×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Candles in the Dark

Set around Estonia's fight for freedom, "Candles in the Dark" is a sweet, endearing but safe story that occasionally suffers from low production values and muddled sub-characters but will no doubt make the family weep.

With:
Cast: Maximilian Schell, Alyssa Milano, Chad Lowe, Gunther Maria Halmer, Natascha Andreichenko, Aleksei Petrenko, Gita Rank, Helena Merzin, Lembit Ulfsak , Elle Kull, Anna Levandi, Arvo Iho, Salme Poopuu, Salme Reek, Maria Avdjushko, Andres Puustusmaa, Juri Jarvet, Hendrik Toom, Mart Sander, Juri Arrak, Edith Sepp, Dajan Ahmetov.

Set around Estonia’s fight for freedom, “Candles in the Dark” is a sweet, endearing but safe story that occasionally suffers from low production values and muddled sub-characters but will no doubt make the family weep.

Maximilian Schell has asked Family Channel to remove his name as director, and offered to buy overseas rights from the cabler, with the intent of recutting the vidpic. However, Family Channel has issued a statement saying it is “proud of the film” and has “no current plans to release any other versions in our territories.”

After flunking out of college, Sylvia (Alyssa Milano) is sent to her father’s homeland to visit her Aunt Marta (Natascha Andreichenko) — a rather questionable parenting decision, considering the ongoing political upheaval.

However, Sylvia and resistance fighter Jaan Toome (Chad Lowe) soon fall in love, and fall out just as quickly when his old girlfriend, Russian skater Natasha (Helena Merzin), comes back into the picture, thanks to KGB prompting.

A story about an American teen getting wrapped up in serious politics may be hard to swallow, but luckily the story instead dwells on her relationships and lessons about God, freedom and sacrifice.

Much of the telepic is aimed directly at the heart and manages to pluck some strings. Sylvia convinces Aunt Marta to not give up hope and to get involved with the resistance movement; in a heartwarming moment, they decide to stand and fight as one.

“Candles”– the first film for Western viewing that’s shot in Estonia — features some transcendent scenery: cobblestone streets, rugged terrain and antique buildings, all shot satisfactorily by d.p. Roberto Forges-Davanzati.

Under director Schell and scripter Nicholas Niciphor, Milano is guilty of occasionally overplaying the fish-out-of-water bit, as in her hysterics after discovering she left her makeup bag in America. Otherwise, she does well with the difficult role. Lowe is often too pious.

The riot scenes stray toward being artificial and a little simple, with armed soldiers using their fists to fight the resistance movement. Schell and Niciphor often leave undefined characters such as Col. Arkush (Schell), who runs the gamut from supporter to foe of the resistance.

Candles in the Dark

(Fri. (3), 8-10 p.m., the Family Channel)

Production: Filmed in Estonia by Taska Films in association with Kushner-Locke Co. and Family Prods., a unit of Intl. Family Entertainment Inc. Exec producer, James M. Dowaliby; producer, Ilmar Taska; co-producer, Peter Shepherd; associate producer , Eva Banhidi; director, Maximilian Schell; writer, Nicholas Niciphor.

Crew: Camera, Roberto Forges-Davanzati; editor, Lawrence J. Gleason; production designer, Ronald Kolmann; art director, Leo Latti; sound, Cameron Hamza; music, Richard Bowers.

Cast: Cast: Maximilian Schell, Alyssa Milano, Chad Lowe, Gunther Maria Halmer, Natascha Andreichenko, Aleksei Petrenko, Gita Rank, Helena Merzin, Lembit Ulfsak , Elle Kull, Anna Levandi, Arvo Iho, Salme Poopuu, Salme Reek, Maria Avdjushko, Andres Puustusmaa, Juri Jarvet, Hendrik Toom, Mart Sander, Juri Arrak, Edith Sepp, Dajan Ahmetov.

More TV

  • Bradley Whitford photographed at the PMC

    Bradley Whitford on the 'Obligation' to Speak Out Politically

    Having starred on Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing” for seven seasons, Bradley Whitford is certainly no stranger to political television. Now he’s in two more such series: Nat Geo’s exploration of the dot-com era, “Valley of the Boom” in which he plays real-life Netscape CEO James Barksdale, as well as Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in [...]

  • 'Vikings' Alum Travis Fimmel Among 10

    'Vikings' Alum Travis Fimmel Among 10 Cast in TNT Drama 'Raised by Wolves'

    TNT has set 10 cast members for the Ridley Scott-produced drama “Raised by Wolves.” The show, which was ordered straight-to-series in October, centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling [...]

  • Julie Souza Jerry DiMeglio

    Wheelhouse Entertainment Appoints Julie Souza, Jerry DiMeglio To C-Suite

    Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Entertainment is firming up its executive suite with two major appointments, tapping Julie Souza to become chief operating officer and Jerry DiMeglio as its chief financial officer. Souza will oversee the company’s operations, and have a hand in corporate and strategic planning, as well as business development. She most recently was senior [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    BritBox Subscribers Hit Half a Million

    The number of subscribers to BritBox has hit 500,000, the streaming service said Thursday. The platform, launched as a collaboration between BBC Studios and ITV, is designed to offer U.S. and Canadian viewers the best of recent and classic British television content. The streaming service launched in the U.S. in March 2017 with a host of [...]

  • Anne Bulford, BBC's First Female Deputy

    Anne Bulford, BBC's First Female Deputy Director-General, to Exit

    Anne Bulford, the BBC’s first female deputy director-general, is set to leave the British pubcaster in the spring, it was announced Thursday. Bulford, who took on the deputy director-general role in July 2016 after joining the BBC in February 2013 as managing director of finance and operations, is leaving to pursue a portfolio of non-executive roles. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content