Andrew May, Jack Hourigan, Helen Welch
William C. Laufer
William C. Laufer and Tiffany Laufer
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Christmas at Maxwell's
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
- Christmas as Maxwell’s is a poignant holiday film about life, love, and faith in the midst of suffering.
Created by father and daughter filmmakers, William and Tiffany Laufer, the film follows the plight of the Austin family as they approach what could be their last Christmas together.
Mother and wife Suzie (Jack Hourigan) is battling cancer, and the most recent prognosis from her doctor does not sound good. In attempt to have a memorable Christmas together, her husband Andrew (Andrew May) takes her and their two children to their summer home on Lake Erie for the holiday. While they are there they encounter Gus, an unexpected visitor from a local nursing home. The kids bond with him instantly and the family soon learns that this mysterious man has some surprises in store for them.
Much of the story is told through flashbacks. This proves to be an effective method to explain how high school sweethearts Andrew and Suzie ended up together after going their separate ways early on. It also brings to light some of their past failures, about which Andrew still feels quite guilty. As he makes peace with his wife’s condition, he must also come to terms with his past.
The film is based on Laufer’s real-life experiences with his own mother, who was diagnosed with cancer when he was a child. Given the news that she would only live a few months, his mom informed the family that they would not change the way they had lived. She encouraged them to live each day the fullest. They did just that, and her cancer went into remission for 16 years before returning.
The film is full of Christian symbols and references to spirituality. The characters are easily relatable as they struggle to hold onto their faith during a time of crisis.
The cast give solid performances, especially Charlie and Julia May who star as the two Austin children. May’s father also stars in the film as Gus, and Laufer appears in the film as a catholic priest.
Though produced on a low budget, the movie is beautifully photographed with rich warming images of Christmas and winter along the banks of Lake Erie.
Apart from a few minor instances of bad language, the film is quite family friendly. However, the themes of illness and death could be too heavy for young children.
Overall, Christmas at Maxwell’s is a heartwarming holiday tale that lovingly illustrates the power of faith and the fact that miracles can and do still happen.
Christmas at Maxwell's is available on DVD and includes several enjoyable bonus features including a behind the scenes featurette, a commentary track, and deleted scenes.
For more information, visit www.christmasatmaxwells.com.
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More articles by Belinda Elliott on CBN.com
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