We received a free screening of this movie in exchange for this review.
We were told that if we liked plastering our maudlin faces to the screen during Hallmark’s Christmas blitz (my words, not theirs), we would love Christmas Jars. Who can resist that invitation?! So we bit like a hungry school of homeschooled fish staring down a night crawler on a hook. Yup, we’re easy prey for a little potential holiday schmaltz.
Thirty seconds into the film, we thought we had half the plot figured out. Two minutes in, we were sure had the whole plot and two sub-plots nailed. Embarrassingly, we’ve seen a lot of Hallmark Christmas flicks, and, well, you know the drill: misunderstood girl with tragic backstory dumps materialistic big city exec in Italian loafers for local hunk in sweater with his own tragic back story, misunderstanding ensues, love happens at Christmas.
But you know what? We were absolutely wrong!
Christmas Jars is a somewhat sentimental tale (you knew that was coming) of an orphaned young lady (okay, that part is rather expected also) who is the recipient of a jar of money at Christmas-time. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name by novelist Jason F. Wright, which sparked a real-life Christmas Jar movement. But we are talking about the movie, so let’s get back on track.
The story follows a young lady named Hope Jensen. The way she receives her name is a story in itself. The next five minutes of the movie is yet another full story. By the time the main theme of the movie starts, you’re on emotion overload! (Not unlike watching Pixar’s Up where you desperately need a spoon and your own quart of ice cream after the first ten minutes.)
After the ice cream therapy scenes of the movie, we learn that Hope is an aspiring journalist trying to prove herself to her amusingly dichotomous employer. When she receives a Christmas Jar, she naturally does what any aspiring journalist would do–tries to find out the story behind the Christmas Jars. She uncovers the truth which, ironically, requires her to ‘fess up about a few untruths of her own and wraps up in yet another unearthed truth tying the whole story together cull circle. The whole thing ties up into a neat little Christmas package…a little too neat sometimes. (I know I wouldn’t be baking cookies if my husband was in critical care in the hospital, but then again, maybe I would.)
You know there’s going to be a romance. Is it humanly possible for a feel-good Christmas story not to contain a romance? Even Charles Dickens fell prey to that temptation with Ebenezer and…oh…what was her name? No matter. The pragmatic among you may roll your eyes a bit at the sentimental scenes. The romantic aspects are not entirely typical of the usual love story, but, yes, they do contain a little taste of the ol’ Christmas syrupy sweetness and only a touch of the cliche–ice skating anyone.?
The cast of character is quite charming and entertaining…quirky, actually. You will find yourself laughing at the myriad of characters, comical encounters, and witty word volleys throughout the movie. The family in the film is endearing and funny. The co-workers are a stitch. The “second family” at the diner are sweet and goofy. All in all, Christmas Jars is a charming Christmas family feel-good for the whole family, if you don’t mind a Christmas kiss for an engaged couple.
I’m going to zip it now, cause nobody likes a spoiler, and if I talk too much that is exactly what I’ll do. Christmas Jars is available in theaters one day only–Monday, November 4. I repeat, in case you weren’t listening: In theaters Nov. 4, ONE NIGHT ONLY. Get tickets here! Don’t miss it. Also the producer is allowing us to give one copy away to our readers. You don’t have to jump through any hoops–just leave a comment below and we’ll put all your names in a Christmas jar of our own and randomly pick a winner.
We are in no way associated with the makers of this movie; their opinions and beliefs are their own and ours are, well, straight from the Bible. While we found nothing contrary to our beliefs in our often-interrupted-by-small-children viewing of this movie, we do not share the same faith as the Mormon church, the producers of this film. If you have any questions about the film or our Christian beliefs, please ask in the comments. Your questions also enter you in our contest. Score!
One more note, from the teenage male in the houshold who was forced under penalty of boredom to watch Christmas Jars with a roomful of women and girls:
“This wasn’t as bad as the other Hallmark movies I’ve had to watch, but I’d still rather be watching Star Wars.”
Boys. Roll eyes.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Christmas Jars!