A Father's Wish, A Neighbour's Gift
Tom Marks (John Corbett - Ramona and Beezus) and his wife Beth (Sarah Paulson) are concerned that their sick daughter Vanessa (Emily Alyn Lind) may not have long left to live due to battling cancer which leads to Tom visiting their neighbour, farmer Jess Sanford (Sam Elliott - Marmaduke) to ask about Pumpkins and Christmas trees despite it being way too early. Realising that Tom is trying to give his daughter the holidays early because of her illness he pays a visit to another farmer who he had fallen out with many years earlier to get some pumpkins, in doing so they bury the hatchet. Jess also speaks to Tammy (Elizabeth McLaughlin) a waitress and aspiring author at the town cafe who not only arranges for some food but also the town's children to come up to the Marks' place to celebrate an early Halloween and then a little while later an early Christmas.
That synopsis doesn't do "November Christmas" credit but to do so would mean having to reveal parts of the plot which have a real impact and are surprises. So the best thing I can say is that "November Christmas" is a type of knock on effect Christmas movie where one event cause someone to do something and then something important happens to that person. For example Jess realising what Tom is going through visits someone who he has issues with because he knows he can help and it not only leads to old wounds being healed but things moving on for this old friend of Jess's. Yes you could chuck this in with other movies about acts of kindness but there is more to "November Christmas" than that.
One of the things it has which makes it more is Sam Elliott, one of the most natural actors there has ever been, and here he plays a character right in his wheel house. Jess is such an old fashioned, down to earth, good hearted character that he is the sort of person everyone would like to know and Elliott gets it spot on. Elliott plays him in such a way that I thought to myself that if they ever wanted to do a new version of "The Waltons" his name would have to be at the top of the list for a part. But it is not just Elliott as John Corbett also delivers that gentle, sensitive performance he is so good at as the concerned father trying to make life wonderful for his sick child. In truth all the performances in "November Christmas" are spot on and for a TV movie there are quite a few familiar names and faces including Karen Allen who is such a natural with Sam Elliott that you would think they were a married couple off camera as well.
What this all boils down to is that "November Christmas" is one of those heart-warming tales of people's kindness and how doing something good for someone else can have a surprising knock on effect. It is moving and in fairness sentimenal but it is also well acted with Sam Elliott making this movie with an effortless performance.