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Hallmark-like ‘Farmer and the Belle’ leads family-friendly spotlight

Her name is Belle, and she is one of the world’s most popular models, having graced billboards, magazine covers and TV ads.

Lately, though, her work has been slow. It seems companies want a younger, fresher face. That’s because Belle is getting … well … old.

Facing an identification crisis and searching for life’s purpose, Belle returns to the small town she once called home — a place where her childhood friend, Josh, still lives.

Will Belle find answers to what’s troubling her? Will she even discover romance?

The new film The Farmer and the Belle: Saving Santaland, now on DVD and video on demand, follows the story of Belle as she uncovers the true meaning of beauty and then uses her fame to help save her town’s main attraction (Santaland). It’s a family-friendly film in the style of a Hallmark movie, although its spotlight on faith and God’s view of beauty helps it stand out from the typical family film. The Bible-centered message, coupled with a fun plot and solid acting, make it one of the best family movies of 2020.

It was inspired by a true story and stars Jenn Gotzon (My Daddy Is in Heaven) in the lead role, Jim E. Chandler (Lodge 49, Stranger Things) as Josh, and Corbin Bernsen (Major League) as her father.

The movie opens with a young Belle growing up under a fashion-centric mother who teaches her that beauty is skin deep. Belle embraces that message until she grows a few wrinkles. When she returns home, she meets a pastor (Josh) and other Christians who tell her that true beauty is found on the inside.

“You are beautiful because God made you,” she is told.

It’s a message our Instagram-crazed culture needs to hear. It’s also a film every girl should see.

The film is being released alongside a 30-day devotional and a children’s book that reinforce the biblical message. A bracelet (like the one featured in the film) also is available. Visit TheFarmerAndTheBelle.net.

The film contains no language, sexuality or violence.

Also worth watching this month:

Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom’ (Disney Plus) — It’s a behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s zoological theme park. More than that, though, it’s an entertaining and educational show about animals. (Episode 5, for example, teaches us about aardvarks, rhinos and crocodiles.) Even if you’re not crazy about all things Disney, this one is worth watching. TV-PG.

‘LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special’ (Disney Plus) — Rey, Finn, Poe, Lando and Rose reunite for this special that’s set just after the events of The Rise of Skywalker. Lucasfilm, the LEGO Group and Atomic Cartoons produced it. TV-G. Nov. 17.

‘Voices of Fire’ (Netflix) — Leaders at a predominantly black church hold a singing content with the goal of building the best-ever (and most diverse-ever) gospel choir. The congregation is the hometown church of singer/producer Pharrell Williams. His uncle is the pastor, Bishop Ezekiel Williams. It’s a multi-episode series. TV-PG. Nov. 20.

‘Brave Blue World’ (Netflix) — Matt Damon and Liam Neeson take us to regions around the world that are experiencing a water shortage — and then show us the ingenious ways the citizens are solving their problems. (One of the areas that the film spotlights is a Christian orphanage.) It’s a 50-minute documentary that will make you appreciate one of God’s most amazing (and necessary) creations: water. TV-PG.

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and entertainment for more than 15 years. He is the husband to Julie and the father of four young children.

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