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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

One watch is all it takes for "One Christmas".

Author: happipuppi13 from Phx. Arizona ("Arizona Smells Funny"!- Homer Simpson)
10 May 2005

I'm not sure how some others arrived at a negative conclusion after seeing this movie. I checked it out from the library,having found out it was the last thing Hepburn ever did on film. Hepburn is basically by this time playing herself (and except for her most extreme movie roles) I think she always had to some extent.

Her charm in the movie is simple and easy. Hers is really not the main role in the movie,that would be Buddy and his father. (Played by my favorite actor Henry Winkler.) While his character is obviously not aware that his best efforts in being Buddy's dad are only hurting him more,he is really just a man trying to re-connect with his boy.

Buddy is not a brat but a child filled with hurt and confusion. (With a dad like he has,that is crooked and an embarrassment before the town it's no wonder! ...but all becomes rectified by the end I wont say how). It is after all,a holiday film. One watch is all it took to make me want to see it Christmas.

(Interesting to note: Kate's first movie "A Bill Of Divorcement" & last movie "One Christmas" both take place at Christmas.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Truman Capote

Author: waverly94 from United States
1 March 2006

One Christmas was an autobiographical short story written by Truman Capote. Buddy, in the story, is Capote. Capote's father was actually a scam artist who spent time in prison. This story along with "A Christmas Memory" and "The Thanksgiving Visitor" make a wonderful trilogy. This movie doesn't do justice to Capote's beautiful, bittersweet prose, but might be worth seeing if you are a big fan of Capote (like I am) or of Katherine Hepburn, as this was one of her last appearances. Also, the wonderful Julie Harris plays Sook, who is the heart and soul of the movie (and the stories mentioned above.) However, if you are looking for a "happy, happy, joy, joy" Christmas movie - you should probably skip this one.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

X-mas story without cliches

Author: CatRodriguez ( from Mexico City, Mexico
5 January 2000

I mostly hate x-mas season on TV, 'cause there are thousands of ridiculous movies about it. However, this is an exception: it's intelligently made, with good performances (Katharine Hepburn, want more?) and, although it handles feelings and sensibility (just like a Christmas story), it gets away from common places and cliches. Don't miss it next x-mas!

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Not Too Many Interesting Moments

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
23 November 2012

One Christmas (1994)

** (out of 4)

Made-for-TV adaptation of Truman Capote's short story about an 8-year-old boy (T.J. Lowther) who goes to New Orleans to stay with his estranged father (Henry Winkler). Soon the boy starts to realize that his dad is a con man and his ideas of what life is all about are changed. I'm not familiar with the short story that this here is based on so I really can't comment on how good or bad it is but it certainly didn't make for a very good movie. The movie really made me think of a story that might have had a major impact on Capote as a child but it's just important to him and there's nothing really in the story that is going to connect with everyone. From what I've read, the boy in this film is based on Capote's own experiences and I can see how this story might have played a major role in his life but to me there just wasn't much going on here. I found the various situations to be rather boring and never thought they really added up to much. We've basically got a child whose been told lies all his life and now he's having to face the truth and it's something he doesn't like. The con man father isn't much better because it's simply a role we've seen too many times before and nothing new is done with it here. There are a few good moments in the film including the ending but there's not enough to keep it entertaining throughout. I thought the performances were quite good with both Winkler and Lowther doing nice work and having a strong chemistry together. The one thing this film will be remembered for is featuring the final performance of screen legend Katharine Hepburn. She's not given too much to do but she gets a couple good scenes and it's certainly great seeing her. Those wishing to see Hepburn in her final role are going to be about the only ones who will want to sit through this as overall the film just never really adds up to much.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Truman's Christmas With Dad

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
30 January 2009

Some of Truman Capote's childhood memories are the basis for One Christmas in which a film legend took her final curtain call.

Young T.J. Lowther all of 10 years old has been living in the custody of his aunt Julie Harris in rural Alabama. Harris is a kind and loving, but way too overprotective of the lad.

But one holiday season during the Great Depression the boy gets a chance to spend some time with his father Henry Winkler. Winkler is a self described promoter and entrepreneur, but is actually just a conman who lives high on the hog on other people's money. That's a profession that had even less respectability during the Depression. He's busy trying to promote an air race, and not an honest one.

The boy's very naiveté has an effect on Winkler and all around him, including the women and its women he usually is trying to fleece. He goes after them young and old with the vigor and zest of Zero Mostel as Max Bialystock from The Producers. One of them is Swoosie Kurtz who falls for Winkler and even her formidable dowager aunt Katharine Hepburn is affected by him.

Winkler and Kurtz are the stars, but as befitting a film legend, first billing goes to Katharine Hepburn. We barely see any of Hepburn in the first 2/3 of the movie. It's only in the last third when she nearly runs a runaway Lowther down and brings him to her home to explain some of the facts of life to him. No, not those facts of life. Poor Kate was really showing the tremors of Parkinson's Disease, but trooper that she was made it through the film. It was a nice farewell performance.

