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Christmas For A Dollar
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A new holiday favorite for the entire family, inspired by a true story.
As all of America is caught in the grip of the Great Depression, the Kamp family is struggling to get by, especially after Mrs. Kamps untimely death. Now little Ruthie (Ruby Jones), with her mother gone and her father overwhelmed by doctor bills resulting from her brothers polio, expects another Christmas without presents or festivities. But when her father (Brian Krause) brings home one dollar in change and lets the children use it to buy special gifts for each other, the Kamps come to find that money isnt what fills Christmas with joy, love, and miracles.
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Top customer reviews
The standout is Jacob Buster as Norman, who steals the show as the central character, a high spirited boy who can't help but cause a little trouble but whose heart is in the right place. The family is - Gasp! - not disfunctional, but loving and helpful to each other. How novel for these days (the movie was made in 2013). It's in the depiction of the family that the film really shines, as well as some nice outdoor scenes. This movie gets trashed a lot by cynics who complain about bad acting, cliched plot elements and even that the houses seem too clean. Well, some people aren't inclined to like such a sweet, touching film. It was made by Mainstay Productions and Paulist Productions, two religiously-oriented film companies and that will set some people off right away. I say give it a chance. It doesn't have a big budget, and no, they couldn't afford Anthony Hopkins, and the plot is a bit predictable, but it's a heartwarming film for the whole family to watch together.
The story centers around the members of a poor family living in a small community that is still recovering from the Depression around the mid-30s. Some days before Christmas, the father presents the family with all of the money that he was able to scrimp and save that year: one dollar. Each member of the family is to provide exactly one gift to one other family member; the single dollar is to be shared by all.
The provision of these gifts is very much secondary to the plot, which zooms in on the lives of these individuals who manage to scrape by and be thankful for it. They are ordinary people who find happiness in their family and their community. There's no commercialism at all. No Christmas lights, adorned trees, stockings hung with care or mountains of presents. These are simple folk demonstrating simple values and the true meaning of Christmas. The gifts themselves, presented at the film's end, prove to be satisfyingly heartwarming.
Usual caveat: 4 stars because I really liked this film for what it is, not because it could hold its own against the best movies of all time.