Of Mice and Murderers

How Christian critics agreed—and disagreed—on Stuart Little, The Green Mile, and other holiday films.

Business was booming over the holidays as healthy sales helped propel 1999's box office take to a new high. For those who avoided the holiday rush, here's the lowdown from Christian critics on this weekend's most popular films—including several worthwhile family films and a couple of impressive, thoughtful features for Christian adults.

Stuart Little ($11.2 million)

This adaptation of E.B. White's 1945 children's story continues to dominate the box office and continues to elicit superlatives from Christian critics: "This is one little that deserves to go really big," raves Focus on the Family's Bob Waliszewski. World notes the film's worthy message that "in any family, every member is important." The U.S. Catholic Conference lauds this "cheery tale [with] ample visual appeal," yet warns that "purists may find the neatly happy ending a cop-out to the author's more probing tale of self-discovery." Angela Leigh, guest reviewer for Christian Spotlight, didn't find the movie's storyline alterations problematic; she both praised the film for its "loving family portrayed so respectfully" and for motivating her family "to dust off our old paperback and sit down together as a family to re-read an old favorite."

The Green Mile ($9.7 million)

Tom Hanks' latest, a Depression-era prison drama about a miracle-worker on death row, has remained buoyant at the box office after more than a month of release, despite mixed reviews from both Christian and mainstream critics. (Check out our earlier coverage from mid- and late December.) Two new reviews available this week were fairly indicative of the opinion split: The U.S. Catholic Conference complimented the film for "affecting character studies of good and evil men with spiritual undertones ...

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