Thomas Kinkade's Christmas Cottage (2008) Poster

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Pure Schlock
derekph-123 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Like some other reviewers here, I was lured into watching this by Peter O'Toole's participation. But the name in the title - Thomas Kinkade - and the channel I saw it on - Hallmark - say it all. It's pure schlock - trite, hackneyed, predictable, blatantly sentimental, ponderously slow, heavy-handed, and manipulative. If you like Kinkade's paintings, you'll probably love this show. If, like me, you consider Kinkade's paintings trash, you should avoid this program.

I watched the first twenty minutes, and was astounded how bad it was - the mournful voice-over narration telegraphed sadness ahead, the characters and dialogue were clichéd, the story was so blatantly obvious I knew how it would end at once. The script was dreadful, the acting wooden. I fast forwarded, stopping to watch short segments, and it got worse. I watched the ending, just to assure myself I hadn't underestimated the show - alas, it was even worse than I expected, an ending so sappy and morose it was pathetic. O'Toole's performance is really no worse than anyone else's, but I expect a lot of him, so it was really embarrassing to watch him humiliate himself and let his fans down this way.

Don't get me wrong - I like a bit of cheap sentimentality now and then, especially this time of year. I enjoy a good tear-jerker, if it's well done. I like A Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life, and White Christmas, and A Christmas Carol, and especially Bad Santa. I just like it done with a little skill, not cranked out like cotton candy.

BTW, one of my favorite Christmas tear-jerkers is The Christmas Tree (1969), with William Holden and Virna Lisi. They used to run it on TV every Christmas, but I guess it's too old now. If you can find it, and like a good cry, give it a try. I still get teary-eyed when I hear the guitar theme - "Romance" by Narciso Yepes, composed originally for the film "Jeux Interdits."
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A movie like a Kinkade picture
rboon334559 January 2010
This is a movie which is sure to divide people. It is based on the early life of Thomas Kinkade, "the painter of light". It is a story of the sources of his inspiration: his mentor,and how the difficulties faced by his mother provided a motivation through which he began to find himself.Its weakness is that it isn't sure of its own purpose.It is certainly not a biography or a Christmas movie in the ordinary sense and its comedic moments often miss the mark.In many ways it is like a Kinkade picture: a little sugary and sentimental yet with a warmth and humanity that can touch our hopes for a world where we all have a place and where everything comes out alright in the end However,it it isn't grounded in the reality of the world as we know it. The script is very uneven,occasionally very hammy,yet produces some fine moments. Peter o' Toole's performance as Tom's mentor, rapidly approaching dotage and a loss of his powers is a fine one and justifies a viewing.I also enjoyed the background music.Not for anyone who shrinks from sentimentality.
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A sumptuous production worth seeing!
Len987616 November 2008
This film, co-produced by Thomas Kinkade, is as beautiful, natural, and true-to-life as his paintings. Michael Campus, the director provides a breathtaking and memorable reminder of the Christmases of old. This, in addition to the capable writing of Ken LaZebnik, adds to the color of the Christmas story. Jared Padalecki (Thomas Kinkade), who provided a great deal of the emotion and feel of the movie, is a gifted actor. He shows much promise, and it is hoped that a brilliant and long acting career is in his future. Peter O'Toole (Glen Wessler), another gifted and sensitive actor, provides 'the light' for this and many superb performances. Mr. O'Toole is probably best remembered for his award- winning performance in "Lawrence of Arabia". And, it is always good to see Charlotte Rae and Ed Asner, who greatly add to this and many winning performances. Marcia Gay Harden's inner beauty, and outer loveliness, come through in this film. This is a feel-good movie, which does present like a Hallmark Christmas card, but I think that this quality only adds to the presentation. Thomas Kinkade has his own unique style, a brilliance that increasingly illuminates his work. This, along with the spirit of Christmas, makes this film worth seeing. There is empowerment in the story--which, in my opinion, makes this movie deserving of no less than a 10 out of 10. Enjoy the film, and see it with someone you love. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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The light behind the success
merrywood11 May 2009
Thomas Kinkade's Home for Christmas is an old fashioned film, yes. It fits very well with Kinkade's art; indeed, the film is a wise nod to his magical paintings. Much like his work it can draw cynics and negative, self-proclaimed pundits like a magnet draws iron filings. The story is essentially the inspiration behind Kinkade's central work and his raison d'être…how it all came to be. For many of us, especially those puzzled by the scribbling and bizarre compositions that pass for abstract art…work that must come while the artist has his tongue deeply embedded into his cheek, and further, work that can be analyzed and described in 1,000 different ways, each a product of the imagination… the charm of the alternative Kinkade depictions of the dream-like reality of a place where the heart wants to be is a respite and a place for us to rest in this weary, war-torn world of endless crime and violence.

