Home By Christmas
Produced By: James Shavick Entertainment
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Perhaps you are wondering why I am posting a review of a movie with a Christmasy title weeks after Christmas has already come and gone. Well, even though I watched this film at Christmas time and the movie takes place around Christmas, Home By Christmas is much more than a Christmas movie.
In Home By Christmas, Linda Hamilton stars as Julie Bedford, a seemingly happily married woman and stay at home mom who has a side interest working on charity causes with her socialite friends. However, Julie soon learns that her happy life is a sham. Her husband (Garwin Sanford) has been cheating on her with one of the trainers at his gym. When she confronts him about it, George declares their marriage over and Julie finds herself facing divorce.
Julie decides she wants very little from her husband, just enough money to live decently on and financing for anything their daughter Andie (Brittany Wilson) might need while living with her. She even lets George keep the house, choosing to live in an apartment with her daughter in a less-than-affluent neighborhood. Andie hates her life, her new school and things aren't much better for Julie. She can't seem to find a job that pays anything more than minimum wage. When Andie decides that she would rather live with her father, Julie is shocked, but, wanting what is best for her daughter, agrees.
Just as she thinks she is about to hit bottom emotionally, Julie is mugged and her injuries land her in a hospital. When she regains consciousness, she discovers that the thief has not only stolen the money she had been carrying to buy Christmas presents, but he has also cleaned out her bank account. She can't even afford to pay her hospital bill, and when she returns home, she discovers she has been evicted. Forced to live in her only possession - her car - Julie learns the harsh realities of being homeless, but with a little help from a newfound friend (Brenda Crichlow), Julie fights her way back and discovers hidden talents she never knew.
Home By Christmas starts off slow and the writing at the beginning of the movie seems a bit cliché. Julie's character at the beginning is a bit wishy washy and you may want to turn the film off after the first few minutes. Resist the urge. Yes, there is a predictability about the film - you know the main character is going to make it through okay - but the things she has to go to and what she learns along the way are worth waiting for. As the film moves forward, the writing gets better, Julie becomes more likable and the things she has to do to stay afloat will endear her to the viewer.
Linda Hamilton is just as believable in this role as she is playing the mother of the hero of post-apocalyptic Earth. She has a way of carrying off just about any role she takes on. Brenda Crichlow is fun as the quirky, street smart Selma who doesn't let a little thing like losing her job during the stock market crash and being homeless stop her from living her life and helping others. Rob Stewart is a good match as a love interest for Linda Hamilton's character and I like that the creators of this movie didn't make him the knight in shining armor. He just happened to be icing on the cake while Julie made her way back out from the bottom of things.
The important message of Home By Christmas is something that all viewers can relate to. Material possessions are not what is important in life. What is truly important is the people we surround ourselves with that truly love and believe in us. Nothing else matters. That, and when we do find that special place, the one that makes us feel whole, we should work towards helping others make it there. Giving back is yet another message in the film well-worth heeding. When you have, give to those who have not. So, despite being a film with Christmas in the title that plays during the holidays, Home By Christmas is an entertaining film that teaches us some lessons we can use all year round.