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Patricia M. from HAGERSTOWN, MD Reviewed on 9/23/2009...
Shows the power of loneliness, of forgiveness, and of love. Very good movie. I had rented it previously and HAD to own it.
Random Acts of Kindness: A Little Christmas Story
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"MIDNIGHT CLEAR is an easily overlooked film: the cover of the DVD is bleak, the description of the story sounds a bit corny, and the promotion of the film has been scant. But what is not expected for those viewers able to overcome the above negative aspects is a well-made little series of interlocking vignettes that poignantly address the impact of random acts of kindness in a world grown calloused. It is touching in the best sense of the word and well worth watching even beyond the Christmas season.
The unnamed town gradually opens windows to some fairly sad people: an elderly woman Eva (K Callan) talks with her doctor on the telephone about her meds and we note that she may be facing the thought of suicide in her desolate life; a sweet woman Mary (Mary Thornton) and her young son Jacob (Dominic Scott Kay) visit their brain damaged husband/father in a rest home (the man was critically injured in an auto accident one year ago); a lonely many Kirk (Kirk B.R. Woller) stands in his isolated convenience store without patrons; a longtime drunk and lonely ex-husband Lefty (Stephen Baldwin) is fired from his menial job, despite a recent promotion, because of his consistent tardiness; Mitch (Mitchell Jarvis) works with kids for a church to assuage his guilt for having survived the auto accident that devastated Mar's husband's life, reluctantly agreeing to his pastor (Richard Fancy) to take his youth group caroling to the shut-ins on Christmas Eve.
Each of these characters influences the others by a seeming random act of kindness: Kirk helps Mary and Jacob with their broken car, Eva is given a meals on wheels by a church lady (Victoria Jackson), Mitch and his carolers provide some needed money by means of a token gift that will allow Lefty and Eva to attend Christmas Eve Service, and Eva's 'meals on wheels' ends up providing midnight food for Kirk and Mary and Jacob. Writer Wes Halula and director Dallas Jenkins carve a story that, though at times suggests it may become cloying, is genuinely touching. The cast, especially Baldwin and Callan, is excellent, and each of the characters is well developed, leaving the viewer with a sense of a morality tale we sorely need. Instead of a big booming Hollywood finish, the film simply tapers off with suggestions of the importance of selfless acts that can make a difference. It is well worth watching, especially now, and especially during the Christmas season. Grady Harp, December 07 "
"Midnight Clear is truly a bleak Christmas that parrellels what is happening in today's society
A recently homeless and jobless loser named lefty, an ill senior citizen estranged from her family, a mother of one son dealing with her husband's brain damage from an accident, a gas station owner stuck in a job and location he hates, and a youth pastor feeling irrelevant face depression and loneliness on Christmas Eve. As they cross paths and experience random and minor acts of kindness, their lives are changed forever
This film, based on a story by Jerry (Left Behind books) Jenkins is not a happy Disney-like motion picture. So if you want that, this film isnt for you. I know this is a small film. The DVD has heart and pulls on your heartstrings, but it is bleak and very depressing for a Christmas movie
However this is a great showcase for actor Stephen Baldwin. His character range goes from simple depression to rage to fear.
The ending of this DVD is weak at best, because there is little resolved at the end of this film. I felt empty with little cinematic payoff
Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
Best Christmas movie in years!!!
David Rosengreen | Ararat, Vic Australia | 12/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"By far the best Christmas movie I have seen in years and one of the best movies I have seen in a long time! I wish they made more movies like this!
Simply told, and beautifully understated. A wonderfully told tale about five strangers whose paths cross one Christmas Eve and impact one another's lives in sometimes simple, yet rather astounding ways.
Not your usual Hollywood-type Christmas film where everyone is smiling and a happy ending can be found around every corner. No, this film is about real people, with real problems, in the real world, where things don't always necessarily end happily ever after. And, during the course of the film, we're never quite sure just what the outcome is going to be.
Honest, sincere, real, totally believeable. I could readily and easily identify with each and every character. The performances are top-notch and are played to perfection. Every performance comes across as being completely genuine.
I love the look and feel to this movie. Visually stunning, it's hard to believe this was shot on such a low budget and in something like only 18 days!
Touching and deeply moving! The movie never feels forced or manipulative. And the ending is just right! (I just loved the character of Mitch). A most rewarding viewing experience indeed! My praise and highest compliments to all involved.
I highly recommend this movie and will be looking forward to the next feature to come from Jenkins Entertainment!
NoWireHangers | Sweden | 04/21/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Midnight Clear" was directed by Dallas Jenkins, son of Jerry B Jenkins, who also produced and wrote the story the film is based on. I'm not a fan of Jenkins Sr and expected a rather preachy Christian film. I was wrong, almost.
Stephen Baldwin gives a suprisingly good performance as divorced, unemployed and homless Lefty, and K Callan is even better as the lonely widow Eve. The rest of the cast is a mixed bunch. The story is about loneliness and kindness and some scenes are very good, others weaker. The ending, while optimistic, is especially weak. It didn't feel true to the rest of the movie and this keeps me from giving it a higher rating. Not all problems are solved by going to church.
Overall, this is a pretty good movie, certainly much better than I expected. It's a rare example of a Christian themed movie that is not preachy and can be enjoyed by both Christian and non-Christians."