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One Magic Christmas

Mary Steenburgen , Gary Basaraba , Phillip Borsos    G (General Audience)   VHS Tape
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)

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Grab an econo-pack of tissues, gather your loved ones around a cozy television, and bring on the hot cocoa--it's time for a dose of Christmas spirit. The tender and charming Mary Steenburgen (Parenthood) dons a sour disposition in her role as Ginny Grainger, a woman who finds little joy in life lately--let alone in the impending holiday season. Money is tight, her husband (beautifully downplayed by nice-guy Gary Basaraba) lost his job, and the family must move out of their house. Ginny cannot even bring herself to say, "Merry Christmas," despite her family's enthusiasm about the big day. With help from Ginny's brave and loving daughter (sweetly performed by Elisabeth Harnois) and a Christmas angel named Gideon (Harry Dean Stanton), Ginny undergoes a life-altering experience à la It's a Wonderful Life. The result? Happy endings, hugs and kisses, pass the tissues.

Not a light holiday entertainer by any means, the plot verges on depressing at times, as the family struggles through money issues and the tedium of daily suburban survival. While handled fairly subtly, some of the bridging story--including a shooting, a kidnapping, and a drowning--might prove disturbing to children under 6 years old. And really: if the somber Harry Dean Stanton (Paris, Texas) repeatedly appeared in your neighborhood, cloaked in a cowboy hat and overcoat, would you allow your kids outside? Still, a well-made favorite to cherish. --Liane Thomas

