Alright, I know it is not yet even Thanksgiving but the folks at Lifetime think it is close enough to the holidays to have a Christmas movie. They are serving up an original one titled "A Country Christmas Story" and it is about a singing contest for kids eighteen and under at Dollywood. Sure enough Dolly Parton is on hand to emcee the contest and spread around a little bit of her charm.
The plot of the story concerns a fourteen year old bi-racial girl named Grace (Desiree Ross). She lives with her mother Jenny (Megyn Price), with her grandmother Sarah (Mary Kay Place) right down the road. Her father Danny (Brian McKnight) is not part of the family, and this makes Grace sad and her mother bitter.
Grace is a very talented singer and also wants to learn to play the guitar. She finds one of her Dad's and enlists the help of her choir director Mr. Hanley (Ross McCall) to teach her. When her mother finds out about the lessons she is very upset since music is what she blames for the breakup of her marriage. It might just take a Christmas miracle to put all the pieces of this family back together again.
This is a heartwarming story aimed at the emotions within every member of the audience. Each actor is perfect for his/her role with young Ms. Ross being exceptional. This young lady sings her heart out and acts out each and every emotion required by her role as Grace. It is also good to see Mary Kay Place playing a loving grandmother who still has a few sparks in her personality. Price and McKnight are also solid and McKnight manages to get a song into the story too. You can't have Brian McKnight in a movie and not let him sing.
Of course Dolly Parton's personality looms over the entire story. She exudes such warmth and joy that you have to feel better just by seeing her on screen. She looks great and when she leads the crowd in "Jingle Bells" you feel that Christmas spirit come rushing in.
"A Country Christmas Story" is a simple tale of hope and forgiveness. It has no pretensions of being anything but what it is. Make sure you and your family gather around to watch when it airs on Lifetime, November 9, 10 and 15.
Jackie K Cooper