×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

If You Believe

It wouldn't be Christmas without the umpteenth spin on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" popping up on television. Lifetime's handsome "If You Believe" boasts a new-agey, femme-friendly message about embracing your inner child -- literally. It's a familiar sleigh ride, but a likable cast, led by Ally Walker, has what it takes to give auds the warm fuzzies after a day of fighting Pokemon toy-shoppers at the mall.

With:
Susan Stone......Ally Walker Thom Weller......Tom Amandes Suzie Stone......Hayden Panettiere Robin ...........Meredith McGeachie Bob Stone .......Andrew Tarbet Dylan Lewis......Jonathan Welsh Dorinda..........Victoria Snow Mark ............Demore Barnes With: Anna Starnino, David Talbot, Richard Romanus, Paul Brown, Vik Sahay, Marilyn Boyle.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the umpteenth spin on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” popping up on television. The latest variation, Lifetime’s handsome “If You Believe,” boasts a new-agey, femme-friendly message about embracing your inner child — literally. It’s a familiar sleigh ride, but a likable cast, led by Ally Walker, has what it takes to give auds the warm fuzzies after a day of fighting Pokemon toy-shoppers at the mall.

Anthea Sylbert and Richard Romanus’ story centers on once-successful book editor Suzie Stone (Walker) — she has a heart of Stone, get it? — who is so bitter about her life that she casually tells her young niece that Santa doesn’t really exist. Of course, Stone is the kind of monster who’d choose to go to work on Thanksgiving weekend. It’s only after she slips on a piece of ice and bumps her head on her way home that she gets a visit from her own inner child, the feisty Susan at age seven, who still believes in miracles and fairy-tale endings.

The young girl — played by the winsome Hayden Panettiere — follows our heroine around, reminding her of all the things she once held dear, and offering her words of wisdom like “If you’re not afraid to quit your job, you’re free to do your job!” Soon, the once-shrewish editor is going to the opera, doing Snoopy-like dances in the living room and being kind to her assistant, an act presumably unheard of in the shark-infested world of publishing.

The thirtysomething Susan even finds the possibility of romance with a writer (Tom Amandes), who resembles the young Jimmy Stewart, while her inner child plays with his golden lab.

Walker, who seems relieved not to be tracking down serial killers on “Profiler” anymore, has a nice chemistry with her young co-star. With their sweet smiles and golden curls, the two Susans are irresistible, whether they are bickering about the merits of a potential love interest or exchanging a warm embrace on a cold December eve. Watching Walker slowly reject her icy ways is another reward of this telepic.

Helmer Alan Metzger delivers the right kind of atmosphere for a holiday pic — the snow-sprinkled New York and small-town Connecticut scenes are straight out of classics like “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Christmas in Connecticut.”

Tech credits are outstanding. However, Stanley Clarke’s wall-to-wall Christmas carol soundtrack– including an eggnog-soaked Kenny G. number — may leave auds longing for the latest Nine Inch Nails album.

If You Believe

Lifetime; Mon. Dec. 6, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles by Spring Creek Prods. in association with Hearst Entertainment for Lifetime Television. Executive producers, Paula Weinstein, Anthea Sylbert, Richard Romanus. Line producer, Terry Gould, director, Alan Metzger; writers, Anthea Sylbert, Richard Romanus.

Crew: Camera, Karl Hermann; production designer, Alicia Keywan; editor, Paul Dixon; costume designer, Anne Dixon; music, Stanley Clarke; casting, Eileen Mack Knight, Olivia Harris, Jon Comerford. Running time: 120 MIN.

Cast: Susan Stone......Ally Walker Thom Weller......Tom Amandes Suzie Stone......Hayden Panettiere Robin ...........Meredith McGeachie Bob Stone .......Andrew Tarbet Dylan Lewis......Jonathan Welsh Dorinda..........Victoria Snow Mark ............Demore Barnes With: Anna Starnino, David Talbot, Richard Romanus, Paul Brown, Vik Sahay, Marilyn Boyle.

More TV

  • Mandy Moore

    Mandy Moore Opens Up About Her Marriage to Ryan Adams: ‘I Was So Sad’

    Mandy Moore opened up about her marriage to Ryan Adams on Monday’s episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. While the interview was taped before the publication of the Feb. 13 New York Times report in which multiple women, including Moore, accuse Adams of sexual misconduct or emotionally abusive behavior, she speaks freely about the “unhealthy dynamic” in [...]

  • Lisa Borders Time's Up

    Time's Up President Lisa Borders Resigns

    Lisa Borders has resigned as president of Time’s Up, she and the organization announced on Monday. Borders is resigning due to family issues, she said in a statement. Time’s Up COO Rebecca Goldman will now serve as interim CEO. “As Time’s Up continues to grow, I am proud of the work I have done to [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • Desus Nice The Kid Mero

    TV Shows to Watch the Week of Feb. 18, 2019: Academy Awards, 'Desus & Mero'

    Welcome back to Tune In: our weekly newsletter offering a guide to the best of the week’s TV. Each week, Variety’s TV team combs through the week’s schedule, selecting our picks of what to watch and when/how to watch them. This week, the Academy Awards air and Desus & Mero make their debut on Showtime. [...]

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

    BBC Takes Stake in New Company Set Up by ‘Luther,’ ‘Bodyguard’ Exec

    BBC Studios has taken a minority stake in Firebird Pictures, the new drama indie being set up by BBC execs Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Craig Holleworth. Kilgarriff’s credits include “Luther,” “Poldark,” “McMafia” and upcoming Richard Gere-starrer “MotherFatherSon.” She commissioned breakout drama hit “Bodyguard.” Holleworth will be the new company’s COO, having run business and operations for [...]

  • Punisher Jessica Jones

    Marvel's 'The Punisher,' 'Jessica Jones' Canceled at Netflix

    The last of Netflix’s Marvel shows are officially ending. “The Punisher” has been canceled after its second season, and the upcoming third season of “Jessica Jones” will be its last, Netflix confirmed on Monday. The announcement comes after Netflix gave the ax to its other Marvel series: “Daredevil,” “Iron First,” and “Luke Cage.” “Marvel’s ‘The Punisher’ will [...]

  • SND Boards Comedy Series 'Family Shake'

    SND Boards Comedy Series 'Family Shake' With 'Desperate Parents' Producer

    SND, the commercial arm of the French TV network M6, has acquired worldwide distribution rights to “Family Shake,” a comedy series written by Baya Kasmi and Michel Leclerc. SND is the latest vertically integrated French film group to start handling live-action series, following TF1 Studio, Studiocanal and Gaumont, among others. Produced by Gaëlle Cholet at [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content