Softly Spoken Gift of Family, Self Sacrifice and Love
Beautiful holiday tale of a Marine family, struggling as any typical family does to get along with each other let alone the world at large. Just about everybody in the cast is an unknown or at least with only a few movies (or TV shows) under their belt, including the director, Sheri Le Mon. The only easily recognizable character is "George", their grumpy next door neighbor, who happens to be Sherman Hemsley (aka George) of The Jefferson's fame.
None the less, everybody does a great job of not "over acting" (less is more), and brings a strong story of family realizing there are more important things than themselves, no matter their age, whether immediate or extended, in their lives.
I laughed often at how accurately the internal family squabbles were played, especially between the crooked halo of the youngest daughter and the older two children (the scene with the kids working on the neighbors flower bed was perfect).
Bridgette Potts (playing Grace Harrington) did a wonderful job as the teenage daughter, caught up in all the "normal" teenage dramas (actually, at their worse the kids were pretty well behaved), yet coming around when a family member, who couldn't fend for himself, needed help. Grace and her friends hard work brings everybody together and touches the hearts of all around them. A lot of detail was given to the human interactions and I felt they were all believable.
And then there is Semper (as in Semper Fi), their lovable golden retriever (who doesn't seem to have his name in the cast of characters in IMDb what's up with that?!), who brings family and friends together perfectly playing his part as a dog!
Being a Marine myself and a lifelong dog lover, this gentle story of how animals can tie family, friends and community together, is a beautiful, gently stated holiday special which looks at the world through unfettered eyes and is suitable for any family member.
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