This wonderful holiday-themed movie is a terrific blend of romance, family values, and the yuletide spirit. Combined, it manages to produce a remarkable film that is more enjoyable than Figgy pudding!
Young Belle Winters loves her Grammy, who gives her a bracelet as a gift, which features an inscription on it. It reminds her that the beauty inside is the most important. Grammy also gives the ten-year-old some sound advice—to remember to forgive others.
Belle is a beautiful young girl. She is pen pals with a boy named Josh who lives on a farm and is part of Santaland, an adventure park and celebration of the Christmas spirit. Belle visits Josh but has a bad experience when she falls into a pig pen. She is covered in mud and endures the laughter and mocking of several other girls. She is humiliated. She leaves sooner than planned, much to young Josh’s disappointment. They soon quit writing to one another.
The years fly by and Belle has become a successful model, a media darling. However, when she hits age 35, she begins to worry that her age will slow down the incoming offers for her talents. When she is told that other people make mistakes, her arrogant reply is, “Not me!” She has long since lost her bracelet and seems to have forgotten about the true beauty that is within. When she winds up doing a commercial with a horse (which urinates on her feet), she has had enough; she undoubtedly wants a break when her next offer is to do a commercial for adult diapers. She decides to go back and visit Georgia (and Santaland) with the hope of finding her long-lost bracelet.
When she arrives at the farm and to Santaland, she learns that Santaland is struggling financially and might have to shut down. She also rediscovers Josh, who is now a pastor, a widower, and raising a young daughter named Adele. Belle takes a real liking to Adele who likewise thinks Belle is a kind lady. Belle and Josh begin to slowly rekindle a friendship, but they have a misunderstanding as to who quit writing the other one first. When Belle discovers some of Josh’s returned letters to her, she begins to understand what happened.
(Adding to the storyline and characters is the appearance of John Schneider, who sings a few songs including a neat version of “Holly Jolly Christmas”. Mr. Schneider’s appearance is a delight and he does a wonderful job of singing and playing the guitar.)
In the end, a few misunderstandings will have to be worked out in order for Belle and Josh to move forward in their new relationship. And without plot-spoiling, Belle actually finds herself decorating a pig with a Christmas outfit, which turns out much better than her first pig pen experience. In addition to John Schneider, Corbin Bernsen turns in a good performance as Josh’s father, Grandpoppy.
The spiritual aspects are a plus, as a minister apologizes publicly for a mistake, and wonderful songs such as “Joy to the World” are performed. The importance of forgiveness and inner beauty are also promoted, and the pastor also remarks that he is praying for God’s will regarding a decision in his life.
In addition, a push to save Santaland is made, and a few surprises make for a delightful plot and conclusion.
This family-friendly film is great for the holidays or any old time! The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland is a delightful movie featuring great characters and a redeeming story, which earns this movie Dove-approval for All Ages.
The Dove Take:
This wholesome, feel-good movie bubbles over with the spirit of romance and Christmas cheer.