Christmas Jars (PG)

In a Word: Uplifting

Christmas Jars 3

 Markian Tarasiuk plays Ian Maxwell and Jeni Ross plays Hope Jensen in 'Christmas Jars'.

Christmas is on its way and in many households that usually means Christmas films. But with the coronavirus pandemic having disrupted movie production all around the world, there's likely to be fewer to choose from this year. In Australia, however, following its release in the US last year, Christmas Jars steps into that gap.

Based on The New York Times best-selling book by Jason F Wright, Christmas Jars tells the story of 22-year-old Hope Jensen (played by Jeni Ross), an orphan who becomes an aspiring reporter at a local news website. She's having a tough time - her adoptive mother dies, her boss refuses to see her potential as a journalist and then her home is robbed, all in short succession - when she finds a jar filled with cash left on her doorstep; a 'Christmas Jar'.

"Using romance, humour and some mystery to build a Christmas feel-good story, Christmas Jars is an uplifting film that will find a ready audience for those looking for a diverting tale around this time of year. And, particularly for those who haven't encountered it before, it sheds welcome light on a global phenomenon that's all about passing on the blessing during the annual celebration of Christ's birth."

That sets her off on a journey to find out who left the jar. Discovering her gift is part of a broader movement of 'Christmas Jar' giving, she pitches it as a possible story and is given two weeks to unearth the truth behind the phenomena. The quest leads her to numerous people who have been blessed by receiving a Christmas jar and eventually lead to her Ian Maxwell (Markian Tarasiuk), part of a family that runs a furniture restoration business. Warmly welcomed in by the family yet determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, Hope soon finds herself torn between doing her job as an "undercover" reporter and her growing affection for her new-found friends.

Using romance, humour and some mystery to build a Christmas feel-good story, Christmas Jars is an uplifting film that will find a ready audience for those looking for a diverting tale around this time of year. And, particularly for those who haven't encountered it before, it sheds welcome light on a global phenomenon that's all about passing on the blessing during the annual celebration of Christ's birth.

While there are times when the film can slide towards being overly earnest, the acting is mostly solid and the storyline contains enough twists and turns to keep your attention. Not to mention that added element of the story being based around the real phenomenon of the 'Christmas Jars' (although the story itself is obviously fictional). It won't appeal to all but is sure to find an audience among some of those looking for a PG-rated Christmas-flavoured story.

Christmas Jars is on limited release in Australia, so check the website for details of where to see it.