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Carol of the Bells

USA 2019
produced by
Dale Oprandy, Nancy Batterman (executive), Trevor Drinkwater (executive), Will Sanford (executive), Chris Tisi (executive) for Inclusion Films
directed by Joey Travolta
starring RJ Mitte, Yuly Mireles, Lee Purcell, Donna Mills, Andrea F. Friedman, Donna Pescow, Del Zamora, Elijah Maximus, Dale Oprandy, Jeff Post, Isha Collins, Emily Hudson, Geri Jewell, Aisha McBride, Mia Armstrong, Julia Stansbury, Hannah Munk, Roger Mathey, Sophia Reyes, David Leo Velasquez, Tabitha Mills, Alex Fisher
written by J.C. Peterson, music by David Arkenstone

review by
Mike Haberfelner

It's Scott's (RJ Mitte) birthday on Christmas Eve - but for years he has refused to celebrate it with his wife Karen (Yuly Mireles) and son Jeremy (Elijah Maximus), basically because he has never known his real parents. Now he has hired a private investigator (Dale Oprandy) to find out his mum's whereabouts, but once he has the results, he refuses to even talk about it even with Karen, much less reconnect with her. It clearly affects him though, so Karen, despite being eight month pregnant, tries to make the first step in his place - and she learns that Scott's mum, Carol (Andrea F. Friedman), actually has the Down Syndrome and thus lives in an assisted living institution. Without Scott's knowledge, Karen befriends carol without giving her true identity away, and the two fast become friends. When Scott finds out what Karen is doing behind his back, he's at first upset, and the idea of reconciling with Carol only slowly grows on him. But the owner of the institution, who just happens to be Carol's mother Helen (Donna Mills), is dead set against the reunion for personal reasons, and that this doesn't end nasty is mainly thanks to the sympathetic head of the institute, Lillian (Lee Purcell). But it's still a long way to reconciliation of all involved, and then Karen's baby is also due any day now ...


Now I will admit, especially towards the end, this movie is a bit of a tearjerker - but that doesn't hurt all that much because the film has an engaging story to tell that has its heart in its right place, and it's very positive message not sugar-coated but properly wrapped up in its narrative. And add to this a subtle and despite the Christmas-theme almost kitsch-free directorial effort and a solid cast, and you've got yourself a pretty good - and pretty touching - movie for sure.

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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD