Truman Capote's classic Depression-era short story is well served in One Christmas
, an earnest holiday heartwarmer from the folks at Hallmark Entertainment. It's got all the sentiment one would expect from a Hallmark TV movie, but director Tony Bill knows just how to moderate the maudlin and focus on genuine emotions (as he did for his big-screen releases Untamed Heart
and A Home of Our Own
). Of course it never hurts to have Katharine Hepburn on board for some high-class pedigree: In her final performance the Hollywood legend goes out on a high note, delivering a pivotal scene about living life with no regrets, and she may just as well be describing her own independent spirit. The great Kate plays a wealthy New Orleans socialite whose spinster niece (Swoosie Kurtz, giving the film's best performance) is vulnerable to the gold-digging charms of a con artist (Henry Winkler) whose estranged 8-year-old son (T.J. Lowther, from Clint Eastwood's A Perfect World
) has arrived from Alabama with high expectations that his father can't meet. Dashed hopes and cynical behavior threaten to ruin the boy's Christmas, but Bill and his esteemed cast stay true to the well-earned sentiment of Capote's story, arriving at a moment of fatherly redemption that is nicely accented by Van Dyke Parks's understated score. You'd have to be a Scrooge to disapprove. --Jeff Shannon
Hailed as a "rewarding gift" and "an unexpected pleasure," One Christmas is a timeless holiday treasure based on Truman Capote's bittersweet tale of a young boy's adventures with the father he's never known. It's a classic family story featuring acclaimed performances from an award-winning cast including the legendary Katharine Hepburn, Henry Winkler, Swoosie Kurtz and Julie Harris. It's Christmas 1930, and 8-year-old Buddy (T.J. Lowther) finds himself in New Orleans spending the holidays with his estranged father (Winkler). Leaving behind his Aunt Sook (Harris) and the peaceful Alabama country life, Buddy now endures a conniving, hard-living, deceitful, con man of a dad who seems to care more about fast buck scams than earning his son's affection. With Buddy looking for a relationship with his dad, and his dad looking for something real in a life of lies, the greatest thing they realize is that they have each other. It's a gift that comes just in time for one unforgettable Christmas. Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Henry Winkler, Swoosie Kurtz, Julie Harris.