The Christmas Shepherd (TV Movie 2014) Poster

(2014 TV Movie)

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Very good!
jk-692-23639413 December 2014
I have just spent a rainy afternoon watching a set of Hallmark Xmas movies. Some were good, and some were quite bad. This one was enjoyable. I liked how realistic it was about dating and being older and alone and what a hassle it is to try to 'date". Then the fear a person can feel when they meet someone. It was very respectful to the spouses who were no longer with them. It was a lighthearted, well acted sweet movie. The two lead actors and the kid where all very good. Of course the dog was good too. It kept away from the corniness that many movies like this tend to lapse into. If you want to watch a feel good, slightly romantic sweet movie, that also has a realistic more "quiet" ending, this is a good one.
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Ridiculous premise
BigJohnPilgrim14 December 2014
If it weren't for the romantic Christmas factor, which is clearly what attracts the favorable ratings, this movie would be a real stinker. That alone rates a seven. And the acting is overdone (does Hallmark just have bad directors, or don't any of their Christmas movie actors know how to act?), every scene seems to have an added dose of melodrama. That drops it another couple of points.

And the entire plot with the dog, starting from the point that it ran away, was ridiculous. No self-respecting pet lover would keep a dog that belonged to someone else if the owner was found, especially not as in this situation where the dog was the pet of a soldier who was killed and then was the soldier's wife's reminder of him.

Not to mention the fact that no shelter would ship a dog out so quick clear across country. It came in with a collar with his name on it, meaning he has an owner and a family, and no shelter would ship it across country so quick without doing everything it could and taking several weeks to try and find the owner. Even then it would normally get fostered in the area were it was found, instead of adopted out.

And nobody ever addresses why it had no tag or wasn't chipped. That is irresponsible pet ownership. This would have been a great opportunity to spread the word about making sure your pet has a license tag on its collar at all times, along with a name and address and phone number tag (something you can get for $5 at your nearest Walmart where you can always find an automatic pet tag engraving machine), and to also get it chipped if you can. No pet should ever stay lost for long, it's traumatic for the owner AND the pet.

With all that said, it just stretches the imagination that a supposedly good man would be so selfish as to keep that dog away from its rightful owner, and to teach his daughter that it was OK. Just because she has had a difficult time doesn't mean you suspend teaching responsibility and kindness and generosity.

Understandably, to a child who has just suffered a major loss, it could be traumatic to suffer even further loss, but they'd only had the dog for two weeks, so for heaven's sake, if a dog is what the girl needs, teach her that she can't just keep another person's dog and go get her another one.

To the guy's credit, he did work to sway the girl's mind, but not at first, and a good parent would have just laid down the law and said we must do the right thing and give the dog back. That just isn't something you let a kid think is OK. And what is this bunk about letting the girl make the rules? Don't they even teach good parenting on the Hallmark Channel anymore?

At some point in the movie, there is a discussion that legally the man can keep the dog. I'm pretty sure that is not true. A lost pet does not legally change ownership if the original owner is found only 2 weeks after it ran away in a storm.

And the guy's sister questions that the original owner would want to take the dog away because the guy and his daughter have fallen in love with the dog? Come on.

And the daughter says, "I'm sorry Dad, but Buddy (the dog) is part of our family now." What? The girl honestly can't even empathize with the dog's owner's loss, especially after just suffering loss of her own? Is she a sociopath or something, unable to understand the pain of others? Normal people would be even more sensitive to the needs of others when they've suffered a fresh loss like that.

And when they take the dog back to its owner, the guy says, "I just wanted to make sure that we've done the right thing (bringing the dog back), but I can see we did." What? Again, what? First, you don't know you've done the right thing bringing the dog back to its rightful owner, then you have to gall to pass judgment one way or another? Even though you've previously met the dog's owner and know she is a good person and the dog still knows her and they care for each other? I'm still scratching my head on this one.

Not to mention, the girl doesn't seem upset at all by her separation from the dog. So what was the big deal again?

I like Hallmark Christmas movies, even the sappy ones. But this one just has all kinds of wrong all over it. Sorry, but I'm not a fan, it stinks. As a pet movie of any kind, it shows a total ignorance of every pet issue that should be addressed in the movie. And the parenting examples are horrendous.

