Australian Council on Children and the Media

Christmas Candle, The

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Short takes

Parental guidance recommended under 6 due to some scary scenes

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Christmas Candle, The
  • a review of Christmas Candle, The completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 13 December 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Parental guidance recommended due to some scary scenes
Children aged 6 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Christmas Candle, The
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 131 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The legend goes that many years ago in the downtrodden village of Gladbury, a humble candle maker prayed for a miracle to improve the lives of all of the villagers. As the candle maker wasn’t praying for himself, an angel appeared and touched one of his candles until it glowed brightly. From that day on life in Gladbury greatly improved and the villagers were happy. Thereafter, every 25 years, the angel appeared on Christmas Eve and touched a candle, providing a miracle to the one who lit it.

When a new young minister arrives in Gladbury, he declares the belief in miracles to be highly superstitious. Having lost his wife and daughter to TB, the Reverend David Richmond (Hans Matheson) believes that miracles only occur through the good works of men. He therefore brings the village folk together and encourages them to do go deeds for their neighbours.  It is also the dawn of the age of electricity so David sees this as the future for Gladbury and wants to do away with all the candles. The Gladbury Angel, however, has different ideas.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Fantasy and superstition; death of family members; Christmas as a Christian festival

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence and accidental harm in this movie including:

  • Ruth (Victoria Bewick), a young pregnant girl, is thrown out of her home and on to the streets.
  • Edward Haddington (Sylvester McCoy) slips over on his glasses and knocks the rack of candles over on top of himself.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  •  Fairies appear in a room as glowing lights and an angel is seen touching a candle.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Reverend David installs electric lights in the church but when he switches them on, they all explode, scaring all of the people and starting a fire in the church. This also causes old Mr. Hopewell (James Cosmo) who has heart problems, to have a heart attack and die.
  • A young boy called Charlie (Jude Wright) has been unable to speak since both of his parents died.
  • William Barstow (John Hannah) gets TB and he looks very sick in bed – he gets close to dying.
  • Reverend David and Emily Barstow (Samantha Barks) have to ride a horse and carriage through a storm. The horse rears up and a tree blows down blocking their path. They have to use a candle to reach Ruth who is about to have her baby.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

None of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

Ruth is a single mother which is quite a stigma in the 19th century.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

The Christmas Candle is a family movie about the magic of Christmas. It’s a very gentle movie but there are some tense moments which will require parental guidance for young children. The movie emphasises the Christian belief in Christmas as a religious festival in the Christian calendar.

The main messages from this movie are that faith and good works are not mutually exclusive and that miracles can happen if you believe strongly enough.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • faith
  • belief in miracles
  • helping your fellow neighbour.
  • kindness
  • generosity
  • selflessness

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