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Prancer Reviews

Plucky nine-year-old Jessica Riggs (Rebecca Harrell) resolutely believes in Santa Claus even though her schoolmates think she's a baby. When she finds Prancer, one of Saint Nick's famous reindeer, injured in nearby forest, Jessica secretly nurses the reindeer back to health, aided by an elderly veterinarian (Abe Vigoda). However, her attempts to help Prancer are complicated when she confides in a shopping-mall Santa (Michael Constantine), who spills the beans to the press, and by her father (Sam Elliott), who sells the reindeer to a merchant for use as part of a promotional stunt. When children's films are released for the holidays, one's heart sinks at the memory of such saccharine seasonal "gems" as SANTA CLAUS: THE MOVIE, and television's "It Came upon a Midnight Clear"; however, PRANCER marches to the beat of a different little drummer boy. Sensitively directed by John Hancock and filmed in the Indiana area where he grew up, the movie benefits from an authentic atmosphere, fleshed-out characters who behave as if they live in the real world, and an especially charming performance by Harrell. Good family films are as rare as flying reindeer, but PRANCER deserves to join the select ranks of those Christmas movies we return to again and again.