Movie Review – ‘One Magic Christmas’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

My parents and I saw another Christmas film on Disney+ last Friday. This happened to be the 1985 film ‘One Magic Christmas’, starring Mary Steenburgen and Harry Dean Stanton. This was a fascinating film to see on Disney+, though I don’t think this is the kind of film I’d see again and again.

I did see the film advertised once on a Disney VHS my parents and I used to have when I was a kid in the 1990s. I can’t remember which VHS it was on though. I thought it looked to be a good Christmas film according to the trailer, although it would take my parents and me many years later to see it. 😀

After seeing it on Disney+, yeah it was a nice film. Although the first half is rather slow in terms of the pacing, the set-up of the characters and what the film’s plot is meant to be about. It’s by the second half that something interesting happens, but even then it did feel quite tame in the outcome.

The film focuses on the Grainger family, including Mary Steenburgen as Ginny the mother, Gary Basaraba as Jack the father, Robbie Magwood as Cal the son and Elisabeth Harnois as Abbie the daughter. The mother Ginny has lost her Christmas spirit whilst her daughter wants to write to Santa.

A Christmas angel called Gideon, played by Harry Dean Stanton, gets assigned by Santa Claus to restore the Christmas spirit in the Grainger family, including the mother Ginny. But the assignment itself involves a lot of sadness especially when a bank heist happens and Jack the father gets killed. 😦

Mary Steenburgen played Clara Clayton in ‘Back to the Future, Part III’ and she was in ‘Elf’ with Will Ferrell. It was nice to see her in this film playing Ginny and it was fascinating to see her play a rather depressed mother struggling to feel the Christmas spirit when there’s a lot stress and grief occurring.

I don’t think it’s made clear as to why Ginny is feeling depressed and having lost the spirit of Christmas. Maybe it was something to do with her lack of faith in Santa Claus or maybe a close family relative died to cause that to happen. I wish the film clearly established that whilst watching it.

The film does take on the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ approach where a guardian angel is watching over the Grainger family in Harry Dean Stanton’s character Gideon. I don’t think it’s done that rather well since Gideon does not seem to be as cheerful as Clarence and Dudley were.

Also, I don’t like it when the film seems to be encouraging that Santa Claus is real and that they don’t mention the true message of Christmas, especially in terms of Jesus’ birth. It seems to be the attitude of celebrating Christmas nowadays where people forget ‘The Nativity Story’ as important. 😦

I’m disappointed the nativity wasn’t mentioned at all in the film. Also, I’m not sure if time got reversed when Ginny seemed to have her Christmas faith restored once she posted her daughter Abbie’s letter to Santa Claus at the end. It’s not made that really clear and it was all pretty confusing.

The kids performing in the film are quite good, especially Elisabeth Harnois playing Abbie the daughter. The film also features Arthur Hill as Caleb Grainger, the kids’ great-grandfather (not grandfather as I presumed). There’s also Jan Rubeš as Saint Nicolaas/Santa Claus (I believe); Michelle Meyrink as Betty

‘One Magic Christmas’ is a pleasant film to sit through. I don’t think it’s a great Christmas film to watch, but it was nice to spend an hour and a half watching it. I think the story and the messages could have been clearer and better, but the performances are good, especially Mary Steenburgen’s.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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