Christmas-themed TV movies come in two varieties the cheaply sentimental and glossily sentimental and this Hallmark tearjerker fits into the latter pigeonhole. Keri Evans (Annette O’Toole) believes her husband Richard Evans (Richard Thomas) puts the needs of his ski-shop business ahead of their marriage and their child, Jena (Kelsey Mulrooney). To solidify their family ties, Keri persuades Richard to take a live-in position that will still allow time for him to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. As caretakers for the finicky Mary Parkin (Maureen O’Hara), the Evanses are expected to abide by her house rules. Keri caters to Mary's idiosyncracies, but Richard always manages to get his new boss's nose out of joint: He parks his car in her driveway, he makes too much noise when he comes home from his office… if it isn't one thing it's another. Richard can't wait to get away from the home Keri and Jena have come to cherish and refuses to look beneath the surface of Mary's rigidity, assuming that the fussbudget just doesn't like him. But Mary's aversion to Richard's attitude isn't personal; he reminds her of her late husband, David, who buried himself in his work after their daughter's death. Mary never got over this
Loss and has come to view Richard, Keri and Jena as her extended family. As Mary's condition worsens, she's forced to reveal that she's suffering from a heart ailment. Can Mary get through to Richard before it's too late? The answer lies in the titular Christmas, which Mary's beloved David gave her before grief made him compartmentalize his feelings. O'Hara, who's nothing less than a Hollywood treasure, adds resonance to this plum pudding of a drama stuffed with Candied aphorisms. One could easily belittle Greg Taylor's adaptation of Richard Paul Evans' inspirational novella, but the performances are so subtle and affecting that they lend the sanctimonious story a cumulative emotional depth whose resonance is undeniable.
Adman-turned-novelist Evans scored a bestseller in the early 1990s with his inspirational self-published novella, which he followed with two lesser-known companion volumes; this CBS-aired adaptation was filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Evans makes his home.
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: NR
- Review: Christmas-themed TV movies come in two varieties the cheaply sentimental and glossily sentimental and this Hallmark tearjerker fits into the latter pigeonhole. Keri Evans (Annette O’Toole) believes her husband Richard Evans (Richard Thomas) p… (more)