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Midnight Clear

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Random Acts of Kindness: A Little Christmas Story

    MIDNIGHT CLEAR is an easily overlooked film: the cover of the DVD is bleak, the description of the story sounds a bit corny, and the promotion of the film has been scant. But what is not expected for those viewers able to overcome the above negative aspects is a well-made little series of interlocking vignettes that poignantly address the impact of random acts of kindness in a world grown calloused. It is touching in the best sense of the word and well worth watching even beyond the Christmas season. The unnamed town gradually opens windows to some fairly sad people: an elderly woman Eva (K Callan) talks with her doctor on the telephone about her meds and we note that she may be facing the thought of suicide in her desolate life a sweet woman Mary (Mary Thornton) and her young son Jacob (Dominic Scott Kay) visit their brain damaged husband/father in a rest home (the man was critically injured in an auto accident one year ago) a lonely many Kirk (Kirk B.R. Woller) stands in his isolated convenience store without patrons a longtime drunk and lonely ex-husband Lefty (Stephen Baldwin) is fired from his menial job, despite a recent promotion, because of his consistent tardiness Mitch (Mitchell Jarvis) works with kids for a church to assuage his guilt for having survived the auto accident that devastated Mar's husband's life, reluctantly agreeing to his pastor (Richard Fancy) to take his youth group caroling to the shut-ins on Christmas Eve. Each of these characters influences the others by a seeming random act of kindness: Kirk helps Mary and Jacob with their broken car, Eva is given a meals on wheels by a church lady (Victoria Jackson), Mitch and his carolers provide some needed money by means of a token gift that will allow Lefty and Eva to attend Christmas Eve Service, and Eva's 'meals on wheels' ends up providing midnight food for Kirk and Mary and Jacob. Writer Wes Halula and director Dallas Jenkins carve a story that, though at times suggests it may become cloying, is genuinely touching. The cast, especially Baldwin and Callan, is excellent, and each of the characters is well developed, leaving the viewer with a sense of a morality tale we sorely need. Instead of a big booming Hollywood finish, the film simply tapers off with suggestions of the importance of selfless acts that can make a difference. It is well worth watching, especially now, and especially during the Christmas season. Grady Harp

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