Monday, November 9, 2020

Review: "The Santa Box" (2020 Film)

It's Christmas movie season!!! I've been watching Hallmark movies for the last few weeks, and really, to me it's the more the merrier! The Santa Box is a new Christmas movie that released in theaters last Friday and will be available on DVD tomorrow. I had the opportunity to watch a screener of the film, and it's a good one!

THE SANTA BOX tells the story of teenager Kallie Watts. For the past five years, Christmas has spelled disaster for her and her family. When a fire leaves Kallie and her widowed mother homeless just before the holidays, there’s only one conclusion: Kallie is cursed by Christmas. When Kallie and her mother relocate to a small California town, Kallie is confronted by her worst nightmare come true: a town overflowing with holiday decorations and Christmas cheer. Kallie’s life is soon changed forever by the gift of a Santa box. When she lifts the lid, she rediscovers the magic and true meaning of Christmas.

Kallie is a middle school girl who hates Christmas, due to the fact that bad things always seem to happen to her family during the Christmas season. When she and her mom move to a new town, she struggles to fit in at school and deal with her mom's emerging love life. Then she meets their neighbor Otto, a man who is largely despised by the town -- and in him she discovers a friend who encourages her to be a better version of herself.

The Santa Box is an enjoyable movie for the whole family! There are messages about bullying, caring for those who are different, putting someone else's needs above your own. It a Christmas movie that I think my 11-year-old cousin would love.

As an adult, I did find a few things that didn't work for me. Nelly, the town's "queen bee" is way too over-the-top evil to be believable. (That said, the actor playing her husband was delightfully understated and sarcastic.) The conflict regarding Otto, Kallie's neighbor facing eviction, felt very contrived; it worked in the context of establishing that Nelly was the worst.person.ever, but it wasn't logical. (And I could not figure out why people seemed to hate him ... racism, perhaps?) A few of the actors came off as very green (I think they were ...), though the leads were excellent.

All that said, this is an earnest and engaging film that had me feeling surprisingly emotional in the last 15 minutes. It will certainly play better with preteens than adults due to quality issues, but I'd say it's definitely worth the watch. 3 stars (4 stars for kids).

Buy the DVD: Amazon, Deseret, Seagull

Enter the giveaway:
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received access to a screener of this film to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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