Complete A-Z list

Christmas Star, A


Stars: Erin Galway Kendrick, Bronagh Waugh, Robert James-Collier, Richard Clements, Pierce Brosnan, Suranne Jones, Sean Ronan, James Stockdale

Director: Richard Elson

It's tough to be hard on a well-meaning Christmas story, but they really ought to be better than this. Noelle (Kendrick) is born in the straw of a barn under the 'Christmas star' after her parents fail to reach a hospital in Northern Ireland's winter deep.

As she grows up, Noelle finds she has the ability to bring harmony from dissent by concentrating on love. When she's 11, into the village that depends on its pottery industry comes McKerrod (James-Collier, so good as Barrow in Downton Abbey, but here giving the worst of many bad performances) offering bogus severance cheques, but in reality resolved to raze to the ground the pottery he hates and build 'McKerrod's kingdom' with a casino and golf course.

Noelle soon gets wise to his schemes, but no one will believe her - so she takes her case to the parliament at Stormont.

The girl, a sub-teen with classic 'Irish rose' looks, is the only good thing in this, even if, as a supposedly ace school soccer star, she doesn't look as though she could kick a ball into a net if she saw one.

Around her, though, all is excruciatingly embarrassing, as the director gets all his players, but James-Collier especially, with a disastrous American accent, to overact beyond belief. Suranne Jones, Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan (awful), Kylie Minogue, Dermot O'Leary and even Downton writer Julian Fellowes contribute cameos, but to no avail.

The three-star rating is extremely generous, but hell it's Christmas (or nearly).

David Quinlan

UK 2015. UK Distributor: Signature. Colour (unspecified).
82 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 10 Nov 2015