If I had to guess, this was some clueless screenwriter who has lost touch with the real world, because the plot is so far off base it smacks of wacko Hollywood. I think that to like it, you couldn't understand parenting or pets very well.
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I Can't Get Past the Premise
gbarrett105 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
As a dog owner, I really disliked the premise of this movie. In short, a woman's dog runs away in a storm, and the man who find the dog decides to adopt him as a way to comfort his daughter who is still dealing with the loss of her mother from 2 years ago. After the owner of the dog finally tracks down her dog after about 14 days, the new owners give her grief and decide that they aren't going to give the dog back, and somehow "love" evolves out of this. I truly dislike the selfish father and daughter who feel as though their 2 weeks with a dog trumps the 5 years that this woman had with her dog who clearly misses her. Eventually the girl stops being so selfish, but I truly disliked the entitled attitude that consumed the first half of this movie.
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glenntharrington10 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Well-written, well-acted. This is a Christmas movie, and Hallmark on top of that, so it's not going to be "Citizen Kane" or "I Was a Teenage Werewolf." Hallmark consistently produces excellent stories that are character-driven.

With that said, I found the storyline very poignant and believable. Most everything has been tried before in Christmas movies, and this was a well-written drama without happy smiling faces all around. Without going into details (spoiler alert) people dealing with loss and coming together over a dog. At Christmas.

I'm from Massachusetts so the locations mentioned are spot-on. One year we had only a light dusting of snow until long after Christmas, so I didn't find the "no snow" scenery at all unusual.
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Bad movie
roger-bost4 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This stunk. First, a soldier brings a dog back from deployment, later veteran soldier dies prematurely from a heart attack after returning stateside; his widow loses the dog in a storm, a guy picks up dog in his truck and carries it an hour away. Dog ends up in shelter, gal who runs shelter's brother gets dog and has it for a whole two weeks. Meanwhile, the widow is trying to track down her dog, finds shelter and gal who runs it gives her a rash of s..t but finally determines she's the dog's rightful owner. So when widow contacts guy who, again has had dog for a full 14 days as compared to five years for widow, thinks maybe . . . no. She travels there, hits the same garbage and that's where I turned this show off. I have no idea how it turned out but up to then, one of the worst Hallmark or Lifetime type deals I've ever watched. Sucked. Major. Sorry if I spoiled the plot line, but frankly I'm doing you guys a huge favor pre-warning you.
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Nicely Done
boblipton26 November 2014
This is one of the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies for 2014 -- they have been producing twelve of them every year for the last few years. It's one of their dog-centered pieces, as a German shepherd plays the go-between for the two romantic leads, Teri Polo and Mark Cummins and the effect is well done, with a nice, quizzical beast in the title role.

I have some issues with the production. It is supposedly set in Massachussetts in November, although there are several outdoors shots with trees wearing their summer leaves. There isn't much to it except for the central cast: widowed Teri Polo and her dog, widower Mark Cummins and his daughter, played by Jordyn Ashley Olson. It's a sentimental woman's movie that should please its intended audience of adult women and dog lovers.
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Can't comprehend how anyone could like this
luticrist21 November 2015
I can't remember the last time I saw a movie so infuriating. It borders on violence. First, the daughter is possibly the worst character in fiction only just beating her father. Polo is frustrating for not asserting her ownership, taking the dog and ending this crapfest 20 minutes in. How in the hell can any half decent human being justify stealing someones dog. Make no mistake, this daughter, this spoiled rotten, pathetic piece of shite is dead set on stealing this woman's dog to make herself happy....DO YOU GET THAT?!! We have jails full of people who did the exact same thing for the exact same motives, "I'm not happy. You have something I want and that makes me angry so I'm taking it..." Then her father supports her in this endeavor? My kid would be catching a hefty ass whoopin for the same intentions and the thought of keeping anyone's family member/dog when they so desperately want them back is appalling. Polo's character does not fail to show how much this dog mean to her, the dog clearly shows how much he loves her as his true owner. I'd rather beat myself over the head with my television than watch this disgusting crap.
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Not Anna Karenina but cute
Denise7 November 2016
If you're looking for Anna Karenina or something cerebral, look elsewhere. If you're looking for an enjoyable holiday movie with decent acting and a nice story, pull up a chair. You do have to suspend your ideas about dog ownership rights but it's not really a crisis. I don't think Hallmark was making any kind of a political statement. I wasn't looking for a bullet proof plot and so I don't think it bothered me much. I chocked the little bit of fluff up to setting up the story. It's an entertaining little movie... just don't take the premise too seriously and enjoy it for what it is. I thought the acting was fine, especially the lead female.
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Original Christmas Story
Jack Vasen17 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I have tagged this spoilers although I haven't given much away that wasn't either early in the movie, or pretty obvious.

