On the same weekend that most people went to see “Hunger Games 2,” we opted to see the new holiday drama, “The Christmas Candle.” Here’s what you most need to know about this movie, which is based on the book by Christian writer Max Lucado (who makes a cameo).
“Deep in the heart of the English countryside lies the enchanting village of Gladbury. Legend has it, every 25 years an angel visits the village candlemaker and touches a single candle. Whoever lights this candle receives a miracle on Christmas Eve. But in 1890, at the dawn of the electric age, this centuries old legend may come to an end.
“When David Richmond (Hans Matheson), a progressive young minister, arrives in Gladbury, the villagers discover a new formula for miracles: good deeds and acts of kindness. While David’s quest to modernize Gladbury sets him at odds with the old world candlemaker, he finds an unlikely ally in the lovely skeptic, Emily Barstow (Samantha Barks). Now, the fiery candlemaker must fight to preserve the legacy of the Christmas Candle. But when the candle goes missing, the miraculous and human collide in the most astonishing Christmas the village of Gladbury has ever seen.” (Note: Plot excerpted from the movie’s website: www.thechristmascandlemovie.com)
If you go into this movie expecting yet-another Hallmark-style holiday film, you will walk away pleased and impressed. The movie’s acting, for example, is far better in quality than Hallmark, and its religious ideals are decidedly more Christian (though, as I will bring up later, not necessarily theologically air-tight).
The movie’s main characters, despite portraying people from more than 100 years ago in England, were easy to identify with. The film has no foul language and the music is exceptional. Also, there is a budding romance that touches the heart.
The movie also provides a debut platform from singer Susan Boyle. Ms. Boyle, who became an overnight success after appearing on “Britain’s Got Talent” (their version of “American Idol”), also shows an ability to act, as well as the expected excellent vocals.
For some of the youngest viewers, families will need to talk about out-of-wedlock births (which is contained in the plot, though portrayed as a bad thing).
One of the main themes running throughout the movie, as it is with much of life, is suffering and miracles. Should Christians expect prayers to be answered their way (or God’s way)? Should we pray for healing and expect miracles? These questions are dealt with in the movie, and within the fictional plot, conclusions are made.
Without spoiling the plot, there is a portrayal of angelophanies (i.e. appearances). Speaking of which, the role of angels within the movie more closely resembles a “Touched-by-An-Angel” Roma Downey one than what you see in actual Scripture.
The movie also explores the tension between faith and good works, and it shows the futility of working our way to heaven.
If you are looking for a good Christmas movie for the whole family, “The Christmas Candle,” could be a good choice. While this fictional tale is sure to warm hearts this Christmas, it probably won’t change the box-office landscape or the moral landscape of the country at the same time. Nevertheless, I am glad they made the movie in time for Christmas.
Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 4)