Distributed by: JWT - NY
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I wonder, does anyone really know the story of Virginia O’Hanlon and her letter to the editor of the New York Sun in 1897? When I first learned of this true story about an eight year old girl who asked the editor of the Sun if Santa truly exists, I melted. How sweet! I especially loved the part in her letter in which she related that her father had always told her that if you see it in the Sun, it is so. That, of course, made the Sun the authoritative voice on all things big and small. I loved this tale and couldn’t wait to see the new animated version when it aired on December 11, 2009 on CBS.
Yes, Virginia features the voice of Beatrice Miller as Virginia O’Hanlon, an eight year old girl whose faith in Santa Claus has been rocked by a malicious youngster. Belittling Virginia and her friend Ollie (Kieran Patrick Campbell), this young girl insists that the two are silly for believing in Santa Claus, stating with certainty that the jolly man in the red suit simply does not exist. After listening to her father and mother (Neil Patrick Harris and Jennifer Love Hewitt) speak about articles in the Sun and how informative and exacting the newspaper is, Virginia decides to put the question of Santa Claus’ existence to the paper’s editor, Francis Church (Alfred Molina) and the rest is history.
This version of the tale is quite different than the one I saw back in the 70s. That particular version was very one dimensional. Yes, Virginia features animation much like the style found in Tim Burton’s animated films. The story is just as sweet as ever, although it is probably not exactly accurate. After all, I don’t remember any mention of a homeless, unemployed Santa Claus in this story before. But I must say that the addition to this character added something to the overall message of the tale.
Of course, Yes, Virginia is a remake of a classic tale based upon a true story and yes, I have often commented on the lack of originality on television and in the theatres of late. However, I truly enjoyed this version of the classic tale and hope to make it a Christmas tradition. “Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.” No truer words were ever written. These are words to live by and the reason I still believe in Santa Claus and will continue to do so.