Disheartened at her inability to find a job and deeply embittered at the onset of the Christmas season, a single woman agrees to help her benevolent neighbor in a clandestine goodwill mission. Ashley (Kari Hawker) is desperate for employment when her neighbor Nick (Bruce Davison) makes her an offer she can't refuse: assist him in helping strangers anonymously and earn a steady income for her efforts. Describing himself as a kind of wealthy Secret Santa, Nick gets satisfaction from helping others, but treasures his privacy. When Ashley meets magazine writer Will (KC Clyde), the two form an immediate connection. But as a writer Will is always digging for facts, and in time Ashley entrusts him with Nick's secret. When that secret gets out, Will realizes that his actions have consequences, and attempts to work with Ashley to set things right.
This is a fantastic Christmas story and, since a lot of it concentrates on helping others, it can be enjoyed year round. Kari Hawker stars as Ashley Matthews, a single woman who is struggling to survive. The film opens with her large dog, Dash, attempting to rouse her from sleep. She tells Dash she isn't getting up until the alarm goes off. Three seconds later the alarm goes off! So there are dashes of humor thrown in which work well in this film. Her day doesn't improve when the water stops running while she's taking a shower, and her dog eyes her a bit later and his empty water dish. On top of this, her car won't start and she has to take a bus in a hurry to get to a job interview. She bumps into a man, loses her cell phone, and she makes it to the job interview to learn they just called her to tell her they hired someone else! Fortunately, her phone had been picked up by a man she develops an affection for, named Will (K.C. Clyde). The three main actors all hit the right notes and we learn in this story that Ashley's neighbor Nick (Bruce Davison), due to a painful past, now helps people who are in need or hurting. He calls himself "Secret Santa". He hires Ashley to be his assistant and they help a lot of needy people. Ashley, having been passed around to various foster homes as a child, resents Christmas but Nick and Will begin to help her to open up and trust people again. I enjoyed this movie very much, partly due to the fact that it is presented in a realistic way but with scenes of encouragement for the hurting people in the story, including a man who owns a small restaurant who lost his son the previous Christmas season. This is one of those rare films which has a powerful combination of solid acting, tight direction, and a very good story to tell. We happily award our Dove "Family-Approved" Seal to "Christmas Angel." If you have been struggling with faith, watching this film just might renew it for you. --Edwin L. Carpenter, Dove Foundation
Lost, sometimes, in the high-tech flash of special effects and over-the-top budgets of today's big Hollywood holiday films are simple messages. And every once in a while a small film will "get it" and deliver those messages in a way no big film can. And driving home some simple truths about family, friendship and the need to share ourselves with others is the new family film from SunWorld Pictures titled "Christmas Angel." A film taking a chance on promoting some old fashioned ideals about finding the joy in helping others. A small film on a small budget with a big heart, "A Christmas Angel" stars Kari Hawker, K.C. Clyde and Bruce Davidson in a story about the difference between simply giving and giving of one's self. Of course those more jaded will dismiss the film as saccharine and too old fashioned. And perhaps it is. But it's those qualities, I believe, people miss most about Christmases past. Look, explosions and rapid-fire non sequitur comedy has its place, but let's not completely forget to enjoy a good and simple "feel good" Christmas movie offering an undeniable optimism especially now when the world is a bit overwhelming and financially uncertain. --Tony Toscano, Talking Pictures