Skip to comments.Seeing the Light: Rick Santorum's Movie is Wholesome and Inspiring - If you like that sort of thing.
Posted on 12/07/2013 2:14:46 PM PST by SeekAndFind
The Christmas Candle, Rick Santorums movie about a Christmas candle, is very nice. Its nice in every sense of the word. Theres not a lot else to say about it. I was really, really tempted to just e-mail my editors a document that said this: :-| :-| :-| :-| :-| :-| :-| :-| and try to convince them that publishing it would be subversive and hip. Reluctantly, I decided not to do that. But heres why its so much of a pain to write about this movie: Its trying very hard to be something, and you feel like a jerk pointing out all the ways it falls short. Even being that harsh makes me feel like a bad person, since this movie is just so cuddly and precious.
So let me approach this another way: If youre a conservative Christian parent of young children, and you want to find a movie that has no bad words and no violence and no nudity and no drug use and no cigarette-smoking and no alcohol and nothing else remotely objectionable, but with a lot of scenes that are sermons, then The Christmas Candle will leave you tickled pink. It really will. It is rapaciously wholesome.
I think, at this point, youll probably be best served if I just describe this movie and let you draw your own conclusion(s) regarding whether to spend an hour and 40 minutes of your fleeting time on this earth watching it. N.B.: There will be spoilers! But its not actually that big a deal because the story is pretty predictable.
The movie is set sometime in the 19th century and starts in London (I believe), where a former pastor is working for the Salvation Army, nobly doling out bowls of soup to a sad line of Dickensian poor folk. He then sees a young pregnant woman being kicked out of a boarding house by a hateful old woman, and he takes her to Salvation Army lodgings. He is kind of conflicted about his faith, but nonetheless he is recruited to move to the small, picturesque village of Gladbury and get back in the sermon-saddle.
The next person he saves is a woman named Emily Barstow (played by Samantha Barks, who was in Les Misérables and is strikingly beautiful and easily the best part of this movie), whose carriage he pushes out of a river where its trapped. This is when he is on the way to Gladbury. Emily is the prototypical feisty, spirited Victorian love-interest lass, who has lines like Im a believer in common sense! and edgily doesnt go to church (but dont worry! in the end she starts going again! spoiler!). Its worth noting that he doesnt save all the women he meets; one female parishioner pines for him to marry her and save her from spinsterdom, but she has ugly bangs and big teeth, so that dynamic is largely played for laughs.
When the pastor gets to Gladbury, he learns about the miraculous Christmas Candle, which shows up every 25 years when an angel visits the town candlemaker and imbues one of his candles with heavenly powers, which make it look like a glow stick. The gentle elderly couple who run the candle shop chooses a person in the village who needs a miracle and gives him or her the candle with the admonition, Light this and pray. Then the person the Christmas Candle is conferred upon gets a miracle. The pastor doesnt believe in the tale, but thats pretty silly of him, as the viewers have had to suspend all sorts of disbelief before this when they learn that its a real angel making the miracle candle, and so faithlessness is to be frowned upon.
Anyway, the controlling conflict is between the simple town folk, who want the pastor to incorporate references to the Christmas Candle into his sermons, and the pastor, who doesnt believe that hogwash and chooses to preach about other things instead.
Theres another crisis, though, when after its touched by the angel the candlemakers lose the Christmas Candle and decide to just give out random candles surreptitiously to everyone in the town and tell each villager that he or she is getting the miracle one. Scandal! Whatever could happen when a whole town of people needing miracles is told to pray and hope? Do you think there would be a bunch of heartwarming miracles? Could we learn a valuable if heavy-handed lesson about hope and faith? Youll have to watch The Christmas Candle to find out.
Thats pretty much the gist of it. If you think thats the kind of thing you would enjoy, you should watch it. Im not going to tell you what to do. :-|.
Betsy Woodruff is a William F. Buckley Fellow at the National Review Institute.
I read this. It could be posted in the Urban Dictionary as a textbook case of “damning with faint praise”.
But I hope to see it next year on the Hallmark Channel.
“but with a lot of scenes that are sermons”
That’s her opinion. Others might call it the refreshing truth.
In other words its probably better than 90% of the movies out of Hollyweird
Just about ever made for TV Christmas movie was probably worse.
“Just about ever made for TV Christmas movie was probably worse.”
That could be true.
I’m just amazed at how many Christmas movies there are. I’m always watching the Hallmark Channel for Perry Mason & Matlock, and then they started saying: we’ll be showing Christmas movies 24 hours a day staring now! (Maybe it’s the Hallmark Movie Channel, don’t know for sure) i suppose they repeat them, but maybe they don’t need to.
And you know, I’ve never seen ANY version of “A Christmas Carol” all the way through, except for the Mr. Magoo one, which is great. Although I have actually (ahem, sounding pretentious) read the book.
“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is really my favorite. It’s perfect and I love it.
and all the networks have had umpteen numbers of made for TV Christmas specials... most of them really bad (even if in a family friendly way)
I always liked the Jackie Gleason and Red Skelton TV X-Mas specials. But then I was a kid back then when they aired.