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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2012
Vera is a diva director who gets fired from her third job in one year in the opening scenes of this movie. When all else fails, her manager (played well by veteran singer Steve Lawrence), lands her a job as director of a Christmas pageant in a small town. Shortly after arriving she encounters her former boyfriend, Jack, in the local coffee shop, which he owns. After her first disastrous meeting with her cast of characters (and you can apply that in two ways), she packs back up and calls a taxi to come get her so that she can catch a train back to New York. But with encouragement from the perceptive owner of the B&B where she was lodging, she remains.
She alienates herself from some of the townspeople by her desire to change things and endears herself to others by bringing out their hidden talents. And along the way she is enchanted by Jack's young daughter (who is charming) and her heart is touched by the genuine warmth and acceptance of the community.
*Spoiler Alert*
Then her manager calls with a too-good-to-be-true offer to direct back in New York--starting in two days. Vera is torn, but feels like she would be crazy to turn down such a career opportunity. Much to the disappointment of her cast, Jack and his daughter, she returns to New York. But this is a feel-good Christmas movie, so you know there is a happy ending.
This is basically a family-friendly movie. I caught one use of the Lord's name in vain. There were no illicit relationships, no crude language, nothing suggestive. I like Mailhouse and Gilbert and this was a heartwarming little holiday flick.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon November 20, 2012
What are the Holidays without a poignant Melissa Gilbert movie? We love her, and she delivers once again with this familiar Christmas tale of finding what's truly important in life.

Gilbert's character is a Broadway director with all the right stuff to succeed but floundering because of personality problems. She pursues her profession without regard to anything else. Now, because no one wants to hire her, her agent forces her to take a menial job directing a small town Christmas pageant. Not only that, but her ex-fiance, with a cute daughter, recommended her.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, we know where all this is headed; however, such is the nature of these family friendly, part romantic comedy, part mushy drama, with endearing oddball characters, small town folksiness, overly sentimental, but gotta love them anyway, type flicks.

It's well filmed and acted for the genre. Pot-bellied Edward Herrmann plays a jolly innkeeper. The story's fine and fun. The cons: There's too much sappy music throughout- after a while we just toned it out, and characters are somewhat stereotyped and one dimensional. May I also say, it's not as good as "A Holiday for Love"- which is one of our favorite Gilbert and Holiday movies.

I'm saying all this to be as critical as possible so you know what you're in for. If you hate predictablity and goofy, gooey stories- seek other forms of entertainment. We're suckers for it, and for our family movie night, it's right on the money for all ages. For that and Melissa Gilbert, 4 1/2 stars.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2012
I grew up watching Melissa Gilbert and was interested to see her as an adult, but this movie was a disappointment. This movie had a lot of promise---the plot was predictable---and could have been carried off well, but it was just too overdone in many ways. The small town people were embarrassingly corny instead of simple. The character development was stiff and too sudden in several situations. There were an over abundance of Christmas decorations to the point of feeling like you stumbled upon the clearance aisle at Walmart. The big city girl was too much lip gloss and put on attitude. The costumes of two of the women in the last major scene were completely out of place for a small town. Even a big city girl with a major attitude would have felt awkward in the dress Melissa Gilbert wore. Like I said, the plot could have been carried off sensitively and been an enjoyable.

Try instead "A Child's Christmas in Wales", "Silent Night" with Linda Hamilton when it becomes available, "The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey" if you want a movies you will watch year after year.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2012
Okay, so this movie was enjoyable and fun in a corny kind of way. I bought it on a whim and I will watch it again. Not reality, but good none the less. Glad that we added it to our Christmas collection.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2012
Oh how I wish I had listened to you Mrs. Chocolate, before I bought this piece of shlock. I too grew up watching Melissa Gilbert and have enjoyed her performances. I also own another Christmas movie she starred in, which I like, called "A Holiday for Love". However, "The Christmas Pageant" is a HUGE disappointment. The word that comes to mind is BORING and my expectations for Christmas movies isn't very high. I own at least 80 christmas movies....yes I love them. But this movie was a waste of my money, for all the reasons you described and more. The plot was contrived and predictable but that was not the death nail. Mostly, the character development was so underdeveloped I just didn't care about the main character...and neither did my companions watching the movie. The movie centered more on the trial and tribulations of directors and/or actors. A Christmas message or even the relationship between her and single Dad seemed to be an after thought. If you are either a director or actor you might like the movie, but on second thought, I am sure you would prefer to spend your time watching something of value. I agree with you Mrs. Chocolate. I advise watching "A Child's Christmas in Wales" or for GOOD cheesy love stories try, "Christmas Romance", "Christmas in the Clouds", "The Christmas Card", Fallen Angel", " If You Believe", "The Holiday"....so many to choose from. Just don't make the same mistake I did and buy "The Christmas Pageant". It's not worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2013
This was kind of cute---but a little "corney". I felt Melissa Gilbert looked a little old for the part she played---although I do like her and always have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2013
Okay, so this is not Academy Award material, but it IS about Christmas, and will be added to my Christmas movies collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
Good family movie. A little schmoozey at times, but who doesn't want a little schmooze at Christmas time? My kids and I enjoyed it.
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on January 25, 2015
I love this movie! Melissa Gilbert does a wonderful job of portraying the cynical overworked director, whose life is somewhat less than the dream. Her work on Broadway has made her arrogant and difficult to work with, so no theatrical companies will hire her. Desperate for income she takes a "two-bit job" in a tiny town to direct the town's annual Christmas play. This cynical, verging on tyrannical, director finds herself in VERY unfamiliar territory. As she's about to call it quits, she meets the wisest person ever... a little girl with a million questions and even more answers.
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on December 15, 2014
A pleasant holiday movie with Melissa Gilbert playing a Broadway director with an attitude who, for lack of a job has to go to a small town to direct a local Christmas pageant. She hates the idea but has little choice in the matter because she can't get a job in New York City anymore.
If you like Christmas romances with a somewhat different story line and characters who are little different -- if you like a little variety in your holiday fare -- you might like this one. I found it entertaining and at times downright delightful.
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