One Christmas

  • 1994
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Though based on Truman Capote's masterfully nuanced short story of the same title, this made-for-TV exercise in soggy nostalgia, featuring a miscast Henry Winkler and visibly ill Katharine Hepburn, is dragged down by Tony Bill 's stodgy direction. In 1930, eight year-old Buddy (T. J. Lowther) has an chance to spend Christmas with his estranged father (Henry...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Though based on Truman Capote's masterfully nuanced short story of the same title, this made-for-TV exercise in soggy nostalgia, featuring a miscast Henry Winkler and visibly ill Katharine Hepburn, is dragged down by Tony Bill 's stodgy direction. In 1930, eight year-old Buddy (T. J. Lowther) has an chance to spend Christmas with his

estranged father (Henry Winkler) in New Orleans. Given his druthers, Buddy would have remained Aunt Sook’s (Julie Harris) kitchen helper back in Alabama, but without disclosing the reason for her trip to Buddy, Aunt Sook has gone north to care for Buddy's mother, an emotionally unstable actress. Buddy’s blustering dad, who expected a sports-loving chip off the old block, has trouble warming to his stay-at-home son, who secretly hopes his parents will get back together one day. Buddy is nonetheless taken aback by his papa’s glad-handing entrepreneurial ways, especially since his tactics include flirting with middle-aged ladies. Not only does Daddy borrow Buddy's pocket money, but also he forces the boy to accompany him on his rounds. A keen student of human nature, Papa knows that a well-mannered tyke cuts a sympathetic figure when one is trying to pry open a few pocketbooks. Seizing an opportunity, he even courts a rich spinster named Emily (Swoosie Kurtz), whose caustic aunt, Cornelia Beaumont (Katharine Hepburn), rightly regards Emily's suitor as a gigolo. But Miss Beaumont eventually takes a shine to Buddy, and must win him over before Buddy's father can walk down the aisle to security with Miss Emily. Buddy, however, proves intractable — perhaps the only way he'll give up his fantasy of parental reconciliation. Would learning the truth about his mom's mental condition disabuse Buddy of his fantasy of a happy home life? Though screenwriter Duane Poole doesn't shy away from the unpleasant aspects of Capote's semi-biographical characters, he overloads the father-son rapprochement with sticky sentiment.

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  • Released: 1994
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Though based on Truman Capote's masterfully nuanced short story of the same title, this made-for-TV exercise in soggy nostalgia, featuring a miscast Henry Winkler and visibly ill Katharine Hepburn, is dragged down by Tony Bill 's stodgy direction. In 1930,… (more)

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