The Christmas Candle

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The Christmas Candle
The Christmas Candle film poster.jpg
Directed by John Stephenson
Produced by Tom Newman
Hannah Leader
Steve Christian
Ivan Dunleavy
Huw Penallt Jones
Brian Lockhart[1]
Written by Candace Lee
Eric Newman
Max Lucado[2]
Starring Hans Matheson
Samantha Barks
Lesley Manville
Sylvester McCoy
James Cosmo
Susan Boyle
Barbara Flynn
John Hannah
Edited by Emma E. Hickox
Distributed by Pinewood Studios (UK)
EchoLight Studios (US)
Release date
  • 25 November 2013 (2013-11-25) (United States)[3]
  • 13 December 2013 (2013-12-13) (United Kingdom)
Country United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Box office $2,258,620[4]

The Christmas Candle is a 2013 British-American Christmas drama film directed by John Stephenson.


It is based on Max Lucado's novel The Christmas Candle. The film is an Impact and Big Book Media Production presented by Pinewood Pictures being distributed by Rick Santorum's film production company EchoLight Studios in the US and by Pinewood Pictures in the UK.[5] It is Susan Boyle's debut on the big screen.[5][6] Boyle also contributes an original song to the film, "Miracle Hymn".[7]


It was shot in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and in the Isle of Man.[1] Locations included Stanway House,[8] Tudor House in the Worcestershire village of Broadway,[9] and the Wiltshire village of Biddestone, including the White Horse pub.[10] Studio work was completed on the Isle of Man in the Mountain View Media Village studios in Lezayre.[11]


In the fictional village of Gladbury, every twenty-five years an angel visits the candlemaker and bestows a miracle upon whomever lights the Christmas Candle. The whole town believes in the candle except the new pastor, Rev. David Richmond. It is 1890 and the Haddingtons make candles and the town and church use them. It is the Christmas season and the pastor preaches the Advent themes and lights a candle each Sunday. He tries to convince the town folk to believe in God and not candle miracles.

The angel appears and marks a special candle. Who ever lights that candle will receive a miracle. Mrs. Haddington wants to keep the candle for herself to have her son to return and live in Gladbury. The magic candle is misplaced but Bea passes out candles to a boy who can't talk, a woman who wants to find her husband, a blind man and twenty-six other candles to people who all have individual needs. The preacher wants people to pray to God and not seek hope and change in a candle.

Reverend Richmond at his own expense has the church wired with new and modern lightbulbs as a further example for folk to not rely upon candles. At a church service he has the candles extinguished and the lights turned on. It goes terribly wrong. The bulbs explode and a fire is started. A man even dies in the excitement. Few parishioners attend next Sunday. Christmas Eve service comes and the candle miracle is to be revealed. Many people think that they had received the blessed candle for Mrs. Haddington passed out many candles and not just one. The boy can talk, a man got a job, a woman's debts were forgiven, the woman is engaged and the blind man could see just before he died. The minister thinks God has answered their prayers.

The Christmas candle has not yet been lit. The Pastor had sent for pregnant Ruth to come to Gladbury. Her wagon has wrecked and the candle is lighted and she is rescued. It turns out that the Haddington's son is the father of Ruth's child and he does indeed return to town. Even the minister's faith is restored in miracles.


The Christmas Candle makes use of the Bible and the main character, the pastor, quotes Jesus from the Gospels while focusing on the Advent season.[12] The viewpoint of the movie is a mixture of Protestant and Roman Catholic theology, where the main character is struggling to find his lost faith.[13]



The film received 18% positive reviews on the aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[14] The New York Daily News described it as a "Dickens-meets-Sunday-school movie", and that it was "as artless as the setup [was] muddled".[15] The New York Post referred to it as a "throwback, made-for-TV-style film" with a "cheesy climax". The Arizona Republic judged it as "resolutely stiff and hollow".[16]

Rare positive reviews included The Portsmouth News, which gave the film 4 stars writing "Boyle's performance is endearing and her stunning vocal talent continues to dazzle while the gentle chemistry between Matheson and Barks complements the piece without upstaging the film's central ideas."[17] The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Hammy histrionics of a Hallmark movie are present, but its message of community and faith shines brighter."[18] The Dove Foundation awarded 5 Doves as a "Family-Approved" film.[19]

The film expanded from five to over 390 venues for its second week.[16]


  1. ^ a b Pinewood Group
  2. ^ Roberta Miller, Screenwriter Candace Lee on new film Christmas Candle, Christianity Today, 15 May 2013
  3. ^
  4. ^ The Christmas Candle at Box Office Mojo
  5. ^ a b Caitlin McDecvitt, Rick Santorum to release a Christmas movie, Politico, 9/25/13
  6. ^ Stuart, Kemp. "Susan Boyle to Make Feature Film Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Susan Boyle's FIFTH studio album in four years, 'Home for Christmas'". Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  8. ^ Article in the Gloucestershire Echo. Accessed 6 December 2015.
  9. ^ Article in Worcester News
  10. ^ Wiltshire Times article]. Accessed 6 December 2015
  11. ^ IOM Today article. Accessed 6 December 2015.
  12. ^ Pronechen, Joseph. "'The Christmas Candle' Celebrates Advent". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  13. ^ Rives, Steve. "The Christmas Candle Movie, by Max Lucado: A Review". Jesus:Theology:Archaeolgy:Bible. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  14. ^ The Christmas Candle at Rotten Tomatoes
  15. ^ Joe Neumaier. "'The Christmas Candle,' 'Narco Cultura,' 'Everyday,' 'Cold Turkey': movie reviews". New York Daily News. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  16. ^ a b Andrew Pulver. "Rick Santorum's Christmas movie proves flop". Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  17. ^ "The Christmas Candle". The Portsmouth News. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  18. ^ Martin, Tsai. "Review: 'Christmas Candle' beams with holiday spirit". LA Times. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  19. ^ "The Christmas Candle". The Dove Foundation. Retrieved 13 December 2013.

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