Stellar Television for Families this Week

These reviews are from Movie Picks, an organization dedicated for families and parents to find the best and most uplifting film and television entertainment.  They feature movies in the theater, movies on DVD, and what’s special on television this week.  Here are some upcoming programs this week.  Visit their website at www.moviepicks.org.

The March of the Penguins
Dec. 9 on Hallmark, 9-11 a.m. EST
Dec. 11 on Hallmark, 9-11 p.m. EST

If you enjoy observing nature and have an appreciation for the beauty of Antarctica and its charming inhabitants, then you’ll love The March of the Penguins. This film shows the yearly nine-month mating ritual that clans of Emperor penguins have participated in for hundreds of years.


The March of the Penguins is a story of devotion and survival.

When their winter ends in March, these stalwart creatures walk (or slide when their feet get tired) to a dark, dry, windy and frozen plateau approximately seventy miles from the sea. Because of the extremely thick ice there, they choose the same nesting area every year since it’s the safest place for the chicks which they soon hope to have.

The entire existence of the male and female penguin for these nine months is dedicated to their young.  After an egg is produced, the mother and father selflessly take turns marching back to the sea to feed and obtain food to bring back for their chick.  Their mother goes first, sometimes leaving the father behind to guard the egg (which will hatch while she is away) for over three months with no food or water. He will endure temperatures that can reach eighty degrees below zero with cold winds of approximately 100 miles per hour.

It is fascinating to watch the loyalty of the Emperor penguins for their families and also toward their clan. Their willingness to go through this grueling ordeal year after year to produce and protect their young is absolutely outstanding. Families of all ages will be entranced as they observe the dedication and perseverance of these adorable creatures.  Humans could definitely learn some life lessons on devotion and determination from them.

Reviewed by L. Cosman

Fallen Angel

A fractured family finds redemption in this moving Christmas film.

Here is another winner from the Hallmark Hall of Fame.  Just right for the holiday season or any season, Hallmark Hall of Fame’s thought-provoking, uplifting story Fallen Angel, is enhanced by the acting of Gary Sinise, Joely Richardson, and an excellent supporting cast.  Sinise’s voiceover first describes his childhood, emphasizing his desire for a closer relationship with his workaholic father, then a Christmas-time car accident in which Sinise’s character, Terry Quinn, sees another family torn apart as a result of a father’s guilt.


Gary Sinise stars in Fallen Angel.

Twenty-five years later, Terry returns to his hometown in Maine (beautiful enough that you may wish you lived there).  His father has died, and he must face the truth about the anger he has felt about his father and aspects of his father’s character that he hadn’t noticed when he was a young man.  He also learns more about the Wentworth family, whose father, Charles, was driving and lost his own family after the car wreck.

The turning point occurs when Terry learns that Katherine Wentworth, the daughter of the family on that long-ago Christmas Eve, is coming back to the family seaside “cottage” for the first time.  Terry’s father had been the caretaker and the place needs to be opened up and readied for Christmas.  Terry, a successful lawyer in Los Angeles, decides to stay and ready the house in his father’s place.  He meets Katherine and her daughter, Olivia, and decides to stay a few days longer.  Nothing mars the decency of the story that takes a few interesting twists.

Although the possibility of romance is a fine aspect of the story, greater themes emerge:  whether we can protect someone by hiding the truth, our obligations to help those in need, what we see and what we choose not to see, and how to choose priorities in our lives.  Fallen Angel is a fine treatment about how these themes can build or destroy a family.

Reviewed by Lisa Hawkins