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The Christmas Card (2006)


Warm fuzzy Christmas movies are some of my favorite things to indulge in over the holiday season. That is the main reason why every year at this time I will scour Amazon.com for all the latest television films that I read about the previous year, hoping that the title I type in will be on DVD this year. That was the case with The Christmas Card, a Hallmark channel movie – this endearing little film has now skyrocketed to the top of my “classics.” 


Living in a small woodland town of Nevada City, Faith Spellman (Alice Evans) has been brought up with strong moral values; a loving home, close-knit relationships and a loving example of marriage, given to her by her parents, Luke and Rosie. Every year at Christmastime, her church sends Christmas greetings to the troops overseas and this year Faith’s inspiring card reaches Sergeant Cody Cullen (John Newton). Sergeant Cullen is without any family and as a result is thinking of re-enlisting instead of taking his Christmas break. His commanding officer however has different ideas and sends Cody to deliver the dog tags of a friend to the man’s fiancée. In order to do that, he has to travel to Nevada City to carry out the request, and while there, Cody meets the Spellman family. He finds everything about the town and people warm and welcoming. After Luke Spellman (Edward Asner) invites the stranger to stay, Cody finds himself drawn to this generous family and can’t help but fall in love with Faith – the woman who sent him a stirring letter the year before.

This Hallmark Channel movie manages to be cute, moving and yet has an air of truth to it that cumulates together really nicely. Having lost his family early on in his life, Cody has had to fend for himself and joins the Army right out of high school, thinking it would somehow be enough. Cody is portrayed as a quiet soul and John Newton does an excellent job embodying such a character. An unexpected pleasure was getting to see Alice Evans in something other than a children’s movie – in real life she married to British actor Ioan Gruffudd. Being a Brit made for a mistake on casting directors part in tapping Alice for this role. It seemed as if she couldn’t quite pull off a really believable American accent; through her dialect and dialogue it was almost as if she was trying really hard to sound American but could never manage it believably. Asner and Newton were probably the strongest performances, but Alice Evens and Lois Nettlton (Rosie) were fantastic rounding out the leading cast.

There were so many themes that I loved in this film. Family was portrayed as a wonderful gift and Faith still adored the parents who raised her, while faith in God is also brought in. Very unobtrusive and unassuming, but nonetheless there was the illusion that the Spellman’s believed in God; praying, attending church and referencing God’s mercy on occasion. What faith they believe in is unclear (they attend a small country church). Despite the fact that Edward Asner has been very vocal about politics, I loved the scenes between he and Cody – each are meaningful and Cody was very respectful of the advice Luke gave. (Scenes of Faith’s Uncle Richard making clumsy attempts at matchmaking are priceless and he contributes the usual comedic aspect.) The meeting between Faith and Cody is adorable; it might not be “brilliant,” but it is “real” (this meeting also plays into the ending).

The scenery is yet another pretty part of this film. Generally I don’t notice scenery when watching movies, but for some reason I noticed this, possibly because The Spellman’s operated a mill and therefore loved the outdoors. The woodsy town where they live has a quaint feel – the one particular scene that was beautiful involves characters walking through a wintry path surrounded by pine trees and it is nothing if not a gorgeous example of nature. Cody’s hurting because of his friends’ recent death, when he meets Faith he finds something inside of himself that he didn’t realize was there, a yearning for family. Concluding thoughts really come down to this; I loved this movie. It has heart, comedy and underlying themes of faith that are all but missing in most films today. The respect, family values, and love that are its driving undercurrent are beautifully realized. As a supporter of our troops, it was wonderful to see a movie that had that aspect brought in, and so respectfully written.  These characters were very real to me and despite the fact that all things must end, I wanted this story to go on longer than time allows. This Christmas tale is not only one my favorites, but is something I watch year after year. The sweet tale that unfolds is a joy to watch and the slightly bittersweet conclusion leaves you happy, but still wanting so much more.

(PG-rating cautions: content is almost non-existent but… a couple starts “making out” on the couch before being interrupted. A bomb kills a man, we see it go off and the man lying lifeless – no blood.)  
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Rissi
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16 comments:

  1. Oh I love this little film! Definitely a must-see around this time of year for me!

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  2. I've watched this movie so many times and its still funny!

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  3. Ruth - I've not watched this one this year yet, but I do each year. It is such a sweet tale, no matter how sappy. =)

    Ella - me, too! I have seen it every year ever since its release to DVD. So cute. =)

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  4. I've always wanted to see this movie, but now I really want to see it!! :) I just checked and our library has it, so I'm putting it on my Christmas break movie list - this will be a definite watch!! :)

    ~Rachel <3

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  5. I don't think you'd regret seeing this one, Rachel. It is so sweet - and morally wholesome. Glad to know your library has it, that makes it easy for you to get a hold of a copy then.

    Enjoy...

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  6. I love this one! I need to watch it this year....but I will =D

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  7. Seriously though, you can't really go wrong with Hallmark movies! Alas I don't get to see many unless we have a free preview from our satellite provider but this I did see last year and I really enjoyed it. I would go broke if I bought all the Hallmark movies I wanted LOL!

    XOXO~ Renee C.

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  8. My favorite Hallmark (Christmas at least)!

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  9. Ella - me, too. I've yet to see it this year (been too busy watching all the new ones, I guess). Love this one - it's definitely a favorite. =)

    Renee - so true. Glad you enjoyed this one - it is so sweet. =) It might not be the best route but since my family doesn't use Netflix or have any cable provider, I do admit that we buy a lot of these TV titles - but that doesn't come with knowing nothing about the movie. Usually I've read up about the plot and know the general "gist" of the movie. So far, I haven't felt like it's turned out badly. *fingers crossed*

    Livia - totally agree with you. This is one of Hallmark's most endearing. =)

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  10. I love this one. So glad you enjoyed it and decided to review it.

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  11. Thanks, Juju! This is one movie I have watched again and again, and still I think it is darling. =)

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  12. I love this movie. I watch this movie 8 or 9 times a year and 10 or 11 times during Christmas. We need more movies at Christmas time like this one. I hope to see more movies with John Newton in them. He and Alice Evan make a great team in the movie.
    Nadine Farmer from North Carolina

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  13. I have this movie since the DVD came out from the market and been watching this over and over very year. This movie completes my Christmas tradition.

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    1. Exactly, Lodi. This is one of my Christmas movie traditions as well. :)

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  14. We love this movie, it never gets old! I bought the DVD a couple years ago.

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    1. Same. This is one Hallmark that never gets old, Julie. :)

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