Movie Monday – A Song for the Season – 11/12/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Today’s Movie Monday movie suggestion is A Song for the Season * (released by Feature Films for Families).
Fern has recently lost her parents and is living with her uncle Cal, who travels around the United States looking for ways to cut school budgets and save schools from closure.  Fern despises the constant traveling to new towns so her uncle can fulfill his job requirements. So when Cal accepts a job in the small town of Bethlehem, Kentucky where her WWII veteran grandfather lives, Fern is none too thrilled.

Lily Waite gave up her career as a professional musician years ago to care for her mother in the tiny town of Bethlehem, Kentucky. Now Lily is a beloved music teacher at Bethlehem High School.  She has changed lives for the better through a love of music and is thrilled to embark on yet another Christmas production. What will happen when she discovers the school is looking for ways to streamline its budget and that some programs will have to be cut? Will her music program be among the programs deemed “unessential” so that the school can continue to stay open? Throw in the complicating issue that she is drawn to Cal and enjoys spending time with him and that Lily has taken Fern under her wing and the plot thickens.

A Song for the Season is an enjoyable watch with themes of sacrifice, forgiveness, and finding hope after a loss. It is a story of priorities, investing our time in the lives of those struggling, and using the gifts and talents God has given us.

While A Song for the Season is not a Christian movie, it was great to see Christmas songs performed in the school. It was also refreshing to see veterans, such as Cal’s dad Jake, honored for their service to our country.

A Song for the Season features Gerald McRaney, Naomi Judd, and Andy Griffith among its cast. The version I watched, released by Feature Films for Families, contained nothing objectionable (however, there was a strange song at the Christmas dance). I would recommend this movie for those ages 9 and over.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see

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

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 – Jacob’s Harvest – 1/23/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Family Movie Night Movie Suggestion is Jacob’s Harvest (Feature Films for Families).

This movie begins several years prior when Daniel Hansen’s older brother, Jacob,  leaves on his wedding day, deserting his fiance, Maddy, and his family. Jacob isn’t seen again until he arrives, seemingly out of nowhere, twenty years later for a visit.  A lot of things have happened in those twenty years. Daniel and Maddy married, started a family, and together (with Daniel and Jacob’s father, James) run the family dairy farm.

Life hasn’t been easy for Daniel and his family recently. They are losing milk cows to an unknown cause. Their 17-year-old son is rebelling. A money shortage has required Maddy to secure a job as a waitress in their small Wisconsin town. When Jacob arrives, he only adds to Daniel’s stress.

This is a modern story of a prodigal son, similar to the Biblical “prodigal son” parable found in Luke 15. It is an excellent movie with many discussion points.  Some of those discussion topics include: family values, keeping one’s word, family loyalty, work ethic, rebellion, importance of marriage vows, envy, helping others in their time of need, and working out differences with those we love.

Jacob’s Harvest is a touching movie of one family’s fight for what’s important. It is realistically done with convincing actors. This movie contains nothing objectionable.  I would highly recommend for all ages, although very young children might be frightened by a few scenes.

I have a listing of numerous family movie night suggestions here:

Also, if you have missed any of the Movie Monday Movie Reviews, they are archived under the listing referenced above.

Movie Monday – Beautiful Dreamer – 10-10-11

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Movie Monday choice is Beautiful Dreamer (Feature Films for Families):

Have you ever just felt like watching a heartwarming and endearing love story? That’s what Beautiful Dreamer is…it’s a touching story of how love can overcome a multitude of obstacles.

Claire’s husband Joe is involved in a plane crash during WWII. Claire is told he is dead and she mourns for who is truly her love of a lifetime (they have known each other since childhood and shared a special bond). She tries to get on with her life, but finds it difficult to forget the man who played such an important role of her life.

A couple years later, Claire is informed that Joe did survive the horrific crash and she goes in search of him. However, when she finds him in another town, she discovers he doesn’t remember her, or any of his life before the crash, for that matter. Does she give up and return home? Or does she pursue him, with the hopes that someday he will remember her and the life they had? Claire chooses the latter.

There are so many things I loved about this movie…first of all, Joe and his flight crew always recite Psalm 91 before flying into battle. It’s clear that faith is an integral part of both Claire and Joe’s lives. Secondly, I love Claire and Joe’s marriage relationship. Thirdly, I loved Claire’s patience, loyalty, and dedication to “bringing her husband back.” She never gives up, although she falters several times.  Lastly, I love how the producers dedicated this movie to a group of soldiers who fought during WWII and give names of those soldiers at the end of the film. May we never forget all of those who have fought and fight daily to protect our freedoms.

This Feature Films for Families tearjerker contains nothing objectionable and is suitable for ages 12 and older due to some scary war sequences and some frightening moments due to Joe’s lack of memory. I would highly recommend it – especially for that special date night with your spouse!

Movie Monday – Pit Pony – 10/3/11

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Once in awhile, you stumble upon a movie that stays with you long after the credits have rolled. I discovered such a movie in Pit Pony (by Feature Films for Families).

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This touching film shows the dedication of young Willie MacLean, who must work in the dangerous mines so that his poverty-stricken family doesn’t succomb to starvation.  Willie excels in school, but he must leave his education behind to support his family, as he is their only hope. Not only that, but Willie also helps to care for his younger siblings. In the midst of this burden, Willie befriends a pony at the mine, which becomes somewhat like a ray of hope to Willie.

This heartwarming movie is one of my all-time favorites and has no objectionable content. However, it is not for the very young due to scary scenes in the mine and the loss of a loved one. It has several wonderful discussion opportunities, including the importance of courage, doing what’s right in the midst of hardship, family loyalty, family unity, responsibility, and treating others with mercy and grace when they least deserve it.  I would highly recommend this movie!

Movie Monday – Friendship’s Field – 9-5-11

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Friendship’s Field (Feature Films for Families)…

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Friendship’s Field takes us back to the 1960s when tomboy Ira’s life changes forever and leaves her with a memory long into adulthood.

Prejudice toward migrant workers is rampant in Ira’s hometown, but her family is different. They see people for who they are, despite cultural differences, color of skin, and social status. During a particular summer in 1965, Ira befriends Oscar, the son of migrant workers. But what happens when some local teenagers take their anger and prejudice out on Oscar’s brother?

However, Friendship’s Field is not all serious. Not by a long shot. There is plenty of humor, including Ira’s decision to pester her three older sisters, whom she refers to as “the poofheads.”

There are plenty of great discussion starters in this movie including:

Everyone is made in the image of God and why it’s important to see people as God sees them,

Loving your neighbor, no matter who that might be, and

Being a leader, rather than a follower, and standing up for what is right.

There is nothing objectionable in this movie. However, there are a couple of scary parts involving a snake and an incident of mild violence, which may scare younger children.

This is one of my favorite movies of all time and I would highly recommend it!

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.