A poor young girl has a burning desire to find comfort and happiness in her life. Desperate to keep warm, the girl lights the matches she sells, and envisions a very different life for herself in the fiery flames.
The match girl warms the hearts of the mighty Duttons
This movie is a gem. It moves along, slowly but surely (not rushed along the way).
The characters are all fleshed out, so you can understand their motivations. Among the other good (and well-cast) actors is William Youmans; he is the consummate kidder (making fun of his very-rich family, their lack-of-compassion, conservative lifestyle, ...). He first befriends the homeless match girl, and brings her home to meet his family. His mom likes her, and invites her to stay for the Christmas holiday; finally mom has someone who likes to sit down with her and have fun.
William Daniels is very good at playing the stern businessman, who has lost his heart; this occurred years before when his elder son Joe (the other one) wanted to marry a poor Catholic girl ... and (GASP) refused to go into the family business. At this, his son was banished from the house (and, the rest of the family didn't communicate with him, out of respect for the heart-less dad).
The story opens as all of the residents of Fennel Street are given 24-hours' notice to vacate their apartments by a corrupted chief-of-police (this eviction notice was served on Christmas Eve).
Joe, the publisher of a small weekly newspaper, cannot believe that his father would have the nerve to illegally evict his innocent tenants on Christmas. He gathers the story, and begins to ready for a special edition, sticking it to his dad for this evil thing. Of the pictures taken on Fennel Street, was one of the match girl warming herself with a match: this is going to be on the front page.
I enjoyed the chemistry between Keisha and Rue; Rue was the perfect "temp" mom for the match girl; they have several touching moments. The author of the screenplay plays Joe's assistant at the paper, and does it pretty well.
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