Midnight Clear (2006) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
20 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
Good story, well told
osborntj-112 March 2007
I knew this was a remake, but I had not seem the short version. So I had no history for comparison. The script is strong. The performances are excellent, as is the direction. The primary characters are rich, but the lesser roles, particularly the plant security man are very well done. Knowing the limitations of a budget less than $1M, I was expecting to see production flaws. But I couldn't find them. The production values are extraordinary. That's true of cinematography, sound, lighting, score, sets, props, on and on. The movie gives some satisfaction, and leaves one saddened at the same time. Such is life. But it's a wonderful movie, one that everyone with family members and friends who are lonely at Christmas, should see.
16 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Quality Christmas character drama
dandewald6 December 2007
This movie is a great character piece with quality performances from the established actors. I saw it at Cinequest.

I recommend it to those who like character TV dramas -- "Six Feet Under," "Once & Again," "My So-Called Life" or recent films like "The Savages" or "Lars and the Real Girl." It had the ability to be moving, without being saptastic. It shows the holidays for what they can be - without the dark, Sundance festival-type cynicism.

Who knew Stephen Baldwin had this performance in him. Kae is predictably good in her aching performance of a woman on the verge.

This film should be seen beyond channels like Sundance and IFC - I'd love to see it on FX or AMC next Christmas.

But definitely worth the price of the DVD.

Dan
12 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Great Movie To Ponder Life and Holidays By
Adefiguy5 December 2007
Midnight Clear is a movie about hope from the depths of despair. The holidays are often a time where people are more depressed than any other, yet should be a time for celebration. This movie deals with five people in a world of hurt, who find themselves connecting with each other - and 'saving' each other (figuratively and literally) on the night before Christmas. Believably done, simply executed and well acted, this film is sure to tug your heartstrings.

Nice performances by Stephen Baldwin and K Callen, the movie feels very minimalistic, but it helps to keep the focus on each of the five main characters. It's not a warm and fuzzy movie, but life often dances around the cold and messy, and this deals honestly within that realm.
12 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A Very Beautiful and Uplifting Film about a Collection of Act of Kindness Affecting Lives
claudio_carvalho18 November 2011
In the Christmas Eve, Lefty (Stephen Baldwyn) is a homeless and unemployed alcoholic loser that will lose the right to see his son. In despair, he trades a gun and is ready to heist a convenience store and commit suicide. Eva (K Callan) is a lonely old lady estranged from her family that is ready to commit suicide. Kirk (Kirk B.R. Woller) is the owner of a convenience store and gas station that feels stranded in his work. Mary (Mary Thornton) is a mother that is raising her young son alone after the accident of her husband that has brain damage. Mitch (Mitchell Jarvis) is a youngster that belongs to a Christian group of youths that does not understand the reason why they should visit lonely old people of his community in the Christmas Eve. The lonely and depressed persons have their lives affected for good by minor acts of kindness and sympathy and Mitch realizes how important his assignment was and that he has made the difference.

First of all, I need to confess that I have prejudice against Christian films since the few of them that I have watched have good stories but are manipulative with religion. Fortunately I have decided to see "Midnight Clear".

The most beautiful film of cinema history about Christmas and the importance of the acts of a human being is Frank Capra's masterpiece "It's a Wonderful Life". In Christmas, most of the people become generous, kind and sympathetic with the others and I have never understood why people do not behave this way everyday to improve lives and the society as a whole.

