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Christmas Angel

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The Scoop

Christmas Angel reminds me of one of those PBS special presentations I'd wait for with bated breath, only to discover that the wholesome family movie I anticipated was full of doom and depression and lots of Britishness that felt more foreign than it should have.

Our Review

Eddie (Joseph Phillips) is a sweet fifteen year old boy whose world is turned on its ear when his mother is hit by a car and severely injured right in front of him. It's a traumatic event to say the least, but one he tries to keep to himself. He tells his brother only in passing, "Mum's in hospital," and when fellow volunteers from the shelter ask where she is, he simply says she'll be in next time. The gravity of his situation constantly straddles the line between unacknowledged and overwhelming, but it's not until Eddie has a dream that an angel's halo will save his mother's life that the urgency of the situation comes into focus.

Much of the movie then centers on Eddie researching and attempting to locate an angel. He confers with a trusted teacher at school (Timothy Spall), but for the most part, Eddie just doesn't communicate. The one person he should be able to rely on is his brother, but it's difficult to believe these boys live under the same roof, much less share the same bloodline. At no point do they put their heads together for practical matters, so they're constantly exasperated by their lack of funds, and eventually they find their utilities turned off. Meanwhile, they've got friendly, respectable relatives living across town! And while Eddie never thinks to ask his uncle how they might pay the power bill, he does stop in to say hullo on his way to stare at an angel. You may also be thinking that a halo is a questionable way to bring a person back to life, but this is one of the very few things that works out in Christmas Angel. A halo is totally what Eddie needs to save his mom, so don't you be shaking your head at his total lack of life skills.

As a character, Eddie is a bit of a dope, but a sweet, sad soul all the same. His quest for an angel and his love for his mom are touching, and you can't help rooting for the poor kid. Unfortunately, his circumstances don't make a lot of sense and it's never clear why a halo would do anything other than get a person into heaven, which is exactly where Eddie's mom needs NOT to go. It's like making a movie about someone searching for a black cat so they can undo all their bad luck...perfectly fine, I guess, but not exactly rooted in a time-honored tradition.

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