The Candlemaker (film #12 on Santa’s Holiday Collection DVD (Allegro, 2006)).

This religious cartoon tells the gentle tale of a candlemaker’s young son who is given the task of making one of the altar candles for the church’s Christmas Eve service, and who is ashamed when, after doing a slipshod job at the last minute, the candle doesn’t light. He redeems himself by remaking the candle, just as Jesus can remake a soul. I’m usually pretty hard on religious stuff, as I can’t stomach the usual self-righteousness and treacly sentimentality one finds in such things. But I found it impossible to fault this cartoon in any way. It is never preachy, nor does it ever get sappy. It’s religious message is a reassuring one of forgiveness, which I find refreshing, and it does it all with the lightest and gentlest of touches. This is genuinely recommended for Christmas viewing, though it might be a little slow-moving and subtle for children.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ***. Overall Rating: ****.

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