I am not comparing, but "Midnight Clear" is another very beautiful film about how minor acts of kindness may affect lives of depressed people in a wonderful synergy and has nothing to do with religion. This low-budget film is supported by a credible story; a simple but effective screenplay; and good performances, highlighting Ms. K Callan and Stephen Baldwyn. Unfortunately there is a couple of bad reviews probably of cold-hearted viewers. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Um Brilho na Escuridão" ("A Glow in the Darkness")
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
5 stories-1 great 2 good 2 bad.
ridewiththevines9 March 2007
I just saw Midnight Clear at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose and there's a lot I like and a lot I don't. 2 of the stories are from the original short story (written by the director's father) and you can tell they have been constructed with a lot more time and love. Those two stories are of Lefty and Eva, lonely individuals contemplating suicide.The story of Eva is almost unbearably sad and acted perfectly. The Lefty story has a few campy lines, but is still passable. Another good story is that of Mitch, a leader of a youth group wondering if he holds purpose. It's probably the shortest story in the film and the one with the least satisfaction in the end. The other two stories are of a gasoline attendant and a mother, married to a brain dead man. The story of the gas attendant is fine at the start but suffers when the mother enters his story. The dialog for the mother is extremely hokey and cliché and brought the score down a good 2-1.5 stars. Overall I would say there's both great and horrible acting. The direction is the most consistent thing in the film. The script is well constructed but contains a lot of corny dialog. 6/10
17 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
When your soul needs uplifting
sundance749010 February 2008
Honestly, I just rented this film on two whims. 1. I had recently co-starred in a film (Coyote County Loser) that had three principal actors from this movie as our leads and one of the crewmembers was actually our direction. 2. I absolutely love interconnecting storyline films. From Babel, Crash and Amores Perros, when I heard a Christian one (or at least Christian undertoned) was made I was more than happy. Usually interconnecting films have an extreme amount of violence, cussing, sex, etc. and their intense films for that reason but I was wondering if they could possibly get rid of that for this film.

They did, and in a good way. The story follows five principal characters: Lefty, a recently jobless and homeless man in search of redemption in the wrong places; Eva, an elderly woman who feels she has nothing left to live for; Mary, a mother who is dealing with her husbands' brain damage after a car accident; Kirk, a gas station owner whose past dreams were shattered, and Mitch, a youth pastor who feels his existence in to the church is nowhere near relevant.

K Callan as Eva and Mary Thornton as Mary were my favorite characters and actors, though all five did great. The women's emotions were kept well hidden throughout the film. You weren't sure how they were feeling until they let it out. Callan and Thornton's performances were stellar and completely rolled the story for the lack of development from Lefty, Kirk, and Mitch's stories. If they would've developed Kirk and Mitch a little more the movie would've been incredible, as it is, but among all audiences. I feel Eva and Mary were also the most interesting characters. Lefty had too much character, not enough was shrouded in mystery.

Considering I had a terrible Christmas myself, to see the small acts of kindness the five people in this film do, causing them to intersect made me think of just how much one small thing you can do for a person might actually change their life. A lot of films never make me think about them afterwards but Midnight Clear has stuck with me. I just purchased the film and am loving it. You just think about it at a certain time in your life and when you watch. I would suggest this film to anyone who just needs a little uplifting. You could now.
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Best Christmas movie in years!!!
chefdon-131 December 2007
By far the best Christmas movie I have seen in years and one of the best movies I have seen in a long time! I wish they made more movies like this!

Simply told, and beautifully understated. A wonderfully told tale about five strangers whose paths cross one Christmas Eve and impact one another's lives in sometimes simple, yet rather astounding ways.

Not your usual Hollywood-type Christmas film where everyone is smiling and a happy ending can be found around every corner. No, this film is about real people, with real problems, in the real world, where things don't always necessarily end happily ever after. And, during the course of the film, we're never quite sure just what the outcome is going to be.

Honest, sincere, real, totally believable. I could readily and easily identify with each and every character. The performances are top-notch and are played to perfection. Every performance comes across as being completely genuine.

I love the look and feel to this movie. Visually stunning, it's hard to believe this was shot on such a low budget and in something like only 18 days!

Touching and deeply moving! The movie never feels forced or manipulative. And the ending is just right! (I just loved the character of Mitch). A most rewarding viewing experience indeed! My praise and highest compliments to all involved.

I highly recommend this movie and will be looking forward to the next feature to come from Jenkins Entertainment!
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Pretty good holiday film that needs a better script
se7en18712 June 2007
I saw this at the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck, Michigan.

This was an okay film, but I felt with a better script it could have been a lot more engaging. It takes place on Christmas Eve in a small town in Arizona. Following a lonely old woman, a jobless man, a gas station worker, a grieving mother, and a young depressed youth pastor, the film shows them crossing paths and experience the holiday evening in different ways.

