Story

According to legend, many years ago in the downtrodden village of Gladbury, a humble candlemaker prayed for a miracle to improve the lives of all of the villagers. Because the candlemaker wasn’t praying for himself, an angel appeared and touched one of his candles until it glowed brightly. From that day on, life in Gladbury greatly improved and the villagers were happy. Every 25 years since then, the angel has appeared on Christmas Eve and touched a candle, making a miracle for the person who lit it.

When a new young minister arrives in Gladbury, he declares the belief in miracles to be highly superstitious. Having lost his wife and daughter to tuberculosis, the Reverend David Richmond (Hans Matheson) believes that miracles only happen through the good works of men. He brings the villagers together and encourages them to do good deeds for their neighbours. It is also the dawn of the age of electricity, so David sees this as the future for Gladbury and wants to do away with all the candles.

The Gladbury Angel, however, has different ideas.

Themes

Fantasy and superstition; death of family members

Violence

The Christmas Candle has some violence and accidental harm. For example:

  • Ruth (Victoria Bewick), a young pregnant girl, is thrown out of her home and onto the streets.
  • Edward Haddington (Sylvester McCoy) slips over on his glasses and knocks the rack of candles over on top of himself.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, The Christmas Candle has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example, fairies appear in a room as glowing lights, and an angel is seen touching a candle. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, The Christmas Candle has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Reverend Richmond installs electric lights in the church. When he switches them on, they explode, scaring the people and starting a fire in the church. This also causes old Mr Hopewell (James Cosmo), who has heart problems, to have a heart attack and die.
  • A young boy called Charlie (Jude Wright) has been unable to speak since both of his parents died.
  • William Barstow (John Hannah) gets tuberculosis and he looks very sick in bed. He gets close to dying.
  • Reverend Richmond and Emily Barstow (Samantha Barks) ride a horse and carriage through a storm. The horse rears up and a tree blows down, blocking their path. They have to use a candle to reach Ruth, who is about to have her baby. 

From 8-13

Nothing of concern 

Over 13

Nothing of concern 

Sexual references

Ruth is a single mother, which makes her an outcast in the 19th century. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Christmas Candle is a family movie about the magic of Christmas. It’s a very gentle movie, but there are some tense moments that will need parental guidance for young children. The movie emphasises the Christian belief in Christmas as a religious event.

The main messages from this movie are that faith and good works are not mutually exclusive and that miracles can happen if you believe strongly enough.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include faith, belief in miracles, helping your neighbour, kindness, generosity and selflessness.