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  • This is a beautiful story of an unlikely friendship between two young men, who would have never been friends if not for a great dad. One is white and one black, a highly unusual friendship for the time. It depicts the hardships of blacks and the poor rural whites of that time.

    There is a scene where because they are so poor, the dad(Billy Ray Cyrus) gives everyone pictures instead of real gifts for Christmas, because that's all he could afford. I cried watching it. It was so sweet.

    The movie gets into some touchy areas, like the black struggle to vote back in those times. And the attitudes that went along with that struggle.

    This is a really touching, beautifully made movie. I do highly recommend to all.
  • I was so privileged to be invited to attend an advanced screening of this film and absolutely loved it! It's such a breath of fresh air to know that quality content like this is going to be on TV.

    Billy Ray was absolutely wonderful as the dad, and the kids all did a great job as well, I thought.

    For those of you that haven't read it, I also recommend checking out the book after you watch the movie this weekend :) It's a very easy read, extremely touching and has a great message.

    I recommend this movie to everyone...young and old...I think we can all learn something from it!
  • brohdaw23 December 2009
    First, I agree with jlynrobertson's comment about compassion being on the TV; it's refreshing to know there are still TV shows out there that we can value with our children and loved son (12 yrs. old) watch the movie with me and he had tons of 'why' and 'how' questions and I was so glad that he realized there was a true meaning behind this movie...and hope there are enough shows like this to last him a lifetime that he can learn from - as opposed to being in such a hurry and snubbing people off like we see so often in real life and the violence we even see even in cartoons now.

    Second, I agree with claudiapatx's comment that the part about the pictures from a catalog as Christmas gifts - made me cry too! (and wouldn't you know, that's when my sister calls on the phone LOL Excellent, excellent movie!!!
  • Leery of TV Christmas movies, I watched this one on the Hallmark Channel recently (December, 2010) with my finger on the channel changer.

    But I'm glad I didn't leave.

    First, it is a wonderful story, just what we need to remind us that, despite politicians, such as George W. Bush and Barack Obama, playing such hob with the economy, tough times don't last and tough people do.

    "Canaan" is also another reminder that a movie can be good even with a cast of -- at least to me at this viewing -- unrecognizable actors.

    Every player, even the youngest, was thoroughly believable.

    The script avoided clichés or, if seeming clichés were unavoidable, used them to creatively further the story.

    Sure, it might make any good-hearted person cry, but there is nothing wrong with that, especially around Christmas time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I must admit I was not expecting much from this film. I had seen Billy Ray Cyrus' acting in Hanna Montana an didn't think too much of it, well at least in the couple of episodes I saw of the show. So I was pleasantly surprised to see him give a good performance here. I was surprised that I actually go into this movie and was moved by it. The story of racism was not overplayed though it did make up a good part of the story. I'm also glad they didn't show the black kids grandmother as some sniveling scared black person that is often seen in movies about race.

    I will definitely make this one of the Christmas movies I'll watch again.

  • bobbadger-119 December 2009
    I saw what I considered to be a few inconsistencies in the movie. However, even though I grew up in a small town in Texas, it wasn't close Canaan because Taylor (the other town mentioned in the movie) is close to four hundred miles from my hometown. And I didn't grow up in rural Texas in the sixties. It was the fifties. So that probably explains the few scenes that I considered had strayed from historical and social accuracy because I was busy being a teenager in the sixties and wasn't paying close attention to society or history.

    Those perceived anomalies notwithstanding, I was awed by the performance of Emily Tennant as Sarah/Sissy. Even though she played the character of a teenage girl quite convincingly, some of her more dramatic scenes perfectly depicted a young woman much older and more mature than her years. Her body language and facial expressions, especially during the scene on the porch with the father after Rodney's mother had come to claim him, made me think that she was, in fact, the "momma" of the family instead of merely being the eldest child. There was no doubt that she intended to protect all her family from any harm she could possibly thwart. During the film, the character nurtured every other character in the family, and Emily's portrayal was magnificently and convincingly accomplished.

    The writer, all the actors, the director and crew deserve accolades for a wonderful story.
  • I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and its upbeat themes. Quite a bit of the Civil Rights struggle was unpleasant and this film doesn't skip over that. However, the main theme is that through a bit of wisdom and goodwill, we can all change for the better. All the characters in this movie display a dark side to their character but in the end their good sides prevail. The only exceptions to this are Billy Ray Cyrus' character who is a little too "Atticus Finch" and the unrepentant redneck bigot who tries to burn down the meeting tent and ends up running over Little Bobby.

    If there is one flaw to this movie it's that it was made on the Canadian West Coast instead of Texas. The first tip-off that this is a made-in-Canada movie is the truck that the Burtons tool around in. It looks like a Dodge but it's a 50s Fargo, a badge-engineered Dodge sold only in Canada, never in Texas. Also, the Canadian West Coast doesn't look anything like the dryland farms on the Oklahoma border. If Hallmark didn't have the budget to make this in the US, they should have made the movie in Southern Alberta, most of which looks like the Texas dry lands. Also, Southern Alberta has enough bigots and rednecks that casting that part would be a snap.

    If you ignore the defects and enjoy Billy Ray Cyrus' music, this is a feelgood that actually makes you feel good.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Billy Ray Cyrus can Act!

    I was hesitant to watch a movie carried by Billy Ray Cyrus, but within minutes I was watching Daniel Burton and was submersed into this film.

    The concern for his young son DJ's biggotry and the parenting skills he utilized to overcome his son's views were genius.

    The rest of the cast was great, the two young boy's had excellent chemistry, the hatred turned friendship was very believable! I really enjoyed the scene when Rodney tricked DJ into thinking he had consumed Skunk Stew - DJ's reaction to the news and subsequent sprint to the balcony had me laughing for minutes.

    The grown up version of the boys was well cast,the friendship blossomed to include Rodney as(family) which was very moving.

    Watching a period piece is often overlooked as it lacks the high tech distractions offered in today's films, but Christmas in Canaan delivered thought provoking content and was a surprise holiday hit for me! I even ordered the DVD from amazon! ENJOY
  • The vast majority of Christmas theme movies made each year have single season plots. They can be comedy romances, dramas or other mixed genres but they take place around a single Christmas season. The most common among these are the romances that just happen around Christmas. And most such movies are just fair at best.

    "Christmas in Canaan" is an exception to all of the above. It takes place over several years. It's not a comedy romance. It's about family, friendship, caring, teaching, learning, and struggling together. The movie opens in 1964 in Texas farm country where most of the story takes place. It ends there around Christmas of 1975.

    The plot addresses racial bigotry that still existed in much of the country after the Civil Rights Movement. It's a look at broken families and how they survive. The movie is based on a book by Country Western singer Kenny Rogers. This is a very good film for the whole family.