The problem with the film is that some of the story lines aren't as interesting as the others and some of them aren't as developed. I personally preferred the jobless Lefty (played by Stephen Baldwin, in a well acted dramatic role) and the old woman (wonderfully played by K Callan). There wasn't enough time spent on the youth pastor thus making his story seem unfinished. And there was too much time spent on the mother and the gas station worker, it wasn't a very interesting story.

The ending was nice, in fact, a little too nice, it seemed like everything came together too perfectly. But it wasn't that bad of a film. If during the holiday season, you're looking for a film to watch, I'd recommend this film before recommending one of those studio films that get released every holiday season to make big bucks.
9 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Good But Not For All
Christmas-Reviewer9 March 2018
Review Date 3/9/2018

PLEASE BEWARE OF SOME REVIEWERS THAT ONLY HAVE ONLY ONE REVIEW. I AVE OVER 400 REVIEWS OF "CHRISTMAS RELATED FILMS & SPECIALS" WHEN ITS A POSITIVE THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE THEY WERE INVOLVED WITH THE PRODUCTION. NOW I HAVE NO AGENDA! I REVIEW MOVIES & SPECIALS AS A WAY TO KEEP TRACK OF WHAT I HAVE SEEN! I HAVE DISCOVERED MANY GEMS IN MY QUEST TO SEE AS MANY " C H R I S T M A S " MOVIES AS I CAN.

The lives of an unemployed divorcee (Stephen Baldwin), his suicidal mother (K Callan) and a couple intersect during Christmastime. This is almost a nonlinear movie and the filmmakers takes some bold steps at the ending by letting the viewer draw their own conclusions.

This is not a film the entire will love. Short attention span people will be bored. Stephen Baldwin however one dimensional performance almost kills the movie!
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Almost a total waste of time
txaggieboy8 December 2007
I decided to check this movie out after reading all the positive reviews here. I hoped it would be at least half as good as what these people were saying. Boy, were they wrong.

There are two very good performances in this film that manage to rise above the mind-numbingly poor script. K Callahan and Stephen Baldwin deserve medals for attempting to turn this sow's ear into a silk purse. Kudos to Mary Thornton for turning in one of the worst screen performances since Sharon Stone in Catwoman. It doesn't help her "acting" that she is saddled with perhaps the worst dialogue in this stinker of a script. Her whole storyline is laughably bad and should have ended up on the cutting room floor. But if one started cutting on this, where would they stop? If one could edit this film and cut everything out except the old woman and Lefty (Stephen Baldwin), this could be an outstanding film.
9 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Absolutely brilliant & uplifting movie
ralpharendse8 June 2013
I've just finish watching this movie for the first time and it's probably one of my favourite Christian movies of all time.

From the minute the movie begins it draws you in and doesn't let go. It's a simple story and yet so touching, it's very easy to relate with each and every character in the story and what they are going through in life.

A very powerful story that makes you wonder, how you could impact someone's life positively.

Absolutely brilliant & uplifting movie, the acting is top notch and I highly recommend this movie.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Very powerful movie
locoowl26 January 2008
I, too, picked this up because of Jerry B. Jenkins name on it. The blurb on the back of the DVD sounded intriguing also. I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised and touched by this film.

The story is about 5 people whose lives intersect randomly on Christmas Eve and how those intersections impact the lives of the other characters.

Steven Baldwin and K Callan give the two strongest performances. They also had the most developed story lines, which, I am sure, helped their performances. Baldwin plays "Lefty", a down on his luck loser. K Callan plays "Eva Boyle," a woman whose family is nowhere to be seen and is living a life of quiet desperation and failing mental capacity. Both are at the end of their respective ropes.

Kirk B. R. Woller does a fine job as "Kirk," the lonely owner of a convenience store in a very bad location.

I felt the two weakest stories were "Mary," whose husband suffered brain damage in some sort of accident, and "Mitch", a youth pastor, who was somehow involved in that accident. The actors did the best they could with their material, but since their stories were never really fleshed out, they had a hard time with their roles, I think.

I would have liked to have had more information on "Mitch" and more insight into his feelings of guilt and inadequacy. But even so, Mitchell Jarvis did a great job of portraying a young man who is unsure that what he is doing has any meaning or significance.