As a filmmaker and writer of some note I found the production a bit uneven but then there were moments that were spot-on and in the balance the film succeeds very well. The cast is fine, the production values are very acceptable and the story, which could have used a bit more imagination and forward thrust, ends well and succeeds to give the film its reason for being.

The story of how Thomas Kinkade obtained his gift is fine but there's a far more salient, exciting and bigger story to be told because the man happens to be one of the most successful creative commercial artists ever produced by Americana. We look forward to that story on film, perhaps with a bigger budget, more exciting production values and a stronger script. There is nothing that pleases the American (and perhaps to a greater degree today) world audiences… like the story of success up from the bottom rung of the ladder.
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Kitsch as kitsch can be
sycorax17 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
There was a reason why I bought this movie: Peter O'Toole. He's one of the greatest actors of our time and normally he's able even to make something out of a lousy script. However, in the case of "Thomas Kinkade's Home for Christmas" even Peter O'Toole can't save the movie. He gives a good performance, but every time he opens his mouth I was cringing because of the cheesiness of what he had to say. His character is pure cliché, but at least he isn't alone with that. All of the characters in the movie behave like something out of a kitschy novel and everything they do and say is absolutely predictable. We have the loving, caring mother who's a victim to circumstances, but nevertheless tries not burdening her sons; we have the sons who're as good, loving and boring as if they were cousins of the Waltons; we have the noisy neighbor; the irresponsible father (but he's having his heart on the right place because otherwise we wouldn't understand how Mommie dear could ever love him) and of course the wonderful, old mentor who feels inspired by the energy and adoration of the youngster. Besides the entire movie looks like a Kinkade painting - sweet, kitschy and overdone. I actually like "feel good" movies, but this isn't one for feeling good, but for feeling overfeed on sugar!
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Christmas Enchantment
Warning: Spoilers
The sorts of ready disparagements this movie will attract?Is it too full of swiftly drawn caricatures? Too relentlessly brave? Too syrupy sweet? Too anticipatable? Too small town? May all films be so lucky.

Director Michael Campus, is a humanist. He allows himself to be known for the divine sentimentalist he is on the DVD Special Features and film commentary (joined by the artist of enchantment himself, Thomas Kinkade, whose reminiscences infuse the stuff of real life), all of which should be carefully viewed and heard. I immersed myself in this heartening film like a hot tub!

Charlotte Rae does not appear to be listed in the cast on IMDb - an oversight or am I going blind? She stole every scene she was in! What a trouper, what a mobile face, what a voice! Playing Vesta, the church organist, she is fabulous! Don't miss her Christmas comment in the Special Features section - she radiates the Christmas spirit - and she's Jewish! ;-)

What's so compelling about this film are the outright love, tears and camaraderie out of which it was born. That the story is TRUE makes it, perhaps, awkward to make it all-inclusive of those memories.

I have a Thomas Kinkade print (not an original, of course, since I, too, am on an "early Maryanne budget") of a rainy street scene, which, with a jolt, I thought I recognized in front of the the mother's place of employment. Could this be? Kinkade's early struggles along the way are the grist of this warm-hearted seasonal movie which illuminates the cherished Illuminator in a most moving way.

Jared Padalecki, a gorgeous young actor, carries the film, or, better, soars with this film on youthful wings with so many older, more experienced thespians of obvious renown. Such a nuanced and tender performance! He is bound to become a household word.

Marcia Gay Harden - as Kinkade's mother, Maryanne - is luminous. I have seen such as Juliet Binoche in "Chocolat" playing selfless women, but Marcia Gay is right up there with the Living Saints! This is the way people should treat one another in this world. The real Maryanne, we learn, lives very near her son Thomas today and basks in the successes of both her boys: Patrick (very well-portrayed by the fresh-faced Aaron Ashmore and Thomas. Obviously, all Maryanne's sacrifice and hard work came to grand fruition.

