It seems that a lot of holiday movies want to force that sentiment that should come with honesty of the story and NOT the acting. A lot of times what we get is a movie that has very polarized characters. Bad guy is over there...he should twirl his mustache.
There are just too many unearned sobbing in this film. I think I follow William Goldman's sensibility when his idea of courage is looking at the face of destruction, knowing you have no way of living thru adversity, but still stepping into rank and file. I think there were just too many moments where the characters want us to feel a certain way...and push that button. HARD.
The story revolves around Martha McCarthy (played by Sean Young). She's very plain and simple. Living a log cabin life while surviving on part time work in an antique store. After the death of her sister, four children are dropped into her lap. And now it's a fight with the bank to decide their fates. She wants to keep them. Foster care wants to take them as she is considered unacceptable applicant. Even though she is the only family the children have.
I made a similar film like this in film school. It was an incredibly tight rope you float when you add children to the mix. Easy to exploit the emotions, since any child left alone already draws feelings. Martha's character needs to grow up fast. And part of this is learning from adversity Which she is given in spades. She is fighting so many fires, it's hard to determine which one will re-ignite later in her life. What is surprising is, at a certain point in the movie, she becomes resigned to this lot in life and does some really creative work to fight the powers that be.
One curious thought that came to mind...the town is small. Everyone knows each other. Everyone helps each other. Everyone seems to be related in some way. Is it really realistic to believe that some powers that be would not have faith in her? They do a really good job arguing this point.
I say, as an inspirational flick...it is worth the time. I like small-town movies. And Sean Young does a really serviceable job. She seems to have dropped her really bizarre persona that she was notorious for for a very neat acting job. She IS a small town girl, and you feel every minute she's lived in that town.
Would I recommend? On a slow night, it's a nice feel-good lazy watch.