Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square

Content Caution

MediumKids
LightTeens
LightAdults
Dolly Parton portrays an angel floating on a cloud talking to a frightened woman.

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Kristin Smith

Movie Review

Regina never thought she’d return to her hometown, the same town her father owned and passed on to her. But when business called, she answered.

Now, she’s serving eviction notices to every person who lives there as she prepares to make room for the business deal of a lifetime. After all, what’s more important, money or memories?

The only problem is that everyone has to be out by Christmas Eve. Desperate and weary, the townspeople rally against Scrooge-esque Regina in one last effort to save their beloved space. If they’re not willing to fight for the place they love, who will?

An angel, that’s who. See, there’s an angel who knows why Regina is running from her past and ruining everyone’s future. And she is determined to remind Regina about the true meaning of Christmas while saving the holiday season.

Positive Elements

We learn that Christmas is a time for caring, sharing, kindness and spreading blessings no matter what. Similarly, we learn that it’s better to give than to receive, that making memories is far more valuable than money, that it’s important to spread light wherever you go and that our past failures do not define who we are.

A young girl extends grace and kindness to Regina when no one else does. Her example is what begins to soften Regina to others. It’s also what helps Regina understand that her “grief is love with nowhere to go.”

Pastor Hathaway and his wife struggle with infertility issues but they never allow it to dampen their spirits or cause them to give up hope.

[Spoiler Warning] Although Regina begins as a cold-hearted woman running from her past, she transforms into a kind, loving, forgiving woman who mends her broken relationships and asks for forgiveness.

Spiritual Elements

Angels in this film have almost godlike powers, and they use those powers in heroic ways. An angel sings that she knows the real depths of people’s desires, passions, troubles and needs. She also says that she can make people’s dreams come true.

An angel sent from heaven visits Regina and helps her become a better person, encouraging a change of heart with patience and understanding. This same angel teaches Regina to be a blessing to mankind and that faith is the key to the impossible. Regina prays to that angel, asking that she help a young girl and put in a good word “with the Big Guy up there.”

Pastor Hathaway and his wife vaguely talk about their ministry and vision for the town. The townspeople, including the pastor, refer to Regina as “the wicked witch.” They also call her a “mean old hag” and say “bless her heart” when they really want to use harsh names instead. Pastor Hathaway and his congregation joke about Regina, saying she might be a witch who can cast a spell.

Pastor Hathaway tells his wife, “You’re in my prayers,” and he says he’s so glad “God saw fit to bless me with you.” He also tells his wife that he hopes God can forgive “a little white lie.”

Regina’s close friend says that when we can’t see or feel God, we should still pray and praise Him. A young girl’s father tells her that when she sees a bright star, it’s really her mother “shining down” on her. A woman tells a friend that there’s “no cussing in the church house.”

Sexual Content

We hear that a main character in the film was heartbroken when she thought her boyfriend was into another woman. As a result, she found a guy who made her feel “desirable and pretty”; the two had sex, and she got pregnant.

Couples kiss, flirt and hold hands. A few women (like Dolly Parton) wear cleavage-baring tops. Regina’s friend says, “I’ll tell you where to stick it.”

Two effeminate male hairdressers appear to be a couple (although it isn’t completely clear).

An angel uses her supernatural powers to make a previously infertile woman capable of conceiving.  

Violent Content

Regina’s close friend tells her that if Regina doesn’t fix her attitude, she will get “struck by lightning.” The same friend jokes that she might pray for Regina’s death.  A few townspeople also joke about poisoning Regina.

A young girl blames herself for her mother’s death, while her father blames Regina. (We learn that his wife got into a car accident and drowned.) A father and his daughter get into a car accident and his daughter nearly dies (we only see them pull up in an ambulance, slightly bloodied).

Regina mentions that her father died. A woman believes that she has a brain tumor and will die.

Crude or Profane Language

The phrase “oh my god” is used five times. “D–n” is heard four times and “h—” once. Regina’s close friend tells her to stop her “BS” (the paraphrased, “bulls—“). Regina says “stupid” a few times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Regina wonders if “booze is good” for a specific illness. A bar owner’s young daughter serves Regina a shot of whiskey.

Other Negative Elements

Regina can be greedy, rude, cold and dismissive of others’ feelings and concerns. For example, she serves eviction notices to an entire town full of people and changes the stipulations midway through the process. She also yells at people, young and old.

[Spoiler Warning] We learn that a woman got pregnant in high school and her father put her baby up for adoption without her consent. This tragedy deeply affected the woman and she lived the rest of her life embittered toward her father, harboring a deep resentment.

Conclusion

Carolers and angels and music, oh my!

Welcome to Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square, Netflix’s latest holiday-themed musical stuffed with tons of songs, plenty of cheer and a few predictable problems. 

This PG-rated movie includes a few profane and mean words. Angels are viewed as the real reason for the season, and there’s a surprising twist that involves a young teen girl getting pregnant and having to put her baby up for adoption against her will. Not a simple plot. 

But problems aside, this choreographed flick focuses on the power of grace and forgiveness. And it teaches viewers that the things that matter most in life aren’t for sale.

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Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).