Our faith-based picture fares well in its initial contact with the critics.
Miracle on Christmas, written and directed by yours truly, is our debut feature film, so the whole experience has been a novelty. That means we ran into some things that were completely unanticipated, like all the snow on location melting away because of a spike in temperatures halfway through production - yikes! - and team members leaving before shooting was complete because of previous commitments, et cetera.
In a word, filmmaking is a great opportunity to place one's trust fully in the Lord, because with so many moving parts, unpredictability is absolutely predictable. Another thing as certain as the sun's rising in the east is that critics will render judgement on your work. And we'd be lying if we said there wasn't a bit of trepidation at that prospect.
But as surely as a bad review can hurt the movie, a good one can really help it, so they are a must. That being said, we are pleased to report that the first critic's take on Miracle on Christmas is a very positive one! And it comes from a highly esteemed organization called Movieguide, which has been reviewing movies from a Christian perspective since the 1980s and has more than 700,000 followers on Facebook.
The review, which you can read in full here, gave our movie top marks for both quality and content: four stars out of four in the former category and a "+4" in the latter. The review summarized the picture as, "a heartfelt drama about one woman overcoming a crisis of faith through the power of Christmas," adding that it "highly commends this Christmas movie, Miracle on Christmas."
Movieguide particularly enjoyed the film's "strong Christian, Biblical, moral worldview," the classic Christmas carols - Oh, Holy Night, Joy to the World, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem - and the uplifting nature of the overall narrative. That is not to say, however, that we escaped unscathed, being dinged in the review over a "few scenes (that) could have been better edited" and some "light violence," as it was termed, which involved a character throwing out his back and a football bouncing off a car...that, in a word, we found befuddling.
These, though, are but trifles in the grand scheme of things and we could scarcely be happier with this review, one, and are most grateful to Movieguide for covering our movie, two. There may be other critics who take a crack at Miracle on Christmas, and we can only hope and pray they are as favorably disposed to it.
The movie, which stars Erin Bethea (Fireproof) and Jason Burkey (I Can Only Imagine), releases next Tuesday, November 3rd, and is available now for pre-order at Amazon, Walmart and Target. You can find links to purchase it at the Miracle on Christmas website.