Warm fuzzy Christmas movies are some of my favorite things to indulge in over the holiday season. That is the main reason why every year at this time I scour online retailers for all the latest television DVD releases. This is also true of The Christmas Card, a Hallmark channel movie; this endearing little film is now at the top of my “classics” list.
The Christmas Card (2006) TV Film Review
Living in the small woodland town of Nevada City, Faith Spellman (Alice Evans) adopts the strong moral values of her upbringing. Every year at Christmastime, her church sends Christmas greetings to the troops overseas and this year Faith’s card reaches Sergeant Cody Cullen (John Newton). Sergeant Cullen is without family and as a result is thinking of re-enlisting instead of taking his Christmas break. His commanding officer however has different ideas, and sends Cody to deliver the dog tags of a fallen soldier to the man’s fiancée.
This brings him to Nevada City, and while there, Cody meets the Spellman family. He finds everything about the town and people warm and welcoming. Then Luke Spellman (Edward Asner) invites the stranger to stay, and Cody finds himself drawn to this generous family, and Faith, the woman who sent him the card a year ago.
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This Hallmark Channel movie manages to be cute and moving. The character of Cody is one of emotional trauma, and John Newton does an excellent job embodying him. Also fun, and doubling as a bit of trivia, is seeing Alice Evans in something other than a children’s movie; in real life she’s married to British actor Ioan Gruffudd. As a Brit, Alice’s accent does creep in here and there, understandably so. Still, we can tell by her dialect that she tries really hard to sound American. Asner and Newton are probably the strongest performances, but Alice Evens and Lois Nettlton are also fantastic to round out the leading cast.
There is so many themes that I love about this film. Family is portrayed as a wonderful gift and Faith still adores her parents, and faith in God is also part of their lives. Despite the fact that Edward Asner is very vocal about politics, I love the scenes between he and Cody. Each has meaning. (Some of the funnier scenes involve Faith’s Uncle Richard making clumsy attempts to match-make.) The meeting between Faith and Cody is adorable; it might not be “brilliant,” but it’s “real” (and the writer’s carry this into the end).
The scenery is another pretty part of this film. Generally I don’t notice scenery, but for some reason I do here, possibly because so much is set outside. The woodsy town they live in has a quaint feel; in particular, one beautiful scene has characters walking through a wintry path surrounded by pine trees. In conclusion, my thoughts really come down to this; I love this movie. It has heart, comedy and underlying themes of faith that aren’t in films today.
The respect, family values, and love driving this is a beautiful undercurrent. As a supporter of our troops, it’s wonderful to see a movie that respectfully includes this. These characters are very real, and despite the fact that all things must end, I wanted this story to go on. This Christmas tale is not only one my favorites, but is something I watch year after year. The sweet tale that unfolds is a joy to watch and the slightly bittersweet conclusion leaves you happy, but still wanting so much more.
Content: a couple starts “making out” on the couch before being interrupted. A bomb kills a man, we see it go off and the man lying lifeless – no blood. The film is PG.
Photos: Hallmark Channel / Crown Media Press