It is getting close to Christmas, which means that it is Jessica Riggs' (Rebecca Harrell) favorite season. The eight-year-old knows things are hard at home. After all, her mother had died and her father John (Sam Elliott) is having a hard time making ends meet on the family apple farm.
One day, Jessica sees a reindeer roaming through the woods. She immediately decides it is Prancer since it looks like a picture she has of Santa's reindeer and since she saw the plastic Prancer fall from the town's Christmas display a few days ago.
When she finds the reindeer again a few days later in the family barn, she quickly moves him to the shed and tries to nurse him back to health in time to join Santa on Christmas Eve. Can she do it without her father finding out? Is it really Prancer?
I've been meaning to watch this film since it came out 20 years ago and finally sat down and did just that. I will admit it was much more serious then I expected it to be. Jessica's home life is pretty serious with John even thinking it might be better if she went to live with her aunt. Additionally, there is a strong theme about faith and reality, played out most obviously when Jessica's best friend announces she no longer believes in Santa or God.
And yet this movie isn't all sadness. Jessica's enthusiasm and faith is actually heart warming. And her spirit rubs off on several characters of the course of the movie. I especially enjoyed the scenes with Cloris Leachman's hermit of a neighbor. The ending is completely satisfying. In fact, I bet it would be hard to watch it and not be moved to tears (in a good way).
If you want something different with a bit of a serious bent to it, check this movie out. It's an enjoyable Christmas escape with a bit more of the real world thrown in.