Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is about Jeronicus Jangles (Forest Whitaker, with Justin Cornwell as young Jeronicus), a brilliant inventor of imaginative toys. He owns the magical and beautiful toyshop, Jangles and Things.
Things take a downward turn for Jeronicus when his apprentice Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key) steals his book of inventions, as well as his most prized new toy, the animated talking matador doll, Don Juan Diego (voice of Ricky Martin). Gustafson sets up his own toy empire with these stolen ideas, and Jeronicus is deeply hurt by his apprentice’s betrayal. Slowly, Jangles and Things sinks into financial ruin. When Jeronicus’s wife, Joanne (Sharon Rose), dies and his daughter, Jessica (Annika Noni Rose), grows distant and leaves him, Jeronicus is a sad man whose once magical toyshop is now a run-down pawn shop.
Just when things are at their worst, Jeronicus is surprised by the arrival of his young granddaughter, Journey (Madalen Mills), whom he has never met before. Disarmed by her infectious, unconditional love for him, as well as by her intelligence, Jeronicus begins to see things more positively. Journey shares her grandfather’s passion for inventing. She’s not only brilliant, but she also has the innocent imagination and belief of a child. Journey’s belief in magic and the impossible breathes new life into the discarded inventions in Jeronicus’s workshop.
Gustafson, on the other hand, is quickly running out of stolen inventions and has his sights set on stealing whatever he can from Jeronicus. Journey and Jeronicus must rescue their latest invention from Gustafson and bring it to life in time for Christmas.
Christmas; musical; inventions and engineering; fantasy; magic; death of a parent; father, daughter and granddaughter relationships; breaking moulds; accepting difference
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey has some violence. For example:
- The moving doll, Don Juan Diego, has a habit of slapping Gustafson in the face. He also shouts, ‘Kick their shins, pull their hair, twist their arms’, when they discover children in the shop.
- During a snowball fight, people throw snowballs at each other and are hit in the head and face. Jeronicus hits a policeman right in the face. But everyone is having fun.
- Gustafson grabs Journey’s arm roughly. She pulls herself free and runs away.
- Gustafson breaks into Jangles and Things. Later we see that he has tied the young assistant, Edison, to some furniture with a rope.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey has some sexual references. For example:
- Mrs Johnston, the local postwoman, is very attracted to Jeronicus and flirts with him outrageously. She does things like dangle mistletoe above their heads and hold his fingers longingly.
- Don Juan Diego admires himself in the mirror, looking at his backside and talking about his ‘bumpies’.
- Edison seems to have a crush on Journey.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey shows some use of substances. For example, Gustafson appears to drink alcohol from a wine glass.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some mild name-calling and coarse language in Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, including ‘imbecile’ and ‘bumpies’ (bottom cheeks).
Ideas to discuss with your children
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a fun twist on the usual holiday movie genre. Although it lacks some coherent plotlines, it makes up for this with great musical numbers, fantastic costumes and some lovely positive messages about family, forgiveness and the magical powers of belief and imagination. Journey, a 10-year-old with a passion for inventing, is a wonderful positive role model, whose twinkling brightness and spark is delightful.
Although young children will enjoy the music and dancing in this movie (even if they get a bit lost in the story), you should be aware that there are some scenes that they might find mildly scary.
These are the main messages from Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey:
- You should embrace being different even when this feels difficult.
- Imagination and belief are just as important as facts and calculations.
- It’s never too late for forgiveness and redemption.
This movie has many positive values that you could reinforce with your children:
- It’s OK to be smart, intelligent and different.
- Unconditional love has an amazing power to heal.
- Time and patience can heal old wounds, and forgiveness is possible.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life question like what happens when we drive away the people we love the most. Is it important to try to heal old wounds?