I wonder what memories young Mr. Lowther now approaching 30 has of working with two acting legends, Katharine Hepburn and Julie Harris. One Christmas isn't all warm and fuzzy like Miracle On 34th Street or A Wonderful Life. Still it's a more realistic type of coming of age at Christmas story in which the whole cast acquits themselves well.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Only for Hepburn Fans

Author: Alexander Chamberlain from United States
16 March 2010

The only reason I give this 6 stars is because of Katharine Hepburn. This just happened to be her final film role and I still can't figure out why she'd choose this as an end to her glorious career. She is the only reason I saw this movie and after viewing it, I can't say there was anything I enjoyed about this film other than her presence, even though her scenes took up less than 10 minutes of screen time. She is visibly frail in this movie, with her head shaking so severely, I though it was going to fall off any second. There were some good performances by Swoosie Kurtz and Henry Winkler but everything else about this movie "stinks". I just didn't connect with any of the characters due to their underdevelopment and the movie doesn't feel like it takes place in the 1930's, but then again I suppose the budget of this TV movie wouldn't allow that. Like I said before, I'd only recommend this to Hepburn fans, but anyone else shouldn't bother.

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Definately inspiring and cute!

Author: Sarah ( from Michigan
21 August 2003

This is such a cute film! It's a great Christmas movie and really cheer you up! I was surprised at Winkler's performance actually! I also was surprised that Hepburn only had 3 or 4 scenes, what she did have was adorable! She was practically just playing herself! Great, cute, family film!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Truman Capote's Story

Author: Esmollin from New Jersey
3 September 2013

Truman Capote's story rises above some mediocre acting. I love his writing so I watched this. I didn't enjoy it as much as his Thanksgiving story, but it had its moments.

I felt Winkler was badly cast. He seems like a New Yorker among Southerners, not sure if this was on purpose. Katherine Hepburn is fine despite her failing health.

The boy was not a brat, as some reviewers have said. He is a troubled boy who Misses his mother and wants to know where she is. Sadly, his father does not tell him the truth, and this causes him to wish to be back with his aunt.

Julie Harris is wonderful as his aunt.

All in all, it's worth watching if you can overlook some of the performances.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Kate's last

Author: jjnxn-1 from United States
13 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Minor reverie based on Truman Capote's short story about a trip he made as a youngster to meet the father who to that point was a stranger to him. What he finds is hardly the stuff of fairy tales. His father is a shyster living a flashy front but hollow beneath. On top of that he's a selfish, thoughtless, sometimes cruel man who has no idea how to relate to his lost needy little boy.

The biggest deficit the film has is Henry Winkler in the lead. He's just not believable as a film-flam man who has the women of the town falling at his feet and pushing money in his pockets. He doesn't give a bad performance but he doesn't fit the part in the least. Then there's T.J. Lowther who plays the young protagonist, he has big mournful eyes and a quiet manner but he doesn't register enough on screen to keep the viewer interested in his plight.

Fortunately the cast does include Swoosie Kurtz who makes anything she's in better as she does here and in a small role Julie Harris who does a great deal with her few minutes on screen. She's actually more memorable in her tiny bit that either father or son throughout the entire movie. The film has a lovely spic and span look, too clean to actually be real places but nice to look at nonetheless.

This Hallmark holiday special marks the end of Katharine Hepburn's career. Playing Swoosie's rich aunt she is required to do little more than to grumble and grouse until loosening up a bit towards the end. By this time her palsy was severe enough to be ever present and impeded any real characterization but her star power is still there no matter how frail she is. It's certainly a more dignified exit from the stage than many of her contemporaries were able to manage.

A respectable rendering of Capote's story, nothing magical but worth catching once to see a legend take her final bow.

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Papa was a rolling slime.

Author: mark.waltz from United States
22 December 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Little motivation guides this tale of father and son being reunited and the conflicting in their relationship. Henry Winkler gets the award for Daddy Dearest, the most selfish, the most opportunistic and perhaps the biggest sleaze-ball in all of 1930's New Orleans. Sent away from his beloved cousin (the much older Julie Harris in a minute long cameo), he is reunited with his big jerk of a father who manipulates wealthy older women into marriage, treats them like dirt under his fingernails. Shocked by seeing his father for who he is, he still tries to keep the hope alive that his parents will get back together. Desperately trying to get in the good graces of New Orleans matriarch Katharine Hepburn so he can bilk her niece Swoosie Kurtz out of her fortune, even using his son as sympathy bait.

A seemingly rushed screenplay is the weak link between this and Truman Capote's short story, a follow-up to "A Christmas Memory". Hepburn really has nothing juicy to do other than be imperious, and of course later soften for no apparent reason. Kurtz is excellent but it is virtually impossible to like Winkler for any reason. Hepburn made three films released in 1994 and this one turned out to be her last film after a 60+ year career.

The most touching relationship here is between the two young boys, one white and one black. I can't really find anything to recommend in this film because there's a lack of believable motivation and the Christmas theme is actually angry in tone. Stick with Capote's other short stories. This one is depressing without a cure.

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