An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving
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Inspired by a short story, Isabella Caldwell is a high-society woman in late-1800's New York. When Isabella's estranged daughter Mary becomes ill and is too proud to ask her mother for assistance, Mary's daughter, Tilly, takes it upon herself to contact her grandmother and plead for help. Isabella's arrival causes an upheaval in many lives, but may also lead to reconciliation within the family.
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A widow (Helene Joy) with three children is struggling to survive on a farm she rents from a well-to-do family. The season is Thanksgiving and it appears that she cannot afford the food to enjoy the annual feast. The eldest daughter, Tilly (Tatiana Maslany), is writing a family story and wishes for her mother, Mary, to be reunited with her grandmother, Isabella (Jacqueline Bisset). The two have been estranged since her mother married her father, a man whom her grandmother felt was beneath her.
Tilly pens a letter to her grandmother in an effort to get Isabella to come for a visit. Isabella decides to accept the invitation and this is where the story takes off. Mary, of course, is unhappy with Isabella's unexpected appearance and is averse to anything she tries to do for the family. In particular, she resents the relationship that begins to develop between Isabella and Tilly. It appears that Isabella is trying to do for Mary what she did not succeed in doing for her daughter and the last thing Mary wants is for Tilly to be influenced in her view of life by Isabella's social standing.
As events unfold, Isabella's past is revealed and it becomes apparent what is at the heart of the estrangement, which goes beyond just Isabella's disapproval of the man Mary chose to marry. In a selfless act, Mary endangers herself which frustrates Isabella but impresses Tilly. The dire consequence ends up being a blessing in disguise as it brings about reconciliation that changes Isabella the most.
The movie ends with Tilly giving her mother a book she has been writing all throughout this holiday season. In its opening paragraph she says: "The best adventures begin with simple things. Hope and family and love." Those three things are exactly what this story is about - hope, family and love.
This film is destined to become a holiday favorite, so add it to your collection this season.
Though Tilly certainly is bold for a girl at that time, she makes things happen in the story.
The mother is a wonderful actress in her role and what a treat to see Jacqueline Bisset, still lovely with age.
The story comes from Louisa May Alcotts collection, so it has interest all throughout the movie.
I love the settings, the characters and the reminder that God can draw good from tragedy
For those who love.
Having never read the Alcott story this is taken from, I have no idea how closely it stays to the short story, but it is a fine movie on its own. I definitely give it 5 stars!
My favorite was actually the middle generation, Mary (Helene Joy) who I first encountered over several years playing a similar roll, only in "Murdoch Mysteries" she is a full fledged doctor, and does the nasty autopsy work for solving crimes. In the Thanksgiving film, she's healing when the real doctor is unavailable. In both roles, she plays the tough gal, but with a secret softer heart. You must see those Murdoch Mysteries, also period drama.
Daughter Matilda is played by Tatiana Maslany who does a remarkable job with the role, although not a novice in film. 2 years later she steps up to play Mary in "The Nativity", another film worth your while. Of course the intended lead was rich Granny Isabella, played by Jacqueline Bisset. She's nasty and then turns sweet. She is grande, and her costumes even grander, she being the richest person of the characters. She got all the fanciest frocks. The rest of the period costumes and sets and props were expertly done making this quite an enjoyable and nostalgic romp back into the past.
A fun family film, good for all ages, and stunning camera vistas. Some 'making of' bonus was fun to watch also.
SUBTITLES & CC ARE PROVIDED FOR THOSE WHO NEED THEM.
Now I wait for Hallmark Channel's "An Old Fashioned Christmas" staring Billet again as Isabella and Catherine Steadman as the granddaughter. Where's that DVD, I query?