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More Than Money - Christmas Jars (The Movie)

 Christmas Jars (2019, PG) 

This movie is tailor-made for the contemporary idea of Christmas with a focus on kindness and giving. It is not meant to be a traditional faith-based film, though there is an acknowledgement of prayer and faith. It could be described as a movie in the tradition of the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is based on the 2005 novel by Jason Wright. Wright also co-wrote the screenplay. Over the last decade in the USA, the Christmas Jar concept has taken on a life of its own. The idea is that throughout the year, you put your change, (or notes) into a large glass jar and then at Christmas time provide to a person in need (usually anonymously).  

While the jars contain money, that is interestingly not the focus. The story follows Hope Jensen, a young reporter working at an online website, who receives a Christmas Jar following a difficult time. After learning about other people receiving these jars, she makes it her mission to find out how it all began.

Christmas Jars is a combination of a Dickens-type story, with the usual emphasis on coincidence and a Hallmark Christmas card. The publicity itself highlights the cute, warm context and the encouragement one can receive from a message of hope.

While it certainly is a little twee in parts, there are some excellent scenes where the real issues come to the fore and the strength of the acting is often shown. The movie also considers in a helpful way the ethics of undercover journalism, illustrating the power of forgiveness. If you want an alternate to the dark side of much film and TV today, Christmas Jars is for you. For screenings see the website.

Peter Bentley