Richard Burgi is commendable and markedly original in his embodiment of the absent Kinkade father, who might have been treated vengefully, since he abandoned the family when the brothers were but small boys. Instead of rancor, this family shows him acceptance and love in later life. Burgi's performance captures,Thomas Kinkade says, the idiosyncrasies of their madcap father. He's a kick.

Peter O'Toole? What can you say? Tried and true, he shines like a Christmas Star in anything he touches. And as Glen Wessels - the generous artist who, as Fate would have it, happens to settle near the Kinkades' rundown cottage - he mentors the young Thomas. Jewels of languid British cadence fall from O'Toole's gifted lips. He offers guidance, wisdom, and, with trembling dignity, rescue. I was moved to tears several times during these remarkable scenes.

Geoffrey Lewis gave such a winning performance as a grief-stricken father who has lost his son in battle. He melts the heart. Lewis's face, so open and guileless, suspends any reservation or disbelief and sustains the movie magic. Chris Elliott, in a Fezziwig topknot, takes and runs with the role of Ernie, the Chamber of Commerce guy who is into publicizing the town via japes, loud ties, and hustle. He is too perfect.

Ed Asner as the agent? Solid as granite and manly as a bull. What a cast, what a cast! How was it gotten together? The work that went into this labor of love - initiated by a chance meeting of the Campuses and Kinkades at a Carmel, California restaurant! Such serendipity makes believers of us all - nice guys CAN finish first.

I can't list all the players (each so perfectly fitted into a glowing Christmas mosaic), my time is up. Try to see this one at Christmastime and linger over it, as I did, so gratefully.
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Overly melodramatic, but a good performance by Padalecki
This biographical TV movie takes a look at artist Thomas Kinkade (played by 'Supernatural''s Jared Padalecki) and how he was inspired to paint his most famous piece: The Christmas Cottage.

While not a fan of Thomas Kinkade myself, I am a fan of Jared Padalecki and thought this looked like an interested piece of work to see him in. It's a rare time to not see Padalecki fighting demons or serial killers, so it'd be good to see him trying something new. While Padalecki did a fairly good job, the film was simply mediocre. The narration was annoying and trite and the overall story was far too hokey and cheesy to be taken seriously. It will work well with fans of Hallmark Movie-of-the-Weeks and the like, but anyone looking for some quality, illuminating cinema. . . move on, this one isn't for you.

Final verdict: 6/10.
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Not for diabetics.
manxman-125 December 2009
The overload of sugar in this movie would kill a truckload of diabetics. Dreadful, dreadful dialog that would make the regular viewer cringe with embarrassment. Watching the hugely talented Peter O'Toole in this movie makes one hope that he never has to watch this or ever again have to descend to this level to make a living. For this particular viewer, the only thought that went through my mind was, please somebody hand me a fork so I can stick it in my eyes. This is a movie made for old ladies who live alone with a houseful of cats. If Thomas Kinkade has a story to tell, then he needs a much more gifted writer to bring it to fruition. This is a movie that would reduce even the most sympathetic of souls to batter their head on the coffee table in utter despair. Watching Peter O'Toole, who does everything but wear a sandwich board saying, "My character is going to die very soon", one prays that he will just peg out so that one will no longer have to observe the depths to which he has sunk in acting in this tripe. A definite miss.
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I wish there were more slow-moving movies out there . . .
dennis29 January 2010
This movie moves slowly. This is a VERY different type of thing. Sometimes I am in the mood for a slow-mover (so, this one rises to the top of the list). Also, there are no "kookie" gimmicks used to fill-it-out. These things, alone, make this a special viewing.

Beyond that, I enjoyed Peter O'Toole's role (dying inside because of his wife's death, looking for inspiration to paint again). Add to that, a familiar cast of faces, including: Ed Asner as a bright (but subdued) role of an art dealer. Chris Elliott also stands out as the large-ego'd mayor of Placerville