The writing was very strong and showed how just random acts of kindness can have a major impact upon peoples lives. It also opens a window on why some people are not so ecstatic about the prospect of another Christmas Eve.

Overall a very thought-provoking movie which makes you wonder just what you could do to impact someone's life positively.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
I just rented Midnight Clear. Simple story, simply told.
tmixon31824 December 2007
Most of the comments here sound professionally done. So this comment is from the common man (woman). I really liked the movie. The reason I picked it up at the video store was because it had Jerry Jenkins name on it(I'm a fan). Even though Stephen Baldwin was the main character, I liked all the characters. I thought the actors did a fine job portraying the hurt & disappointments we all face at some time in life. I thought the storyline of the youth pastor was great. The story of how each of us as human beings touch the lives, either negatively or positively, of every human being we come in contact with(actually that was pretty much the theme of all the story lines). It's also a reminder that sometimes we just need to suck it up & do things that we don't really want to do, like go Christmas Caroling!
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Look past the errors
sanitysama20 December 2007
Honestly, if you wanted a big budget film you'd be watching big titles at a box office. Looking much past the flaws of this film, there's a bit of power behind every scene. You can put yourself in the positions of some of these characters and really feel their emotions; what they're thinking and how they feel. I haven't had a film do this to me since I saw Crash.

It's a good-spirited film for anyone who considers themselves lost around Christmas (notice that I'm not trying to label this as a Christmas film.) Christmas doesn't have to be happy for everyone, but those who have something to be happy about should really think about it at this time of year.
4 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
beautiful but emotionally unsettling
wge195425 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Midnight Clear is a powerful depiction of the unhappiness that can befall any of us. So real, it can be unsettling like "Marty", "The Swimmer" and "Separate Tables."

The writers, Wes Haluha and Jerry B. Jenkins provide intense but terse dialogue like Burt Kennedy's "Ride Lonesome." Brutally frank and fascinating in its clarity.

All of the actors are excellent, although I particularly enjoyed Kirk B.R. Woller's performance. Sort of like Alan Ladd in "Shane."

Director Dallas Jenkins and Stephen Baldwin depict a suicidal attempt that will make your blood run cold. I love the show, and watch it frequently, but this scene is so real that I wince every time I see it.

Midnight Clear is an incredibly interesting movie but is not a happy one until the last scene. The ending is beautifully done and gives us the hope of a better day to come.

Be warned, the show is Christian oriented and people who find this offensive should simply not watch it.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Random Acts of Kindness: A Little Christmas Story
gradyharp27 December 2007
MIDNIGHT CLEAR is an easily overlooked film: the cover of the DVD is bleak, the description of the story sounds a bit corny, and the promotion of the film has been scant. But what is not expected for those viewers able to overcome the above negative aspects is a well-made little series of interlocking vignettes that poignantly address the impact of random acts of kindness in a world grown calloused. It is touching in the best sense of the word and well worth watching even beyond the Christmas season.

The unnamed town gradually opens windows to some fairly sad people: an elderly woman Eva (K Callan) talks with her doctor on the telephone about her meds and we note that she may be facing the thought of suicide in her desolate life; a sweet woman Mary (Mary Thornton) and her young son Jacob (Dominic Scott Kay) visit their brain damaged husband/father in a rest home (the man was critically injured in an auto accident one year ago); a lonely many Kirk (Kirk B.R. Woller) stands in his isolated convenience store without patrons; a longtime drunk and lonely ex-husband Lefty (Stephen Baldwin) is fired from his menial job, despite a recent promotion, because of his consistent tardiness; Mitch (Mitchell Jarvis) works with kids for a church to assuage his guilt for having survived the auto accident that devastated Mar's husband's life, reluctantly agreeing to his pastor (Richard Fancy) to take his youth group caroling to the shut-ins on Christmas Eve.

