When EchoLight studios announced that it had hired former presidential candidate Rick Santorum as its new CEO, you could almost hear critics sharpening their knives. When Santorum's company fired its president and chief strategist, then filed a lawsuit claiming they were orchestrating a smear campaign against EchoLight, a company that some press releases claimed they helped co-found, punch lines seemed inevitable. When The Hollywood Reporter weighed in to say it was unaware of any attempts to use that press outlet in the smear campaign, it started to feel like the studio was scripting its first comedy, not producing its first film.

But as in sports, in the entertainment industry there is only one way to quiet skeptics and silence laughter. The studio's first major movie would go a long way towards either cementing public perception or changing it. The Christmas Candle is that first film.

And it's not a bad one. Aimed squarely at the evangelical audience, it practically trumpets its faith film identity rather than shying away from it. But it earns its respect, rather than demanding it with circle-the-wagon pleas to the faithful.

Based on a novel by Max Lucado, The Christmas Candle revolves around a conflict between a progressive, skeptical minister, David Richmond (Matheson), and the community of Gladbury that hires him. Each holiday the candle maker and his wife are visited by an angel who touches just one candle. According to tradition, the community member who lights that candle and prays receives a Christmas miracle.

Richmond doesn't like the tradition; he wants the community to make its own miracles by loving one another and meeting one another's needs. "Why one," he asks in a ...

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The Christmas Candle
Our Rating
2½ Stars - Fair
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
PG (For mild thematic elements.)
Genre
Directed By
John Stephenson
Run Time
1 hour 40 minutes
Cast
Hans Matheson, Samantha Barks, Lesley Manville, Sylvester McCoy
Theatre Release
November 15, 2013 by EchoLight Studios
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