Starring: Sam Elliott, Cloris Leachman, Abe Vigoda and Michael Constantine
MGM Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99

Certificate: U
Available now

A wounded reindeer and a precocious eight-year-old girl form an everlasting bond in this drama about true devotion and friendship. Jessica Riggs plays an angel in her school pageant... but she becomes a real guardian angel when she finds an injured reindeer in the forest. Convinced that the deer is Santa's very own Prancer, Jessica vows to nurse him back to health and return him safely home. But before she can carry out her plan, Jessica discovers that her father has made another - very different - plan of his own! Will Jessica be able to help her antlered friend find his way back to Santa in time to make his deliveries on Christmas Eve?...

Prancer is a rather depressingly bleak feel-good movie. Yes, I know - a bit of a contradiction in terms there - but it really is. It's moody, dark and very un-American for the majority of its screen time.

Not that the film is bereft of humour, far from it. It's just that the majority of this film is grounded in depressing reality.

Set in an isolated farm community in America, the majority of the locals are not your "American body beautiful" types. The casting is wonderful and the acting is one element you cannot fault. But the whole thing drags somewhat, and you can't help but think this could have been much shorter.

The "is it really Prancer, or just a dumb reindeer?" question hangs over everything until the end scene, but you'll already have made your mind up before then that this is a heart-warming story for the more mature child. And so the truth doesn't really matter. It can have a magical ending or sad ending (I won't spoil it by telling you which) the important thing is that the characters at the heart of this story have their lives changed because of the reindeer.

Also, what is it with kids who have lost one parent early in life? It seems to be a Hollywood law that a child can't have an exciting adventure unless at least one of their parents is dead.

Moans aside, this is certainly worth watching at least once.

Amber Leigh

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