When I pressed play on A World Record Christmas, I wasn’t sure what to think. Loving several people in my life who have autism, I am always afraid of a portrayal of people with autism, because, in my opinion, I don’t think that a lot of the portrayals are accurate. I do understand that the spectrum is large and that everyone with autism is different.
The first thing that you should know about A World Record Christmas is that it is one of the most beautiful Christmas movies that you will ever watch. It is heartbreaking and heartwarming. It is filled with lessons about joy and pain, lessons about wants and needs, and it is everything that you would want a Christmas movie to be.
But bigger than that, it’s a movie about community and family. It’s a movie about growing at all ages. Yes, I said all ages. The truth is, you never stop growing and we’re reminded of that.
Growing and evolving is part of the beauty in life.
It is part of the thing that makes us all human beings.
A World Record Christmas was about fighting for yourself and realizing that sometimes what you think that you need, you don’t. But what you do need is right in front of you all along.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Charlie (Dalman) is an autistic boy determined to set a Guinness World Record by stacking 1400 Jenga blocks. His mother Marissa (DeLoach) and stepfather Eric (Bryant) encourage him to reach for his dream and they all celebrate when he gets the good news that he’ll get his chance on Christmas Eve. With his father mostly absent from his life, Charlie hopes that setting the record will draw him back in. Meanwhile, Marissa and Eric have hit a lull in their relationship and are working at igniting the spark once again. As Charlie prepares for his record attempt by practicing his Jenga stacking skills, he gets the idea to organize a fundraiser that gives the townspeople an opportunity to donate and decorate a Jenga block, with the proceeds going to benefit kids with autism. Charlie’s journey to setting the Jenga world record gives them all the chance to learn more not just about themselves, but about what family really means.
IT’S GIVING: Family. The meaning of family, the journey of family, and the community of family.
STANDOUT PERFORMANCE: Aias Dalman was amazing. He was sooo genius and so good to watch. He made you feel joy, pain, tears, and happiness for Charlie throughout the entire movie. What a great performance.
SCROOGEISH THOUGHTS: I never thought that I would say this, but my Scrooge heart was melted right away. It took five minutes before I found myself smiling and just a few more before I was a puddle of tears.
Marissa and Eric are a married couple that is a little disconnected. Maybe it’s the seven year itch and maybe it’s life, but they are doing everything that they can just to find their way. Their life is wrapped up in their son, Charlie. He’s a good kid, who doesn’t seem to let autism get in the way of his life, though he does feel that others make fun of him for being autistic.
And Charlie thinks that his father isn’t in his life because he’s ashamed of him, because he is autistic. He’s been emailing and trying to reach out to his father, who doesn’t respond. Eric, his stepdad, is always there for him and though Eric desperately wants to be called Dad, Charlie isn’t ready. He doesn’t get the concept that he can have more than one Dad and that a father is someone who shows up for you.
Marissa and Eric are doing everything that they can to give Charlie the best life. They want to give him everything in life and that includes cheering him on to achieve a world record. It’s definitely heartbreaking when you see Charlie say that he thinks if he accomplishes a world record then his Dad will be proud of him.
TBH, I have never wanted to jump in a television and kick anyone more than I have wanted to with this movie. Charlies biological father is a douchebag who truly is the worst. He’s lived close to his son for two years and he hasn’t come to see him. Like seriously, the worst. Your child needs you.
I think, that though I do understand that these things happen in life and that parents aren’t there, it never gets easier to see things like this. It doesn’t. The disregard that this man has for his son is disgusting. I can understand Marissa’s fear of contacting him, but I also think that she did the right thing by doing so. She had to be there for her son.
She had to try.
There is nothing in life more fierce than a mothers love and Nikki DeLoach does an amazing job showing that. She’s a mom who is feeling complex things – trying to please everyone, but knowing that she can’t do that. She’s trying to protect her son, but she also knows that she can’t protect him from everything. I think that it’s something that DeLoach portrays very flawlessly and TBH, you forget seeing that this is a movie, you think that she’s actually Marissa and she’s Charlie’s Mom and she’s going to protect her son – no matter what.
As the movie progresses, we’re watching Charlie experience all of the things that a teenage boy starts to experience and Marissa and Eric guiding him along the way. You see their devotion to their son and their want for him to have everything that he needs. You see them marvel at all of the things that he knows how to do, by instinct, and his growth from having his first crush.
And you see them guide him through that heartbreak when she doesn’t return his feelings. They’re thankful that he was able to connect, when they didn’t know if that was a possibility.
The truest moment of the beauty of family and community is when Charlie falls just short of breaking the record. He’s overwhelmed when his father doesn’t show up and breaks down. I had to watch this through all of my tears, because my heart broke seeing Charlie feel like he was a disappointment.
It broke my heart that Charlie didn’t see his worth. Everyone is worthy of a life lived with love and support. Everyone is special. There is no one that isn’t and there is no one in this world that should ever feel that bad about himself. People should see the beauty in who they are and the love that they have.
What the most joyous moment was for me, was when Marissa talked Charlie into trying again for his own satisfaction. She knew that it wasn’t going to be for the world record, but what it would be, was for his own knowledge that he could do it. It would be for his own knowledge that he could do it.
What Hallmark did here – I am not sure of if they wanted to find redemption for Charlie’s biological Dad or if they wanted us to hate him, but we see that he does show up and he does walk away when he sees his son hugging Eric. Personally I was confused as to how to feel at the end, because I still felt as though he was the worst.
A World Record Christmas felt like an exercise in love, acceptance, and found family. It felt like a moment of examining our thoughts on people and to stop prejudging. Our judgements hold us back.
This movie reminded me of the true meaning of Christmas
CHRISTMAS CHEER: 🎄🎄🎄🎄🎄