a family movie but I wouldn’t have really young children watch.  The subject matter may be too much for them.

Scoring: 2

Like Father, Like Santa AKA The Christmas Takeover (1998)

Rated: NR

Genres: Family, Fantasy

Starring: Harry Hamlin

Synopsis: A ruthless toy tycoon, out to crush all of his competitors, travels to the North Pole to put an end to his biggest rival.

Review:  A bit corny, as some older made for TV movies are, but an interesting concept. I think children won’t mind the corniness and adults may enjoy it a little bit. 

Scoring: 2

 

Lil’ Santa’s Book Club: The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (2019)

Rated: NR

Genres: Animation, Fantasy

Synopsis: Celebrate the Christmas holiday with Santa and his favorite book-club as they gather around the fire to tell L. Frank Baum's classic holiday story, "The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus".

Review: The stories are interesting but I question who their intended audience is.  The characters in the book club and the illustrations for the stories seem to be geared for the youngest viewers yet the stories use vocabulary that required me to pay full attention.  They use words and phrases like “irksome” and “sweet immortals who revel undisturbed in its depths”.  I think I’d try letting children watch it but if they lose interest it’s likely because they can’t follow the stories.

Scoring: 1

A Little Christmas Business (2013)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Daniel Baldwin

Synopsis: Don Collier has a wonderful life and family, but no time to enjoy either. His impossible boss even has him collecting signatures for a huge project the day before Christmas, but as he goes office to office it seems that every signer is a ghost from his past, and he soon begins to wonder if this is coincidence... or heavenly intervention.

Review: While I admit that this appears low budget and even has a few cheesy points, I really liked it.  It had a “Sixth Sense” feel about it.  Is he dead?  Is he having visions?  What’s going on?  And why isn’t he remembering his son is in the car this whole time?  I won’t ruin the story but it kept me really interested.  It’s one I’d watch again.

Scoring: 3

London Mitchell’s Christmas (2019)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Family

Starring: Aaron D. Spears

Synopsis: When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, it forces him to rethink his outlook on life. 

Review: This was really boring. They don’t develop London’s character, or any character. They show him as a really horrible human and when he gets the diagnosis it’s hard to care. You feel for his ex-wife and kids more than him. Even when diagnosed he still cares more about himself. The problems aren’t worked through so much as miraculously resolved. 

Scoring: 1

Looks Like Christmas (2016)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Anne Heche and Dylan Neal
Synopsis: An over-involved single mother butts heads with a single dad over the school’s annual Christmas Spectacular, an event that she feels like she owns. 
Review:  You have to get a kick out of a movie where the children are, at times, more mature than the adults. The parents butt heads but never cross the line to make you feel uncomfortable watching it. I liked seeing them evolve and find their happy ending. 
Scoring: 4
 

Love Actually (2003)

Rated: R

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Starring: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney, Colin Firth, and Keira Knightley

Synopsis: Follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London, England.

Review:  While this movie takes place at Christmas rather than being about Christmas, the messages are all about Christmas spirit. You may need a tissue for this one. It goes back and forth between tender, funny, moving, and heartwarming.   This is a classic Christmas must-see.

Scoring: 5

Love Always, Santa (2016)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Family, Romance
Starring: Marguerite Moreau and Mike Faiola 
Synopsis: A widow's daughter writes to Santa Claus, asking for her mother to find love again. When a struggling writer receives the letter, he finds new inspiration and the beginnings of a romance.
Review:  Lighthearted and sweet, this story is enjoyable. Of course, we have a happy ending but I was happy to journey there. I liked learning about them through their letters. The townspeople add humor. 
Scoring: 3
 
Love At The Christmas Table (2012)
Rated: PG
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Danica McKellar, Lea Thompson, and Dustin Milligan
Synopsis: Family friends Sam and Kat spend every Christmas Eve at the Children's Table. They grow up together, sharing the highs and lows of young adulthood. And at thirty, Sam realizes that Kat is the one...but he's afraid that the past will get in the way.
Review:  For me the best part of this movie is seeing the relationships develop over the years, especially Sam and Kat. It’s funny and dramatic. You root for that happy ending but they keep you guessing. 
Scoring: 4

Love The Coopers (2015)

Rated: PG-13

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family

Starring: John Goodman, Diane Keaton, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms, Marisa Tomei, Alan Arkin, Amanda Seyfried, Anthony Markie, And Steve Martin 

Synopsis: The intertwined stories of four generations of Coopers unfold right before the annual family reunion on Christmas Eve.

Review:  For all but the end there’s no fun in dysfunctional. It’s a realistic portrayal of individual and family flaws and strengths. It’s very dark and a little depressing but I’m glad I stuck with it. The ending is all the more meaningful because of the darkness. 

Scoring: 3

Love You Like Christmas (2016)
Rated: G
Genres: Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Bonnie Somerville and Brennan Elliott
Synopsis: A high-powered executive reconsiders her priorities when car trouble leads her to Christmas Valley, a town in love with Christmas.  A kind widower, Kevin, runs a Christmas tree farm with his daughter. Just as his financial issues threaten to take the farm, Maddie shows up. She learns there’s more to life than work as she helps Kevin and bonds with his daughter. 
Review:   A darling story of love and Christmas spirit with characters you can’t help but like. I couldn’t help but enjoy the people at the B & B and how the town came together to support Kevin’s business. 
Scoring: 4

Love’s Christmas Journey (2011)

Rated: NR

Genres: Drama, Family, Romance

Starring: Natalie Hall, JoBeth Williams, Sean Austin, and Ernest Borgnine

Synopsis: While mourning the loss of her husband and daughter, recently widowed Ellie visits her brother Aaron and his children for Christmas. Ellie does her best to enjoy the holidays, making new friends with Mrs. Thompson, a local shop keeper, and handsome admirer Deputy Strode. When Aaron travels out of town to purchase land, Ellie agrees to watch his children, but the season's festivities are threatened when Aaron goes missing.

Review:  The main part of the movie is a good story but there’s so much extra stuff that feels like filler and slows the pace. The slow parts are worth sitting through for the few good parts but maybe just once. 

Scoring: 2

Lovely, Still (2008)

Rated: PG

Genres: Drama, Romance

Starring: Martin Landau, Ellen Burstyn, and Adam Scott

Synopsis: An elderly man falls in love for the first time with his new neighbor.

Review: This movie is just plain magic.  From the story to the acting to how it unfolds.  This is hard because I can’t say what makes it so very special without spoiling it.  It was so moving.  I’ll leave it at that and say you should check it out.  It is for adults.  Children and teens probably won’t understand it.

Scoring: 4

Lucky Christmas (2011)
Rated: G
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Family, Romance
Starring: Elizabeth Berkley and Jason Gray-Stanford
Synopsis: Holly, a single mom trying to get back on her feet, is crushed to learn her winning lottery ticket is in the glove compartment of her recently stolen car. Mike, the construction worker behind Holly's missing property, goes along with a master plan to befriend Holly. Mike unexpectedly falls in love with Holly and learns there are more important things in life than quick money in time for the holidays.
Review:  Interesting movie with good characters. Holly’s love for her son and never giving up on her dreams is nice. There’s nothing surprising but I want them to have a happy ending together. 
Scoring: 3