WHAT TO SEE: Multiplying acts of kindness, despite personal hardship
The Least of These: A Christmas Story
Tayla Lynn, G. Michael Nicolosi, Emma Faith, Duane Allen, Deborah Allen
Run time: 101 min • Not Rated
Single mom rose and her seven-year-old daughter Katy don’t have it easy. They sleep in a junkyard vehicle, tidy up in a diner restroom, and face a future as bleak as it is uncertain. And little Katy has never had a Christmas present.
Rose was fortunate to work as a waitress at the diner. When she first arrived there pleading for a meal for her daughter in exchange for some dishwashing, the proprietor hired her on the spot. He even allows Rose to sell her paintings there, although she chooses to do so anonymously. And they do sell – mainly to one mysterious buyer.
Meanwhile, a storefront bell-ringing Santa becomes a regular at the diner for breakfast, and after some initial friction with Rose and Katy he takes an active interest in their family situation – just as Katy does in his.
For Rose and Katy, their kindness toward others is returned a hundredfold, and from places they’d least expect. To accept the opportunities presented by others, Rose must get past her self-effacing mantras: “I’m just a country girl,” “I’m just a waitress who paints.” And little Katy, despite her own impoverished life, expresses concern for “the least of these,” those less fortunate than even she is.
A bit different from your usual Christmas fare, The Least of These isn’t a modern classic by any means. The final third drags a bit, the dots in the storyline don’t all connect well, and there are some obvious puzzling questions (why do they offer Rose a job but let her keep living in an abandoned car?). But the story in this family-friendly film has some nice touches that get us away from the usual crop of Christmas-themed Santa knockoffs and rom-coms. And it will give children and grandchildren a peek at how some of “the least of these” around us must live.
GERALD KORSON is a Legatus magazine staff writer.