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One Magic Christmas
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72 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2001
This is a great OVERLOOKED CLASSIC movie to watch all year round especially during the holiday season. Now available on DVD in a WideScreen format!!
One Magic Christmas is a classic story about a struggling family who lost the Holiday Spirit and the mother the belief of "Merry Christmas". Through some hair raising events they regain their faith and belief in themselves and others.
In Summary: A Christmas Angel (Harry Dean Stanton) is sent to help a family re-discover the "Spirit of Christmas". The Angel uses the daughter (you'll love this 7 year old, Elisabeth Harnois - the cutest girl with the most adorable blue eyes) to help restore her mother's (Mary Steenbergen) lost Christmas Spirit and belief in "MERRY CHRISTMAS".
Through some tough choices & lessons the mother has her faith in her fellow man, family and the Christmas Spirit restored.
The Angel and the daughter's beliefs guide us through the events and we even get a trip to the "North Pole and see Mr & Mrs Santa Claus!!!! With the comfort and protection of the Christmas Angel our journey is both eye opening and satisfying.
A Christmas Classic to add to your DVD holiday collection.
This is "ONE MAGIC CHRISTMAS" you won't forget!!!!!!!
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2001
One of those depressing Christmas flicks with a happy ending, this truly family movie has a good message about remembering what is really important in life. The main character, Ginny, is caught up in her her own problems and worries. She has lost her Christmas spirit and has forgotten how important her loved ones are to her. On a cautionary note, this film is different from other movies such as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Preacher's Wife" in that the angel seems to be a representative of Santa Claus, setting up good 'ol St. Nick to be a God-like figure. When tragedy strikes the family (not too much detail here so as not to spoil the movie if you haven't seen it yet) the angel takes Ginny's young daughter to Santa Claus. He tells her he can't solve her problem, but that her mother has the power to do it herself. The turning point in the movie left me wondering how it exactly happened, but it is a movie with a supernatural theme so this is part of the charm. Good acting by all the cast. A movie that the whole family can enjoy.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2005
"One Magic Christmas" is a true classic, an underappreciated gem of a movie whose reputation will only grow as time passes and those of us who grew up watching it gain influence over popular culture.

Forget "It's a Wonderful Life" and the rest. This is the best Christmas movie ever made.

Mary Steenburgen turns in the performance of her career as Ginny Granger, a woman who's lost not only the Christmas spirit but also her very soul amid financial problems, family issues, and the pressures of modern life. Its up to Christmas angel Gideon (Harry Dean Stanton), Santa Claus, and Ginny's own children to help her recover what she has lost.

The movie's plot is certainly dark, and a box of kleenex may be necessary for some scenes. The writing is superb and the acting first-rate throughout.

The alternate-reality loop (from when the lights go out to until the lights go back on) is a fairly unique device in mainstream Hollywood films (especially Disney ones).

Despite the rather dour situation the Granger family finds themselves in during most of the film, their series of unfortunate events has a very heartwarming - even triumphant - ending. And just when you think it's going to wrap up, the film gives you one more treat - as Ginny gets a glimpse of a very special Christmas visitor.

This movie is well worth the price. Order it today and experience what I believe is the best holdiay picture out there. Five stars!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2001
Mary Steenburgen plays the part of the bitter and frustrated wife Ginny to perfection. I have never seen her play a role this before, it just truly shows what a great and versatile actress she is. The story is about a woman named Ginny who even when everyone else at Christmas seems bright and full of joy, she cannot even bring herself to say Merry Christmas. With money tight Ginny doesn't see why there is any need to be merry. She is the type of person who doesn't seem to appreciate anything she has especially her loving husband, and bright and imaginative kids. It isn't until one christmas when Ginny's daughter decides to do something about her mother to get her back into the christmas spirit and that's when she meets the kindhearted and wise angel Gideon played by Harry Dean Stanton. With the help of Gideon, and Santa Claus she is able to help her mom realize that she shouldn't take for granted everything she has and helps her realize the joy and magic of christmas that she knew when she was just a little girl. This is a beautiful movie and very well acted and with a very good message. Although there are some scenes which are too intense for younger kids like when Ginny's husband get's shot or her kids drown in the lake, but other than that this movie is something for young and old. It will help you realize the true meaning of christmas: family and just how special they are. One Magic Christmas truly is magical!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2005
This is not just a great Christmas movie, it is a great movie. The style is an unusual mix of fantasy and realism. The ending is a series of emotional triumphs made the more so by Mary Steenbergen's acceptance of the power of magic to inform and give meaning to daily realities. It is an existential journey to faith.

Two other things I would mention relative to other reviewers. The child molester image of the Gideon character was not apparent at the time. In retrospect it may have been better to have a female angel, but Gideon is effective in his humility and soft-spoken nature.

