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Miracle on 34th Street Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Not better than the original, but still smiley holiday fare.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this treacly holiday film introduces the idea that Santa Claus might not be real, and comes to the conclusion that he is indeed real. The film includes several mild physical altercations between Santa Claus and another man, including one where Santa knocks the man down with his cane. A fake Santa is seen drinking alcohol and one brief scene shows a bar full of men dressed as Santas drinking beer and some acting drunk. A fake Santa's pants slip down a bit as he climbs a ladder, revealing the top of his rear end. A bit of mild language and yelling pops up.

  • Families can talk about Santa Claus and other magical figures. What do we believe about these figures and why? Do you think believing in things you can't see or prove is important? What other things do we believe in even though we can't see them?
  • What other tales about Santa Claus do you enjoy? How are they similar?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: The courtroom scenes provide a few historical lessons on the origins of the Santa Claus story.

  • message true2

    Messages: Explicitly positive messages around faith in things we can't prove, an appreciation for magic and mystery, the importance of fantasy in children's lives, and the value of helping loved ones. Some mixed messages here because Santa talks a lot about how Christmasis about faith and generosity, but is squarely focused on what giftschildren want.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Kringle is a model of generosity and kindness, though he's a bit hotheaded in this film. The young girl acts intellectually older than her age, but also uses her own judgment to decide her beliefs about Santa. The mother is guarded, but her heart warms near the end.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence and scariness: Kringle gets very angry with a fake Santa and in one scene knocks him down with his cane after the man baits him by suggesting he is a pedophile.

  • sex false2

    Sexy stuff: The romantic relationship between the mother and her friend the lawyer is a strong thread throughout the film. They kiss several times. He proposes marriage. And at the end the film suggests she's pregnant.

  • language false2

    Language: Several angry arguments occur through the film, some which include language like "fool," "big fat fake," and "cripple."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Fake Santa drinks from a liquor bottle before he gets into the holiday parade sleigh. One brief scene shows a room full of men dressed as Santas drinking beer and acting drunk.

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