Shake, and pour into a tall glass. In the world of Christmas movies with $12 scripts, this one stands out.
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Tragic-Heartwarming Masterpiece
Heather27 November 2015
The movie feels like an old black and white movie due to the slow pacing and the nature of the dialogue, which is perfect for the atmosphere of the movie. This movie is incredibly tragic and depressing, but heartbreakingly realistic. It's so grim that it's hard to watch at times on account of the overwhelming gloom. Yet the saddest scenes are the most poignant ones. If you've seen Jared Padalecki as Sam in Supernatural or as Dean in Gilmore Girls, you know that he is a master at portraying youthful innocence in a grounded, relatable way. Sam and Dean were never quite as optimistic and idealistic as Thomas Kinkade is in this movie, so it's a marvel to see Jared add such depth and uniqueness to Thomas without making him anything remotely like Sam or Dean.
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Autobiographical film makes a very good Christmas story
SimonJack6 December 2016
"Christmas Cottage" is an autobiographical film about Thomas Kinkade (1958-2012), the "painter of light." I had seen Kinkade's work in shops when I lived on the West Coast from 1987 to 2007. I've also heard and read some of his recent history – up until his death at age 54 in 2012. Based on newspaper reviews, it seems that some critics loved his painting while others didn't. I'm not an art expert or even an aficionado. But I do like some of his work that I've seen.

Kinkade came from a broken home with poor to modest beginnings and rose to super success as a commercial artist. In the course of that, he had a religious experience of some sort that molded his character and guided much of his work for many years. He spoke of the importance of family, and he and his wife had four daughters. But his success might serve as a classic tale of fame and fortune bringing ruin to one's life. In his last years, his character changed. He became an alcoholic, had extra- marital relations, was separated from his wife, was living with a girlfriend, and had run-ins with the law. He died in Monte Sereno, CA, on April 6, 2012. An autopsy fixed the cause of death as "acute intoxication" from alcohol and Valium.

In watching this film, I set aside what I knew about Kinkade, his life and his art. I don't know how close this film is to real events, but the opening credits say that the movie is inspired by true events. It takes place over one Christmas holiday season when Kinkade would have been 19 or 20 years old. Everything else aside, this film is a good story that stands on its own. Its Christmas setting makes it a good film for this genre. Indeed, the location around Placerville in California's gold country is ideal. I've been to Placerville, Plymouth, Sutter Creek, Ione, and Jackson. The seasonal climate in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains evokes a holiday atmosphere.

Others have described the plot, which is very good and original for a Christmas story. The screenplay, direction and camera work all are very good. The acting is excellent for the most part. Jared Padalecki is very good as Thomas "Thom" Kinkade. Marcia Gay Harden is superb in the role of his mother, Maryanne. Aaron Ashmore does very well as Thom's brother, Pat. The one role that seemed overly played, maybe even hammy, was that of Thom's father, Bill. Richard Burgi played the part. Kinkade's father may have had such a hammy personality, but it comes across in the movie as far too exaggerated.

A real plus for the film was getting Peter O'Toole to play Glen. This was a sizable part in the movie as Glen Wesman. It's based on Glenn Anthony Wessels who was an established painter, muralist, instructor and mentor of Kinkade. He lived out his remaining years in Placerville, dying at the age of 87 in 1982. Whether or not the real Glenn said some of the things that O'Toole does here, some lines are real gems.

In one scene, Glen says, "Don't reduce art to something that's about the artist. Art isn't about the artists. It's about life. Life … beauty … love … emotion. Art should bring emotion that can topple tyranny." Tom, "I had forgotten, Glen." Glen, "Art crosses all borders, surpasses all languages." Later, he says, "An image can change lives. You can introduce men to their souls." And, he admonishes Thom later, "Give your very best always."

I noted a couple of reviewers who thought O'Toole's performance wasn't very good. Because someone may not like a character, or how that character is portrayed, doesn't mean always that the actor didn't perform the role well. I think that must be the case with O'Toole in this role. Peter O'Toole surely didn't need the money – whatever amount he was paid for his role here. Nor did he need to keep acting. No, O'Toole took this part because he wanted it. He said so in an interview that came with the DVD of this film. On that basis, I would trust this great actor to give a performance that he thought befitting of the role, the character, and the time and place. I saw him as thoughtful, philosophic and funny. He was a man dealing with his diminishing abilities brought on by age with a sense of humor and perhaps reluctant acceptance of the inevitable. But never did his spirit wane or falter.

