As we enter the holiday season audiences should be receptive to a movie about miracles. After all who couldn't use a miracle every now and then? The new film "The Christmas Candle," which is based on a book by Max Lucado, is about miracles, faith and hope. It is aimed at a family audience and includes Susan Boyle in the cast.
In the film the time is the 1890's. David Richmond (Hans Matheson) is a minister who has lost his way. He has left the pulpit and is working with the Salvation Army. Lady Camdon (Barbara Flynn) from the town of Gladbury has heard him preach and now invites him to become the reverend at the Gladbury Church. Something about her touches him and he accepts her offer.
The town of Gladbury is a special place. It is said that every twenty-five years an angel selects a special candle from the local candlemaker's shop and gives it the power to grant a Christmas wish. This is that special year in Gladbury and all of the citizen's of this small town are excited. When he learns of it, the Reverend is not. He does not believe in miracles. The rest of the film concerns who is right, those who believe in miracles or the Reverend.
The pacing of the film gets a little slow during the beginning and middle but it speeds up at the end. There is also a problem with a movie that uses actors such as Susan Boyle and Samantha "Les Miserables" Barks and doesn't allow them to sing or at least gives them more than a singing phrase or two. These names induced high expectations of the musical type but there is little delivery.
There are a lot of side stories in this movie and for the most part they are interesting, although some of them receive short shrift. The tale of the blind man who wishes his sight back, as well as the spinster who is looking for a husband, are resolved but in an offhanded way. If they were important enough to be introduced then they should have been handled with more care.
The acting is acceptable with Boyle definitely being a better singer than actor. Matheson is a rather scruffy looking leading man. Barks shows promise but her role is rather abbreviated. John Hannah is impressive in an even more abbreviated part as her father.
The movie is rated PG for some adult themes.
The movie certainly has a message that should play well over the holiday season, but it is a far cry from becoming a Christmas classic. It needed a bit more depth to reach that goal.
I scored "The Christmas Candle" a warming 6 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper