A Christmas Gift from Bob is the sequel to 2016’s A Street Cat Named Bob. This movie told the true story of James Bowen (Luke Treadaway), a homeless busker living rough on the streets of London, and his loyal friend and companion, a stray ginger cat called Bob (played by Bob!).
In this Christmas special, James Bowen comes across a busker who’s being bullied by some council workers. Suspecting that the busker might be sleeping rough and could do with a hot meal and a friendly face, James convinces him to share a meal in a local café. Although the busker is initially suspicious of James’s motives, he stays to hear the story of how James and Bob survived last year’s Christmas.
James describes how a series of unfortunate events led to Bob almost being removed from his care by animal services. The movie jumps back in time and shows how precarious life can be when you’re living in social housing and dealing with past traumas.
Community spirit; Christmas; karma; drugs and addiction; mental illness; poverty and homelessness; animal welfare
A Christmas Gift from Bob has some violence. For example:
- A busker is held down on the ground against his will in a threatening and violent manner.
- A dog attacks Bob on the street.
- A drug dealer tries to sell James drugs on the street. When James refuses, the dealer tries to steal his bag and ends up pushing James to the ground and smashing his guitar.
A Christmas Gift from Bob has some mild romantic references, including when James gets a quick kiss on the lips from a woman that he likes.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
A Christmas Gift from Bob shows some use of substances. For example:
- Adults drink beer in the pub.
- James discusses his past drug addiction.
Nudity and sexual activity
A Christmas Gift from Bob has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
A Christmas Gift from Bob is a heart-warming and gentle story that touches on important themes not often seen in Christmas movies, including drug addiction, mental illness and poverty. These themes are all handled with great sensitivity and compassion.
Although the movie isn’t particularly scary, it’s better suited to older children and teenagers. They’re likely to appreciate the messages of hope and community spirit and the strong bond that James has with his pet cat Bob.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- Life for some people can be precarious and insecure.
- Compassion and community spirit are at the heart of Christmas.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- kindness and compassion for those in insecure life situations
- the resilience to overcome trauma and make the best life you can
- the courage to stand up to bullies
- the strong bond between humans and pet animals.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life questions like these:
- What are the factors that can lead to people living in hardship, insecurity and poverty?
- How are drug addiction, mental illness and broken families connected?
- What is the meaning of Christmas and the holiday season for you and your family?
- How do we feel when our pets become sick or even die?