Angela's Christmas Wish - Netflix Movie Review

Angela's Christmas Wish - Image from Netflix

The holiday slate this year is full of new content as streaming services like Netflix continue to fill our socially distanced holidays with warm spirits.  The latest family holiday feature to release to Netflix is Angela's Christmas Wish.  There wasn't much available on this title prior to my chance to screen it, so I wasn't sure what to expect.  The movie is based on characters from Frank McCourt - you probably recognize his name as the pulitzer prize winning author of Angela's Ashes.  What you may not realize is that he also penned a children's story - Angela and the Baby Jesus.  It's this story which inspired the movie on Netflix, and while it's not the typical kids Christmas movie on featuring Santa and elves, there is something much deeper in Angela's Christmas Wish that makes it a more solemn and heartfelt choice for families this holiday season.  Before I dive into my thoughts, take a look at the trailer from Netflix.

Looking for something else different this holiday season?  Take a look at Alien Xmas.

About Angela's Christmas Wish (from Netflix)

Angela's Christmas Wish is a heart-warming tale of a determined little girl who sets out to reunite her family in time for Christmas. Based on the characters from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt, it is a tender and funny story about the importance of family and togetherness.

Angela's Christmas Wish - Movie Review

First things first, you should know that there is a previous movie, Angela's Christmas, which follows the children's book published by Frank McCourt - Angela and the Baby Jesus.  This is available to stream on Netflix too and at a brief 30 minutes may be a good choice to tune into before watching Angela's Christmas Wish.  Why am I telling you this?  Because I didn't realize it until after watching Angela's Christmas Wish, but I probably should have watched the first one first.  While you don't have to - the plot is different and makes total sense without needing to - there are a few references that may make more sense with some context.  

Angela's Christmas Wish - Image from Netflix

Angela's Christmas Wish opens with Angela's father sailing from their home in Ireland to the faraway lands of Australia for work.  Angela's mom is at home with the four children in Limerick, trying to take care of herself and the family while he is away and the stress is starting to show at times.  But mom always finds time to tell her kids stories and, like all good mom stories, you find some nuggets of wisdom in them.  At first, Angela wishes for a new doll for Christmas, but after hearing her mother's story about Christmas wishes of both a king and a pauper, she begins to wonder what others would wish for and the true meaning of a Christmas wish.  Her heart and mind turns to her father and the children decide that they are going to bring their father home from Australia to surprise their mother.  What ensues is a series of events that highlight the naivety of youth, but are very realistic if you spend any time with small children.  I mean, digging a tunnel from Ireland to Australia seems reasonable, right?

Angela's Christmas Wish - Image from Netflix

I said in my opening that this movie is different than a lot of other Christmas selections out there which can mean that it may not be for everyone.  There is no magic.  No flying reindeer.  No Santa Claus.  There are difficulties, sadness, hope, worry, empathy, kindness, disregard, and joy.  My boys were Christmas-movied out for the time being so I watched this one alone and I don't know that it would have drawn them in on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  They like action and excitement, both not present in this film like others.  The story does have some powerful messaging though on the true meaning of Christmas and family which is important.  I want to watch this with my boys because the story is that good, but I know we'll have to be in a frame of mind to really watch a deeper movie than a lighthearted Christmas comedy.  

Want more great Christmas content from Netflix?  Check out Jingle Jangle and The Christmas Chronicles 2.

Overall, I think this is a good choice for families who want to have a richer connection with the meaning of the holidays.  The film is kid-friendly, but not comedic and flashy.  It's something for families to watch together and talk about Christmas.  There are religious references in the film too as opposed to many of the secular options that are out their for holiday viewing.  At just 47 minutes, it packs a punch for a short film.  Discover the true meaning of the season with Angela and her family and join her in her quest to bring her dad home for the holidays.

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