Turk Pipkin’s 1999 novel When Angels Sing gets the feature film treatment, thanks to director Tim McCanlies (Secondhand Lions, The Iron Giant) and a host of notable actors and musicians.You may have not heard of this Christmas-themed family drama but you’ve heard the work of Harry Connick Jr., Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett, Fionnula Flanagan, and Connie Britton. (The amusing credit is noticing Elizabeth Avellan is the lead producer, with Spykids to her credit, but Sin City, Machete, and Predators, too, working with Robert Rodriguez.)
Michael Walker (Connick) can’t stand a real Christmas celebration since his childhood tragedy wrecked the experience for him. Now, his own son (Chandler Canterbury) wants to see the holiday as more than an event, and he must examine what kind of influence he’s going to have. A few folks try to work on him, but he gets a good dose of realism and advice from church leader Nick (Nelson) who puts the power of memory making back in Walker’s court.
Fans of country music and soft shoe family drama will run to this one. You can see it in theaters now, or buy it December 10. The gentle infusion of family support from his spouse (Britton) and parents (Kristofferson, Flanagan) make Walker the central character, but it’s certainly PG and family friendly. Most of the major learning opportunities are for adults, but a church or youth audience wouldn’t be offended by anything here.
We all need to remember what Christmas is about, and work to help others find that beauty in the mystery, too. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how old you are. And as is true in all things about life, tragedy can derail us, so our focus, and the support of our community (friends and family), will ultimately determine how we respond.
Walker rediscovers what he’s lost in the end, with some good help. If you need to figure that out for yourself, maybe this movie will help!
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