Watch Kids' Reviews of
CHRISTMAS KID, THE

What to know: Terrific character development, original uplifting story.
CHRISTMAS KID, THE is in the KIDS FIRST! Film Festival - it may not be a regular, endorsed title
Recommended age 10-18
110 minutes
Screenplay
CARMEN LINDSAY
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CHRISTMAS KID, THE cover image
An orphaned boy ends up in a group home, terribly missing his family he visited by the real Saint Nicholas who inspires him to spread the true meaning of Christmas. In the process of doing so, he affects many people's lives including a depressed teacher and the caregiver at the group home.

Its greatest strengths are in the character development, particularly of the protagonist, Baker, but also of Sherry, the caretaker, Quin, her husband and the depressed teacher. Another strength is in the storyline and its uplifting ending. Its greatest weakness is that the scenes are oftentimes brief and choppy. Also, there is a lack of transition between some scenes which makes you wonder how "they got there."

There is definitely some commercial potential here. First, it has a Christmas theme, which is always popular. Second it has a Christian theme, which appeals to that niche market. Third, it addresses disenfranchised kids, struggling to survive in this world. To some degree it also addresses disenfranchised adults and their struggles. Last, it has an uplifting ending and a spirit of hope, which is paramount to what we look for at KIDS FIRST

The story concept is not entirely original, but it definitely has an original twist to it. Orphaned kids dealing with problems is a theme that goes back to decades, if not centuries, in storytelling. The success of the young boy as a YouTuber, is a contemporary twist. On one hand, the flashbacks to Baker with his parents provide a good backstory to what happened to his parents and how he was orphaned. However, the clarity of the plot falls short at other times. There are several times when the scene jumps from one to the next without a clear transition of what happened or why. An example is on page 56, when Baker suddenly moves into Val's apartment. We say him packing things up on the previous page/scene, but have no idea where he is going or with whom. That definitely needs some smoothing out. Another issue I have is "who got the money and why." All of a sudden Baker is an overnight success and the next thing we know Val is buying a house. Why did she get the money? There are strict laws about this in terms of child entertainers and I felt uncomfortable that Val suddenly can buy a house but we don't see Baker with money. Then, there's the issue of Baker's coughing while at Val's house and working in small, enclosed spaces with toxic chemicals. We never find out what caused Baker's coughing, but it's sort of implied that the chemicals might have caused that.

Structurally, it's pretty good, with the exception that there are too many very very short scenes and too many characters at the group home to keep track of. We are not really engaged in the group home boys, so following them is disadvantageous. It makes for a choppy flow in the story development. I think some of these could be eliminated without losing the gist of the story. The character description and development are definitely where this screenplays shines, particularly with Baker, the protagonist. His development is pretty believable as he slowly changes. Sherry, the caretaker at the group home is also well developed as is her husband Quin. Val and Hobbs are also pretty well defined and developed. The other boys from the group home are rather inconsequential, although how they came around to "rescue" him at the end was refreshing, especially since they had been so mean to him previously. It is very stereotypical that they only liked him once he became famous, so there is that to consider. I think most tweens and teens can easily relate to all of these characters.

The pace of the screenplay is pretty consistent and holds your interest. As stated before, my only issue is that it is sometimes very choppy and not all transitions are clear to the audience.

As far as accuracy, there may be some issues about things such as the social worker, Val, taking Baker in to life with her. I was more concerned about her benefitting financially from his success. Otherwise, it seems pretty on target.

Grammatically, there are a few errors, but for the most part it's entirely acceptable.

The only changes I would recommend are 1. Eliminate the choppiness and 2. Even out the transitions that are unclear.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Juror #12, KIDS FIRST!

An orphaned boy ends up in a group home, terribly missing his family he visited by the real Saint Nicholas who inspires him to spread the true meaning of Christmas. In the process of doing so, he affects many people's lives including a depressed teacher and the caregiver at the group home.

Its greatest strengths are in the character development, particularly of the protagonist, Baker, but also of Sherry, the caretaker, Quin, her husband and the depressed teacher. Another strength is in the storyline and its uplifting ending. Its greatest weakness is that the scenes are oftentimes brief and choppy. Also, there is a lack of transition between some scenes which makes you wonder how "they got there."

There is definitely some commercial potential here. First, it has a Christmas theme, which is always popular. Second it has a Christian theme, which appeals to that niche market. Third, it addresses disenfranchised kids, struggling to survive in this world. To some degree it also addresses disenfranchised adults and their struggles. Last, it has an uplifting ending and a spirit of hope, which is paramount to what we look for at KIDS FIRST

The story concept is not entirely original, but it definitely has an original twist to it. Orphaned kids dealing with problems is a theme that goes back to decades, if not centuries, in storytelling. The success of the young boy as a YouTuber, is a contemporary twist. On one hand, the flashbacks to Baker with his parents provide a good backstory to what happened to his parents and how he was orphaned. However, the clarity of the plot falls short at other times. There are several times when the scene jumps from one to the next without a clear transition of what happened or why. An example is on page 56, when Baker suddenly moves into Val's apartment. We say him packing things up on the previous page/scene, but have no idea where he is going or with whom. That definitely needs some smoothing out. Another issue I have is "who got the money and why." All of a sudden Baker is an overnight success and the next thing we know Val is buying a house. Why did she get the money? There are strict laws about this in terms of child entertainers and I felt uncomfortable that Val suddenly can buy a house but we don't see Baker with money. Then, there's the issue of Baker's coughing while at Val's house and working in small, enclosed spaces with toxic chemicals. We never find out what caused Baker's coughing, but it's sort of implied that the chemicals might have caused that.

Structurally, it's pretty good, with the exception that there are too many very very short scenes and too many characters at the group home to keep track of. We are not really engaged in the group home boys, so following them is disadvantageous. It makes for a choppy flow in the story development. I think some of these could be eliminated without losing the gist of the story. The character description and development are definitely where this screenplays shines, particularly with Baker, the protagonist. His development is pretty believable as he slowly changes. Sherry, the caretaker at the group home is also well developed as is her husband Quin. Val and Hobbs are also pretty well defined and developed. The other boys from the group home are rather inconsequential, although how they came around to "rescue" him at the end was refreshing, especially since they had been so mean to him previously. It is very stereotypical that they only liked him once he became famous, so there is that to consider. I think most tweens and teens can easily relate to all of these characters.

The pace of the screenplay is pretty consistent and holds your interest. As stated before, my only issue is that it is sometimes very choppy and not all transitions are clear to the audience.

As far as accuracy, there may be some issues about things such as the social worker, Val, taking Baker in to life with her. I was more concerned about her benefitting financially from his success. Otherwise, it seems pretty on target.

Grammatically, there are a few errors, but for the most part it's entirely acceptable.

The only changes I would recommend are 1. Eliminate the choppiness and 2. Even out the transitions that are unclear.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by Juror #12, KIDS FIRST!

An orphaned boy wishing for family is visited by the real Saint Nicholas, who inspires him to spread the true meaning of Christmas and help a depressed teacher learn to live again.
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