Movie Monday – The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Today’s family movie suggestion is The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey…

Picture 135We first watched this movie a couple of years ago and just recently watched it the other night. I’d forgotten what a delightful movie it is!

Based on the book by Susan Wojciechowski, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is a movie of the value of family and of new beginnings. Thomas has recently lost his father in the War. When he and his mother move to the country from their upscale city home, Thomas finds it difficult to adjust.  How will he ever survive without his father? And to make matters worse, Thomas accidentally left the beautiful Nativity Scene figurines at the train stop. Figurines that are a reminder of the Christmases past with his father.

Jonathan Toomey is no stranger to grief. Having lost his wife and child, he shuts himself out from the world, and instead is content to hide behind the doors of his rented cabin carving items to sell at the local shop. Some of the children in town mock him including calling him “Gloomy Toomey” and throw pebbles at his home. Rumors abound when the children make up stories about just what it is that Mr. Toomey does.

When the paths of Thomas, his mother, and Mr. Toomey cross, lives change. Can those who have lost the most find true happiness again?

This is a wonderful movie with themes of not judging others (Luke 6:37; Matthew 7:1), caring for those less fortunate , and doing to others as you would have done to you (Matthew 7:12). It is a story of healing with some humor dabbled in and some refreshing scenes about the importance of family. It’s a film you’ll want to add to your annual Christmas collection.

This movie contains nothing objectionable, and I would highly recommend The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey for all ages.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – The Penny Promise – 11/5/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Movie Monday suggestion is The Penny Promise (Feature Films for Families)…

Picture 136Will is an honest man. In short, he never breaks a promise. He strives to do the right thing in all circumstances and his kind, trustworthy, and laidback personality make him popular with his students.

Will is also on a quest to marry Annie Farnsworthy, the woman he loves. However, before he can marry her, Annie’s wealthy father makes Will promise to save $10,000.  Will is poor and works as a teacher, but he is determined to save the money to win Annie’s hand in marriage. What Will doesn’t bank on is some competition from a wealthy young rival who also wants to marry Annie.  Can Will compete with someone who is deemed to be more worthy of Annie’s hand just because he has a well-paying job and a fancy car?

Will also doesn’t count on a misunderstanding that lands him in court and turns those he cares about most against him. Can Will prove his innocence? Can he do so without breaking a promise to a friend?

The Penny Promise is a fun movie with some humorous parts and some great lessons. It is quirky (and slightly unbelievable) at times, but full of good intentions. Themes include: honesty, keeping promises, doing the right thing, setting a good example, being a mentor, helping those in need, standing by someone in all circumstances, integrity, the importance of good character, bullying, lying, and dishonesty. Great discussion questions abound in this film. For example:  Is it ever all right to lie? If no one even recognizes that you are an honest and upright person, is it even worth it to be one? What are the most important attributes in a person’s character? What would you do in Will’s situation? In Dusty’s situation?

As we watched this movie, two Scripture verses came to mind: Proverbs 12:22, which states, Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who are faithful are his delight and Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

I highly recommend this movie for all ages. There is no objectionable content (please note that we watched the edited Feature Films for Families version). In all, a great movie for Family Night for all ages!

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – Game Time: Tackling the Past 7/30/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Game Time: Tackling the Past

IMG_0005 (3)Jake Walker is an NFL football player with everything going for him. He’s loved by his fans, has a lucrative career, and seems to have it all. Then the phone call comes that changes his life: his dad has suffered a heart attack. Jake travels back to his small North Carolina hometown. But will things ever be the same? Can broken hearts forgive?

In North Carolina, Jake’s brother, Dean is a husband, father, and high school football coach. As a matter of fact, with his dad, he coaches the same team both he and Jake played for in high school. However, things aren’t good between Dean and Jake, nor Jake and his father.

When Jake unexpectedly receives a call letting him know he will no longer be playing for the same NFL team, Jake worries about his future. Football is all he has ever loved. What will become of the NFL career he fought so hard to build? Will his agent be able to sign a contract for him with another team? If not, what then? Will his injured knee hold up through another season? What will become of the newly blossoming relationship between he and Sarah, his high school girlfriend from the past whom he recently reconnected with in North Carolina?

I applaud Walmart and Proctor & Gamble for producing family movies, many with great themes. That said, Game Time: Tackling the Past is one of my favorite of these movies. It combines drama and sports for an enjoyable movie that is appropriate for the entire family. There is nothing objectionable -no foul language, no violence – just an awesome family movie with an important lesson that I highly recommend!

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – Front of the Class – 6/25/12

This week’s family movie night suggestion is Front of the Class…

A Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, Front of the Class  takes viewers into the life of Brad Cohen, a real-life man with Tourette Syndrome. When Brad was six-years-old, he began to make strange sounds and have peculiar tics. His parents had no idea what was wrong with him and his father even blamed him for misbehaving and disobeying whenever he asked Brad to stop. His classmates ridiculed him and his teachers sent him to the principal’s office on a regular basis.  Several times throughout the film, he was made to promise to “quit making those noises” – noises he had no control over. Attending movies and going to the library was out of the question because Brad’s unannounced sounds came at the least opportune moments.

Brad struggles to deal with his undiagnosed disorder, although he terms it as his “constant companion” as a way to deal with it. His upbeat attitude helps when few around him understand. After numerous trips to doctors and psychiatrists, Brad’s mom finally takes matters into her own hands and discovers there is a name for what her son struggles with – Tourette Syndrome. She can now find him the support he needs.

Later in life, Brad sets out to become a teacher – a lifelong dream of his. But who will hire someone who can’t control when they might make a strange sound or have strange tics and movements?

This is a touching movie, and many times throughout, I had to reach for a Kleenex. Brad’s mistreatment at the hands of ignorance (especially as a child) is hard to watch, especially as a mom. There are many great discussion topics in this movie including –

Treating others as you would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12)

Loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39)

Everyone is made precious in God’s site and no one is a mistake (Psalm 139:13-18)

God loves us, cares for us, and knows all about us (Matthew 10:30)

The heart is what is important  (1 Samuel 16:7)

When I asked my oldest daughter what most impacted her in the movie, she said “to just be yourself.” That is true – Brad was himself and people slowly began to see that he was a kind, caring, and generous person who happened to be born with a disorder.  While this is not at all a faith-based film, it is clear to see that the Lord used Brad’s difficulties with Tourette Syndrome to make a difference in the lives of others who struggled with other health-related issues.

This movie is based on a true story, and I would highly recommend this film, which contains nothing objectionable, for tweens and older (those younger than eight or nine may not understand the plot line).  For more information about Tourette Syndrome, please see the Tourette Syndrome Association website.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Be yourself