The other thing is that other reviewers mention the special effects. I saw this movie in the theatre and it was amazing. I was overwhelmed by its power. It was nominated for an Academy Award in cinematography and won in that category in Canada

I really wish someone would show a clean copy on the big screen again. As it is I have watched the movie every year since as an annual rite.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I grew up in the 80's and thought that I'd seen just about all of the Christmas "classics" of that decade. Somehow "One Magic Christmas" slipped passed me until it was packaged with "The Santa Clause/Santa Clause 2" through the Disney Movie Club. Seeing the price for three movies as a bargain, I purchased all three. Now I'm very familiar with the "Santa Clause" movies, but I knew absolutely nothing about this film. When I finally sat down to watch it, it put me in a comfortable holiday mood that only a choice few Christmas films can do to me. Mary Steenburgen headlines a solid cast of characters as Ginny Grainger. She's a mom who's whole family is down on their luck for Christmas. Her husband has lost his job and with it, their home. Her boss at the supermarket hounds her despite doing everything for him and to top things off, she seems to be the only person not happy that it's Christmas time. Enter Gideon (Harry Dean Stanton), a Christmas angel sent by St. Nick to remedy the problems of Ginny Grainger. How does he do it? Through her Santa-believing daughter, Abbie (Elisabeth Harnois). As the story rolls along and more terrible things and one rather traumatic event occur, Ginny loses all hope for Christmas. Can Gideon and Abbie (with a little help from ol' Kris Kringle) save the family's Christmas. You'll have to watch to find out.

As stated before, the cast is solid. Two standouts are Gary Basaraba as Ginny's optimistic husband and a young Elias Koteas as a family friend. Special effects are minimal and haven't aged well, but do not distract the viewer from the story.

As another reviewer stated, Santa Claus does take on a few god-like qualities, and the "magic" at the end of the film may turn off some viewers. However, I see this character's development and the events that occur as nothing more than another take on the Santa mythos. A few people might also be turned off by the "creepy guy" factor of Harry Dean Stanton's Gideon. He hangs around in trees playing a harmonica, dressed in a dark duster and a cowboy hat. The reasons for this are explained in the film, but he does cast quite the shadow as a "friendly" stranger that may bug some parents. Not talking to strangers should be a well developed concept for children who see this film, but it never hurts to refresh your child once in awhile. There is also a very traumatic event that occurs near the end of the film that is dealt with very tenderly, but may be too intense for very young viewers. Just know that it involves a shooting death of a primary character that is resolved eventually.

As for the DVD itself, there is one compilation of movie previews, a Spanish language track, and French subtitles. That's all. There's no extra cartoon or trivia games, so if that's your bag, you're out of luck.

So, despite a few minor details like the creepiness of Gideon at times and what some see as the godliness of Santa, "One Magic Christmas" is a solid family film that I'm sure will be cherished by many for years to come. Sure, it's no "A Christmas Story" or "It's A Wonderful Life," but it's still worth repeat viewings during that most wonderful time of the year. Recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2003
I love this film! I think that financial and parental obligations can cause Christmas to be a very stressful time for many people. The main character, played by Mary Steenburgen, is a very unhappy person. She is obviously in a rut and the fact that another Christmas is coming, with all that entails, is not helping. This is a great story about seeing what you have, instead of what you don't. It is very emotional, as fairy tales are, and has a wonderful moral. It is heartwarming and appeals to the child in all of us. My family and I watch it every year!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2000
My children and I were brand new in town and went to see One Magic Christmas years ago when it was showing in the theater. It has become a Christmas Eve tradition! My oldest is 22 and living on his own...the DVD version was one of his gifts this year. My 16 year old asked yesterday if we had plans for Christmas Eve. When I mentioned that we would be visiting friends, he said "Before or after One Magic Christmas" Wonderful movie that really puts things in perspective.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2003
This is the type of movie you will either love or hate. My family happens to love it. We watch it every year, it is a must see, along with Prancer. A big part of the fun, is that it was filmed in the 80's and we like seeing the styles back then. I don't think it is for small children but older children will like it. I feel it is the type of movie that you enjoy more after viewing it once. You know what is coming and that no matter what happens it works out in the end. It is heartwarming, but a bit over the top. One of the reasons we love it is that we enjoy poking fun at the extremes the movie goes to just because the main character doesn't believe in Santa. Give it a try, and soon you will make it a part of your Christmas tradition. Maybe you will end up like my family and be able to recite the dialog.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 1999
Arguably the most depressing Christmas movie ever made....yet its realism and honesty only make it that much more powerful and heart-warming. The ending is worthy of many tissues, and it is not a typical manipulative Christmas movie; this one earns its tears. Mary Steenburgen is excellent in the lead role. Her speech to her children about their father is one of the most powerful scenes Ms. Steenburgen has ever performed in. And who knew Harry Dean Stanton could play an angel? A case of miscasting that worked wonderfully.
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