The pendulum always swings back. To offset the darkness of Day 11’s movie review, The Christmas Bunny, 2010, written, directed, and produced by Tom Seidman, evokes emotion along the lines of Lassie Come Home, and Black Beauty. I found it at my library, and on Netflix.
This story has heart.
When nine year old Julia arrives on December 23 at her third foster home in almost as many months, she refuses to speak and doesn’t like to share. Especially her most prized possession, a VCR tape of The Velveteen Rabbit, which she watches obsessively.
Julia clings to the video as her lifeboat – the only thing that’s “real” to her.
And why wouldn’t she? With an unreliable drug-addicted mother who slaps her for not sleeping in the bathtub of a seedy hotel room as instructed, Julia’s head must spin with all the sudden changes she’s subjected to as she’s channeled through a bureaucratic system by a jaded social worker, who suspects her new foster parents want her only because of receiving state monies since the dad’s out of work. But, she’s not watching out for Julia, giving callous blanket advice in her rush to check another child off her list.
Even though the new foster mother welcomes her with open arms, Julia’s not taking any chances. She’s there for the ride, but she’s not participating.
The only thing that elicits a positive reaction is an abandoned domestic rabbit after it’s unfortunately shot by her foster brother and his cousin with the new BB guns they had to try out on Christmas Eve. (Yes, they get in big trouble.)
Any parent’s worst nightmare ensues – taking a stray creature to the veterinarian on Christmas Day and after x-rays confirm a fractured leg from the BB, being given the choice of:
- Operating – $800-$1000 – best option IF the rabbit starts eating again.
- Splinting – $500 and no guarantee this will work.
- Not an option because these really are good parents.
- Taking the bunny to a woman called The Rabbit Lady, who might be able to get it to eat and help nurse it back naturally.
You guessed it. The Rabbit Lady is a no-nonsense character who’s retreated into her safe world of saving mainly rabbits. She sees something in Julia, and conditionally agrees to help. I marveled at the freedom Florence Henderson must have felt as she threw herself into a role I’ve never seen her play before.
There’s more drama than you might expect through the rest of the movie, but I don’t want to give anything away. Let’s just say I shed a few tears (as I did in the aforementioned films).
This movie has no slick special effects. It’s not a snappy romcom, nor is it heavy on all things Christmas. Some might find this movie overly sentimental and dare I say “homey”, but I found it to be thought-provoking, hopeful, realistic, and touching.
The beauty of the Western Michigan landscape at Christmastime also deserves a “YUGE” shout out.
I give this movie 4.5 of 5 (What else?) Christmas bunnies. ♥♥♥♥.5