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The Ultimate Gift Review

Movies.com Critics

2.0

Dave White Profile

… [like an] episode of Seventh Heaven. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    49

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Kind of like a feel-good "Saw" for churchgoers, minus the sadistic games of death.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    The plot, though of the made-for-TV ilk, makes for good discussion fodder if you're trying to impress life's lessons on children or others you love. That said, be prepared to be hit over the head by the message, edifying as it is.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck

    "Gift" comes across as a television-ready effort that would work perfectly for Hallmark.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Ultimate Gift reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Faith-based movie with obvious but positive messages.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Ultimate Gift is a faith-based, message drama that includes several deaths and has some very sad moments. A very unlikable young man is awakened by his boss using a cattle prod, left without resources to fend for himself on the streets, and is captured, beaten, and threatened with death by drunken drug dealers. There is some mild cursing ("hell," "screw him"), and several scenes in which characters drink and smoke. Spoiler alert: A little girl with leukemia, in whom the audience is heavily-invested, dies off camera. Her death may be very upsetting to kids.

  • Families can talk about the change in Jason. What is the "ultimate gift" his grandfather teaches him? How do the various secondary characters -- his materialistic mother, the "bum" who steals in the park, the "amigo" in Ecuador -- help Jason learn his lesson? How does Emily provide Jason with a model for good behavior?
  • Is it obvious that this movie has faith-based messages? Why or why not?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Thorough delivery of obvious messages: finish what you start; be free to dream; the "promised arms" of God and Jesus are meant for you; most very rich people are selfish and ignorant; true fulfillment comes from helping others. The actual "ultimate gift" is finally revealed to be a well-lived life,which includes a combination of friends, money, work, learning, family, laughter, gratitude, giving, love, problems, dreams, and making each day count.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: The leading player begins as an arrogant, lazy, hard-living bad boy; he very quickly becomes a moral, loving, philanthropic hero. One-dimensional, stereotypical characters include: oblivious, mean-spirited rich people; criminal South American drug dealers; a saintly single mom. Lots of ethnic diversity with one leading African-American mentor playing a crucial role.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A harsh sequence in which a group of guerilla drug dealers capture, imprison, and beat up the hero and his friend. They are threatened with death. A rancher thinks it's funny to awaken his employee using a cattle prod. The protagonist slaps two obnoxious bullies.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Some romantic, gentle kissing as a relationship blooms. A man observes his girlfriend (in a skimpy outfit) kissing her new love. Discussion of the circumstances surrounding a child born outside of marriage.

  • language false2

    Language: "Screw" and "hell."

  • consumerism false1

    Consumerism: Sprite, Lacoste.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Early in the movie, the leading man smokes. Several scenes show moderate social drinking: champagne on an airline flight, at Thanksgiving dinner, celebrating a library opening, relaxing at home. Drug lords chug-a-lug from a bottle as they intimidate and threaten their captives.

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