This is an interesting and entertaining film for the holidays. It's one the whole family should enjoy over Christmas. Older children from broken families may find a message of hope and peace for their lives, families and futures.
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A fantastic performance by Peter O'Toole
itsjfk21 January 2015
I'll have to say from the start that the review of this movie is based on what I would deem as Peter O'Toole's best work. He had a wide repertoire both on stage and screen. Indeed he was the actor most nominated for an Oscar never to have won one. But this movie appears to be 'off the radar' in many ways as it is a 'made for TV' movie and a Christmas- themed one to boot. O'Toole plays mentor Glen Wesman to the protagonist's character, Thomas Kinkade. Glen painted to his old age, to somehow convey his sorrow and capture the essence of his beloved, long since departed, Nicole. His portrayal of a man, weakened by age and sorrow, is heart-wrenching. He portrays the frailty and compassion of his character, aware that his ability to paint is receding. But he remains determined to carry on, in the search for the essence of Nicole.
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Christmas Cottage was Superb!
westcrow20022 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I loved the story line. It was a wonderful family movie. There were some very touching scenes between Jared Padalecki and Peter O'Toole. I was very impressed with the film and with Jared's acting ability. I have to admit that the ending almost made me cry. Jared's character Tom Kincade is a college student and struggling artist who returns home for Christmas and helps his Mom avoid foreclosure on her home. He does this by painting a mural of the town in exchange for 500 dollars. The character's journey and inspiration to become a better artist is simply heart warming. I would definitely recommend this movie as a feel good family movie.
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One of the best holiday films I have seen in years, it is sure to pull at your heart strings with excellent performances by all cast.
lady-leverage13 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Only mild spoilers.One of the best holiday films I have seen in years, it is sure to pull at your heart strings with excellent performances by all cast. It is as beautiful as the paintings of the artist whose story it is telling a must see in my opinion. Padalecki shines as a young Kinkade and conveys emotions that are spot on for every scene. Peter O Tool will make you laugh and cry in his portrayal of Glen the famous painter who inspired the work of Kinkade as he struggles to finish just one last painting. If you chose not to see this film then mark my words you are missing out on a beautiful piece of cinema. Its a classic and one of my favorites, I even pulled it out this past July and I am not usually one of those Christmas in summer types.
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Parent's: beware!! This is not a family-friendly movie!
chrismulkeyisgod26 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I was extremely disappointed in this movie for the mere fact that I had seen it being sold in Christian Book Stores. This is NOT what I would consider a family-appropriate move in that the FATHER gave the gift of a SUGGESTIVE MAGAZINES to his SONS. I was waiting for the redeeming qualities in the movies to take place & when there were more negatives (language, sexual content, and disrespect showed in GOD'S HOUSE) in the first forty five minutes I simply TURNED IT OFF TO RETURN IT TO THE BLOCKBUSTER OR Hollywood VIDEO STORE. I did not feel it was suitable for my family, consisting of my husband, my SELF, and our eight year old daughter (to name JUST A FEW) to "watch". It was shocking and disappointment. Don't waste your time, much of it was not necessary. It makes me rethink how Christian this MAN really IS.
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Small Town Values
Barbara Alley30 December 2010
Sons coming home for Christmas and their discoveries about themselves, their family, and their Source of inspiration leaves the watcher wondering about what they value most, who has influenced them. An excellent film to watch with your entire family. The acting, the wisp of humor, the characters are all captivating! The true story will and does inspire the artist in each of us to draw upon those experiences that change us. Thomas Kincaid is an artist that is known world round and this movie is a tribute to his mother and Peter O'Toole who captures the character perfectly. This film carries in it the quality of "Its a Wonderful Life". A great holiday flick for the family.
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Nice feel good movie
redwhiteandblue177612 July 2015
We watched this movie in on TV and thought it was a good family film. Many of the reviews shown here were written by people who wrote the criticisms of the movie before seeing it. Many wrote awful reviews before the movie even came out. Doesn't seem too smart. It seems a lot of reviewers didn't like the movie because it was just too "nice." (No sex, violence or cussing) Again, I have to wonder about these reviewers intelligence when they know it is a movie about Christmas. What did they expect? Sure, it may have been a little corny in places but that's OK, it's designed as light entertainment, not a major Hollywood production. If it had been written to win awards in Hollywood then it would have had the sex, violence and lots of cussing. Kind of nice this movie didn't.
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Love it, captures the heart of Christmas beautifully
louise200820 December 2013
Loved this movie. One of the best Christmas movies to capture the heart of Christmas. It's all about humble loving friends and family bonding over Christmas with a coming of age theme as well for the main character. Would love to research more about the actual artist that the movie is based on. The acting was reasonable for the genre and the plot line really well put together. I personally loved how they costume designer put together each "look" for the main characters. I fell in love with Glen and paid attentions to every but of wisdom his character shared. Very enlightening.beginning to think this will be my new Christmas movie for the family every year.
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