“Believe” (Freestyle)

Shawnee Smith, Ryan O'Quinn, Danielle Nicolet and Issac Ryan Brown star in a scene from the movie "Believe." The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. (CNS/Believe the Film)

By Catholic News Service

Evangelical Christian faith hovers in the background of this holiday-themed drama about a cash-strapped factory owner (Ryan O’Quinn) facing both the collapse of his business and the end of the annual Christmas fair his family has long sponsored in his small hometown. As he struggles to decide whether to sell his company to save the festival — from which many of his neighbors make a substantial profit, though he puts it on for free — he draws support from his best friend since childhood (Shawnee Smith) and from a duo of newfound acquaintances: an impoverished, ailing mother (Danielle Nicolet) and her indefatigably cheerful little boy (Issac Ryan Brown).

As its Job-like protagonist doggedly holds out for a Capraesque happy ending, writer-director Billy Dickson’s film mostly avoids preachiness and keeps the imperative of its title Bible-based but nondenominational. Though not as rose-colored in its outlook as some religiously-inspired projects — O’Quinn’s character doesn’t shy away from confrontation — the movie, which is suitable for most age groups, lacks polish.

Some nonlethal violence, a single crass term. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

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