A beautiful sweet almost teen girl and a dog, how can you go wrong? And it was nice. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen a story setup like this.

I was a little distracted by the ambiguity of what was the right thing to do in the early part of the movie. Many critics have gone overboard in their criticism. Yes Mark and Emma struggled. Who doesn't sometimes struggle with doing the right thing? Instead of my first knee-jerk reaction which was to be appalled, as the story developed I realized this was a very realistic struggle. The one valid criticism is how quickly the shelters passed the dog along to the point of adoption. That is irresponsible, but the explanation was that they were all over-crowded. A little lame maybe.

But there were no bad guys in this movie. Sally was very gracious even in her struggle that they might not give Buddy back. Emma was an unselfish and kind young lady when she realized what she had to do. I say pretty good for her age. And Dad was patient, avoiding any rash irreversible decision.

The acting was very good. I have seen Teri Polo only once before but I am starting to really respect her acting, especially in these heartwarming stories. She is especially good with little girls. She has a great nurturing spirit. Both she and Jordyn Ashley Olson had to deal with their characters' difficult emotions and the emotional struggle of potential loss heaped on top of a history of a lost loved one. Olson managed to show how attached she was, yet made her choice real. Olson was also great in the rest of the story. Martin Cummins was also great as his character dealt with the moral dilemma vs protecting his daughter. Ace, the dog actor, was superbly trained. He managed some complicated maneuvers.

This is quite simply a wonderful and touching Christmas movie that doesn't have a ton of Christmas clichés piled up. It is compelling and real.
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Absolutely Horrific
dtaylorjones18 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
My fiancé eats up these contrived Christmas movies every year, and occasionally I have nothing better to do than ruin them for her by picking out all the obvious faults in each one. This one though, this one was special. This is easily one of the most excruciating movies I've ever seen. I mean it was beyond awful. I honestly think I'd have more fun hitting myself in the face with a brick for 2 hours than go through that again. The characters are the most hate-able collection of underdeveloped, badly acted hacks ever assembled on screen at once. I wanted to punch the little girl's boyfriend after about 2 seconds of him being on screen. Mark Green barely manages to move his face due partly to the fact he's wearing more makeup than the entire female cast combined and partly to him having about 3 facial expressions in his repertoire of emotions. Teri Polo's performance is equally as horrendous as she demonstrates her emotional connection to the dog (backed up by an equally as retarded back story) by fake crying against the phone receiver for a few seconds. Even the dog managed to p*ss me off with his "hiding the ipad under the tree" BS that he pulled toward the end, I mean, really? On top of this the entire premise of this movie is completely absurd. A woman's dog runs away during a storm and a little girl and her father just claim it as their own "Buddy's part of our family now" What a self entitled little sh*t this kid is. And the fact that her father just encourages her to blatantly commit theft makes him equally as bad as his daughter. Every scene was an ordeal but the cringe chills accumulated into a tsunami of douchbaggery near the end of the movie. When the three of them go to buy a Christmas tree and buddy picks out the nicest one on the farm (of course he does) and the fake romance starts flowing. God how I wanted a hand grenade to roll into that room as they carried that tree into that house.

This is one of those movies where you have to ask why they bothered making it.

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Can't overlook the flaw
cboozb-19 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sorry-The shelter owner should be .... I can't say ... it's too terrible. The character of the father - how can he even entertain he idea of keeping the dog. It is just beyond me. Buddy is not the only dog on planet earth! Immediately return the dog and then take your daughter around to all the myriad shelters that have more dogs than you can imagine so she can adopt one . The. After putting poor Teri Polo's character through all their sh-, the little girl just decides the return Buddy. What ?!?!? This thing just doesn't work.
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Locale mistakes
gvpcl26 December 2014
Most of these Hallmark stories are not for rocket scientists but are just pleasant holiday fare. And I always see mistakes. This movie was supposedly set in Massachusetts and its environs. The woman lived an hour from Boston. But when they were "in town" buying a Christmas tree you could see huge sheer cliffs and ocean in the background. Clearly NOT Massachusetts. I wish the producers would give viewers more credit for intelligence and pay more attention to details like this. My other objection is that the credits at the end are squished into about a #2 font so that you cannot read them. This is the fault of the network. I like to see location and music credits and even some of the other actors' names but it is impossible when they reduce the credits to practically nothing. Many of the channels do this and I find it frustrating.
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