"Mixed Message Family Movie"
What You Need To Know:
The movie is slickly made with a terrific ensemble cast of actors as the four parents, Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburger, Sissy Spacek, and Jon Voight. The movie’s message is that family does matter and is worth the obligations that come with it. That said, the message has a decidedly odd anti-marriage aspect. Kate and Brad decide they can start a family, but without getting married. And, the tag at the end suggests that they really aren’t seeing their family any more than they had in the past.
(PaPa, BB, C, Ab, Ho, LL, V, S, A, M) Strongly mixed pagan worldview with some positive messages about faith, family and commitment, including positive references to God and prayer, but with an anti-marriage twist at the end and a sarcastic portrayal of the Nativity, plus some homosexual references; 12 obscenities (one from a teenager) and eight profanities; slapstick wrestling by adult brothers; couple have relations in public restroom acting out fantasy, discussion of sex and some homosexual references; no nudity; drinking of alcohol; no smoking or drug use; and, lying.
FOUR CHRISTMASES is the story of Brad and Kate who, through a set of circumstances, are not able to take their usual tropical vacation over Christmas and instead must visit each set of their divorced parents.
Brad and Kate are unmarried and don’t want to have children, responsibilities or obligations. However, they spend Christmas day going to each of their four parents who are all divorced. Typically, Brad and Kate lie and skip out on seeing family over the holiday. At each home, they discover that, even though they have been together for years, they don’t really know each other and that love is actually tied in with responsibility and obligation.
The movie is slickly made with a terrific ensemble cast of actors as the four parents, Robert Duvall, Mary Steenburger, Sissy Spacek, and Jon Voight. The story is by nature episodic as a new problem or revelation unfolds at each of the stops on Christmas day. The comedy is light as they deal with family issues, some more extreme than others. Brad’s brothers are amateur cage fighters and wrestle him constantly. Brad and Kate play a “Taboo” board game and learn that they don’t know much about each other, while another couple has learned all there is to know about each other.
The movie’s message is ultimately that family does matter and that family is worth the risks and obligations that come with it. Jon Voight as Kate’s dad tells her that he has learned that family is the most important thing, and he regrets the years he lost in not valuing it. The same character prays around the Christmas table, thanking God for family and for the things that bring them together.
That said, the message has a decidedly odd anti-marriage aspect. Kate and Brad decide they can start a family, but without getting married. And the tag at the end suggests that they really aren’t seeing their family any more than they had in the past.
Kate’s mom has a new boyfriend, the pastor of a small church. Kate and Brad get roped into playing Mary and Joseph in the Nativity play, which is played for laughs. The pastor character is neither positive nor negative, though there is a degree of sarcasm in all that he does.
The movie has a mixed message with sexual and homosexual references and one scene with Kate and Brad having sexual relations. It would have been better had the message been more pure and marriage not slighted in the process. However, with discernment, this can be an entertaining movie that does have some positive things to say.
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