CHRISTMAS IN CANAAN

Great Family Drama

Content +4
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: November 12, 2009

Starring: Billy Ray Cyrus, Jacob Blair,
Emily Tennant, Ben Cotton, Tom
McBeath, and Brendan Meyer

Genre: Drama

Audience: All ages

Rating: Not Rated

Runtime: 96 minutes

Distributor: The Hallmark Channel

Director: Neill Fearnley

Executive Producer: Dan Angel, Ted Bauman, Howard
Braunstein, Michael Jaffee,
and Margaret Loesch

Producer: Randy Cheveldave

Writer: Donald Davenport

Address Comments To:

Elizabeth Yost
Head of Original Programming and Development
The Hallmark Channel
Crown Media United States, LLC
12700 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, CA 91604
Phone: 1-888-390-7474
Website: www.hallmarkchannel.com

Content:

(CCC, BBB, V) Very strong Christian, biblical movie overtly mentioning Jesus Christ, praying in the name of Jesus, loving God, loving your neighbor, overcoming prejudice; no foul language; dog gets shot, grandmother dies, corpse shown, truck hits boy, aftermath of accident shown, villains fire bomb African-American voter registration meeting; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking; and, nothing else objectionable.

Summary:

Set in the 1960s, CHRISTMAS IN CANAAN is a moving drama about a black family and white family that learn to love each other out of their Christian beliefs. The acting is terrific and has a strong Christian message.

Review:

CHRISTMAS IN CANAAN, based on a true story and book, is another heartwarming, powerful Hallmark drama. Set in the 1960s, the story opens with the statement that the Bible says Canaan is the promised land, and the joke in this Texas town is that the bank has the promissory notes to prove it.

The story focuses on two family in the rapidly desegregating South. The white family is led by Daniel Burton, played wonderfully by Billy Ray Cyrus. They are deeply in debt. The black family consists of Grandmother Eunice Freeman, who owns her farm outright, and her son Rodney, who loves to read.

One day Daniel’s son, D.J., is trying to do his homework on the bus. He asks a white friend for the name of the capitol of New York State. The friend says New York City, but Rodney in the back says Albany. D.J. thinks that Rodney is getting uppity so he gets up and eventually attacks Rodney.

Daniel does not want his son to grow up to be a bigot, so he makes a deal with Eunice that the two boys will live together for a week. D.J. will spend a couple of days staying with Eunice, and Rodney will spend a couple days staying at the Burtons. The first few days are very difficult, but then Rodney and D.J. find a dog that’s been shot by the bigoted neighbor Carl. Rodney and D.J. become fast friends nursing the dog back to life.

A few years later, when Eunice dies, Daniel invites Rodney to live with them to the delight of the entire Burton family, except Daniel’s father-in-law. They have so little that their Christmas presents consist of pictures from catalogues of the gifts they want to have, thereby just expressing love and hope.

One day Rodney goes to a black voter registration meeting. Carl and his son, who has just been released from jail for killing a black man, firebomb the meeting. As they’re escaping, they run over D.J.’s youngest brother Bobby. Rodney is torn between the civil rights movement and the white Burton family who loves him so much.

CHRISTMAS IN CANAAN is great television. The drama is intense. The jeopardy is clear. And, the victories are heartwarming. This is a real portrait of real life, from a very Christian viewpoint. Both Eunice and Rodney pray in the name of Jesus at the beginning and at the end of the movie. Daniel tells his father-in-law, Carl’s friend, “If you’re so worried about what Carl thinks about a black boy living at our house, who are you going to answer to on Judgment Day?”

The acting in this movie is incredible. D.J.’s sister Cissy is particularly captivating, and Billy Ray Cyrus does one of his best roles. The movie looks like it was shot in Texas, which it probably wasn’t. The direction and set direction are flawless. Best of all, this is not a politically correct movie. It’s a movie about real Christian love.

CHRISTMAS IN CANAAN is reminiscent of PLACES IN THE HEART. It could have been a feature movie.

In Brief:

CHRISTMAS IN CANAAN, based on a true story and book, is another heartwarming, powerful Hallmark drama. Set in the 1960s, the story features two families, one black and one white. To overcome bigotry, they have their sons live with each other for a few days. The white family is led by Daniel Burton, played wonderfully by Billy Ray Cyrus. As the civil rights movement heats up, the young black son is torn between the movement and the Burton family who loves him so much.

CHRISTMAS IN CANAAN is an intense drama. The jeopardy is clear. And, the victories are heartwarming. This is a real portrait of real life, from a very Christian viewpoint. Eunice and Rodney each pray in the name of Jesus. Daniel tells his father-in-law, “If you’re so worried about what Carl thinks about a black boy living at our house, who are you going to answer to on Judgment Day?” The acting in this movie is incredible. Billy Ray Cyrus does one of his best roles. The direction and set direction are flawless. Best of all, this is not a politically correct movie. It’s a movie about real Christian love.