Customer Reviews

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Take On a Similar Theme Oct. 21 2004
This is a very different kind of Christmas movie than most of us are used to. The theme is one we have become familiar with -- someone, in this case the mom, has lost her Christmas spirit and belief in Santa. The husband, however, holds onto his and wants their two children to keep theirs.
The remainder of the film, however, is a departure from most films. First of all, the family is an ordinary working class one with some money worries. Next, the angel is not what we're used to seeing; in fact he seems almost like a child molester. The settings are stark and cold, with plenty of snow and dull colours, but the story is warm. This gives the story a certain amount of realism to play against the fantasy that surely must follow in a story like this. And the bleakness serves as a reminder that for many, this can be a depressing time of year.
There are some surprises along the way, and we're not sure how we're going to get there, but since it is a Christmas story there must be a happy ending. A very warm and gentle movie about finding the true meaning of Christmas -- family and friends. Well worth watching (as I do every year).
And as at least one other reviewer noted, parents with young children should talk about the scenes with the little girl and Gedion when they're alone. If you have children, I am certain you don't want them talking to strangers alone at night on an empty street.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story for the whole family to enjoy! Nov. 19 2003
By A Customer
I love this film! I think that financial and parental obligations can cause Christmas to be a very stressful time for many people. The main character, played by Mary Steenburgen, is a very unhappy person. She is obviously in a rut and the fact that another Christmas is coming, with all that entails, is not helping. This is a great story about seeing what you have, instead of what you don't. It is very emotional, as fairy tales are, and has a wonderful moral. It is heartwarming and appeals to the child in all of us. My family and I watch it every year!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Message on One Front Dec 7 2001
Format:VHS Tape
One of those depressing Christmas flicks with a happy ending, this truly family movie has a good message about remembering what is really important in life. The main character, Ginny, is caught up in her her own problems and worries. She has lost her Christmas spirit and has forgotten how important her loved ones are to her. On a cautionary note, this film is different from other movies such as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Preacher's Wife" in that the angel seems to be a representative of Santa Claus, setting up good 'ol St. Nick to be a God-like figure. When tragedy strikes the family (not too much detail here so as not to spoil the movie if you haven't seen it yet) the angel takes Ginny's young daughter to Santa Claus. He tells her he can't solve her problem, but that her mother has the power to do it herself. The turning point in the movie left me wondering how it exactly happened, but it is a movie with a supernatural theme so this is part of the charm. Good acting by all the cast. A movie that the whole family can enjoy.
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By Nicole
Format:VHS Tape
Mary Steenburgen plays the part of the bitter and frustrated wife Ginny to perfection. I have never seen her play a role this before, it just truly shows what a great and versatile actress she is. The story is about a woman named Ginny who even when everyone else at Christmas seems bright and full of joy, she cannot even bring herself to say Merry Christmas. With money tight Ginny doesn't see why there is any need to be merry. She is the type of person who doesn't seem to appreciate anything she has especially her loving husband, and bright and imaginative kids. It isn't until one christmas when Ginny's daughter decides to do something about her mother to get her back into the christmas spirit and that's when she meets the kindhearted and wise angel Gideon played by Harry Dean Stanton. With the help of Gideon, and Santa Claus she is able to help her mom realize that she shouldn't take for granted everything she has and helps her realize the joy and magic of christmas that she knew when she was just a little girl. This is a beautiful movie and very well acted and with a very good message. Although there are some scenes which are too intense for younger kids like when Ginny's husband get's shot or her kids drown in the lake, but other than that this movie is something for young and old. It will help you realize the true meaning of christmas: family and just how special they are. One Magic Christmas truly is magical!
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5.0 out of 5 stars OVERLOOKED Christmas Classic now on DVD !!!! Oct. 23 2001
By forrie
This is a great OVERLOOKED CLASSIC movie to watch all year round especially during the holiday season. Now available on DVD in a WideScreen format!!
One Magic Christmas is a classic story about a struggling family who lost the Holiday Spirit and the mother the belief of "Merry Christmas". Through some hair raising events they regain their faith and belief in themselves and others.
In Summary: A Christmas Angel (Harry Dean Stanton) is sent to help a family re-discover the "Spirit of Christmas". The Angel uses the daughter (you'll love this 7 year old, Elisabeth Harnois - the cutest girl with the most adorable blue eyes) to help restore her mother's (Mary Steenbergen) lost Christmas Spirit and belief in "MERRY CHRISTMAS".
Through some tough choices & lessons the mother has her faith in her fellow man, family and the Christmas Spirit restored.
The Angel and the daughter's beliefs guide us through the events and we even get a trip to the "North Pole and see Mr & Mrs Santa Claus!!!! With the comfort and protection of the Christmas Angel our journey is both eye opening and satisfying.
A Christmas Classic to add to your DVD holiday collection.
This is "ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS" you won't forget!!!!!!!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Holiday Classic
This is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I really enjoy films which present an alternate reality so someone can learn a lesson, and then sends that person back to the real... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Avenger7
3.0 out of 5 stars A happy ending and a smile on my face
It was a little slow and I watched it twice to ensure that I understood what happened but, overall, it had the desired effect. A happy ending and a smile on my face.
Published 1 month ago by regrem
A somewhat 'unDisney' movie with the death of a father at Christmas. The trip to Santa Claus' home brings film down, but rest is very good. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Movie from my Childhood
Everyone has that one Christmas movie that reminds them of their childhood, if you were born in the late 70's early 80's this is it. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sondra
3.0 out of 5 stars One Magic Christmas movie review
Wasn't quite the story I remember. My fault. I should have been more selective in my purchase. Thanks very much, your purchasing service was great.
Published 6 months ago by Doug McCrae
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing movie
I watch this movie every Christmas eve by myself and it brings me to tears every time I absolutely love this movie
Published 9 months ago by Steph Rogers
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Christmas Story
Great Christmas movie for both adults and children. Very good acting and a nice lovely story. Worth watching every year.
Published 18 months ago by BobbyT
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the movie!
We have this movie on an old vcr tape and watch it annually. Now we have it on dvd and we still love the message, and the wonderful portrayal of Santa by Jan Rubes. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Susan Jewell
5.0 out of 5 stars great movie! a family favourite at christmas.
this movie is hard to find in stores and yet it has been a family favorite for years. I was so glad we finally got a copy of it this year to watch after our christmas party.
Published 21 months ago by L. Storey
5.0 out of 5 stars It sure is
My favourite Christmas movie. Gideon the Angel was my favourite guy. Mary Steenburgen was great. A superb story of a family with financial troubles at Christmas. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Remember Amer. Bandstand
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