The Last Straw
It’s Christmas break at the McDonald house, but silent nights—and days—are nowhere to be found. With the children’s constant bickering, pretty packages and a sweet-smelling tree don’t come close to filling the McDonald home with the true spirit of the first Christmas. Then Mom remembers an old tradition of building a soft bed for Baby Jesus one straw at a time. Each time someone secretly does something nice for another family member, he or she gets to add a single straw to the manger. Soon the children’s quarreling and negative feelings subside and the homemade crib is overflowing. But for one family member, a required act of kindness becomes more that he can take. Inspired by a true story and filled with both heart and humor, “The Last Straw” may forever change the way your family celebrates Christmas.
“The Last Straw” hits all the right notes as an inspirational, family-friendly holiday movie! It is a delightful film to watch, and is inspired by a true story. The acting is terrific, the story interesting, and the situations realistic. The McDonald home includes several siblings and lately they bicker and fight a lot. When they learn that a relative, Jordan, 17, who attends high school is coming for a brief stay, there is fighting over her sharing a room with one of the girls. Jordan is a likable person who got into trouble with her parents for doing something which surprised even her: cyberbullying a student who was once her best friend.
“Gramps” (Corbin Bernsen), is a neighbor to the McDonalds who has lost his wife and is about to spend his first Christmas without her. His grandson, Landon, returns to visit from college. Gramps raised Landon after his parents died in a car accident. Gramps is glad to have him home because this is a lonely time for him. Landon and Jordan take a liking to one another and they support and help each other.
To help stop the kids from fighting, or at least to slow down the number of quarrels, Dad (Adam Johnson) comes up with a plan for the McDonald family. As Mom (Britani Bateman) says, they have to get love back in their home. They have their son make a manger with help from Gramps, and they draw family members’ names from a hat. Each time someone does a nice deed for another, they put a straw in baby Jesus’ manger until it is filled. The idea is to make a difference in each others’ lives.
Landon encourages Jordan to make amends with her former best friend. She wants to, but is terrified to apologize and afraid of facing rejection herself. This is a delightful movie with themes of forgiveness and showing deeds of kindness, and Corbin Bernsen makes a great Gramps. During a McDonald family football game, he is invited to play and his competitive side comes out! In another funny scene, he and Landon attempt to bake cookies like Grandma did, and when they leave them at the McDonald family door and run away in their aprons, the laughs are loud. We are happy to award “The Last Straw” our “Family-Approved” Seal for all ages. We doubt you’ll be able to watch “The Last Straw” only once; you’ll want to watch again and again. It has earned our best rating, five Doves.