Each of these characters influences the others by a seeming random act of kindness: Kirk helps Mary and Jacob with their broken car, Eva is given a meals on wheels by a church lady (Victoria Jackson), Mitch and his carolers provide some needed money by means of a token gift that will allow Lefty and Eva to attend Christmas Eve Service, and Eva's 'meals on wheels' ends up providing midnight food for Kirk and Mary and Jacob. Writer Wes Halula and director Dallas Jenkins carve a story that, though at times suggests it may become cloying, is genuinely touching. The cast, especially Baldwin and Callan, is excellent, and each of the characters is well developed, leaving the viewer with a sense of a morality tale we sorely need. Instead of a big booming Hollywood finish, the film simply tapers off with suggestions of the importance of selfless acts that can make a difference. It is well worth watching, especially now, and especially during the Christmas season. Grady Harp
4 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Don't waist your time
designenc23 October 2008
This movie was absolutely horrible from start to finish. If you like watching movies that put you to sleep, this is a winner. The only thing good about this movie is that the name Baldwin is associated with it and that is not saying much.

If you are a Stephen Baldwin fan and want to check this out anyway, be aware that he only has about 30 lines in the movie and ....I THINK HE IS THE STAR!

Honestly, this movie goes nowhere. No action, No comedy, not much of a story and not much of a budget either.

I just got through watching the movie and I am so mad that I wasted 103 minutes of my life on that crap. So, I just wanted to share this with the rest of you and hope that you trust me on this one.
6 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
The worst Christian movie I have ever seen
mooveefan-8718829 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I am a huge fan of Christian/faith-based movies and this was awful. At the end, what was the point? The movie should have focused on Lefty and his mom, Eva and left the rest out. Rick being brain damaged and no one going to visit him in the hospital. The wife and son go for 2 minutes and then confront Rick's best friend about seeing him, which he never does. It's brought up that the church members Rick and his family attend don't visit, they never do. Ricks wife heads out to her family's for Christmas and their car breaks down at a gas station. There they meet the owner, who works on the car for hours and then the wife decides not to go. We don't get to know really anything about the gas station guy, though he and the wife talk a lot...nothiing happens there either. They eat a Christmas dinner together at the end, in total silence. We never find out what happens to Rick. I fast forwarded through a great deal of this movie so that I could get to "the good stuff" but it doesn't come until the very end, when Eva goes to church with Lefty and we know that at least for that night neither of them will commit suicide. But Lefty is still an alcoholic. So bad!!!!!!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
With peaceful wings unfurled
bkoganbing10 December 2017
Stephen Baldwin youngest of the acting Baldwin clan stars in this Christian based film about several people who are not having it real good on Christmas Eve. Baldwin named Lefty since childhood not because he's left handed, but because his family was so poor he played with his brother's old left handed baseball glove and was truly bad with it.

K Callan is a lonely old woman at Christmas time her kids gone off and left her and she's just alone with memories. Not even a cat for companionship and they are great companions. Mary Thornton is a mother with young Dominic Scott Key who just visited her brain damaged husband in the hospital and has to get to her family for Christmas a bit of a drive away. There's also Kirk Woller who is stuck at his gas station/ convenience store for Christmas Eve which doesn't make that much money in normal hours. There's also Mitchell Jarvis youth pastor of a church whose youth group ain't that crazy about doing Christmas carol singing on Christmas Eve. After all it's hardly a hip modern tradition so the kids feel.

All of them interconnect with the others at some point and have an up close and personal experience with the Christmas spirit. Baldwin is the most desperate of all. A degenerate alcohol abuser, has lost his wife and kids and job and he's got himself a gun. He will do harm to someone or to himself at some point it looks like.

This is a nice no frills type Christmas story and is definitely good for more than church audiences.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
True to Life
hfatula20 May 2012
What a true to life story of the millions of people who suffer around the Christmas season with loneliness, depression, alcoholism etc and how a small act of kindness can change everything. I found myself drawn to this story and it's characters. The plot may seem a bit slow but come on folks, this isn't an action story.

My only problem with this film was Mary Thornton's acting. Very poor quality almost to the point of being annoying. I really didn't feel her emotions and couldn't connect with her character.

Stephen Baldwin and K Callan did a wonderful job! Thank you Netflix for once again recommending a perfect choice. FYI, this movie probably shouldn't be watched around Christmas time by anyone having problems.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed