Finding Father Christmas (2016) Movie Script

'I do not wish to see it.'
'Conduct me home
and haunt me no more.'
'Scrooge, what you see
are only shadows'
of the things that have been.
They are what they are.
Cannot be changed.
Scrooge turned
to look at the ghost.
He could see..
...that they were parts
of all of the faces
that had shown him
from his past.
Spirit, remove me.
I cannot bear it.
Soon, Scrooge was conscious
of being exhausted and..
(Eve on PA)
'And overcome
by an irresistible drowsiness'
'and further of being back
in to his own bedroom.'
'He barely had time to reel
to his bed before he sank'
'into a heavy sleep.'
Awaking later to the sound
of his clock as it struck 1:00.
(Eve and Miranda)
Scrooge could see
a ghostly light
from the adjoining room.
'He got up softly'
'and shuffled to the door.'
Peeping around the door,
he heard a blooming voice.
I am the Ghost Of Christmas
Come in and know me better, man.
[audience gasping]
[intense music]
The snowflakes
are on the ground
And Christmas
is in the air..
'Yes, the furniture
will be on the truck'
first thing in the morning,
we'll have the units staged
and ready to show by lunch hour.
People will be standing
in line to sign a lease.
Great, great.
I'll have my assistant e-mail
over the contract.
No, thank you.
And call Kevin in the warehouse.
Make sure there's
a truck standing by
first thing in the morning.
Where is he going?
Garber's new building on Fifth.
I just closed the deal to stage
all three condo floor plans.
I thought he already
turned us down.
Annie, what's the first rule
of staging any new home?
Let the potential buyer
see themself in the home.
Which is why I told Garber
we will put a Christmas tree
in all the model units.
Nothing says
welcome to your new home
like that fresh holiday smell.
Oh, could you ask Mr. Turner
if we can push back that meeting
by a few hours?
The folks from Portland
are in town
and I told them
we could have lunch.
Speaking of Mr. Turner,
he wanted me to remind you
about his Christmas party
on Saturday.
- Is that this Saturday?
- Well, yeah.
I mean, with Christmas only
a week away and all.
Um, tell him
I will let him know.
The Sandlers called again about
Christmas dinner at their house.
I will let them know.
Your building super
wants to know
what you're gonna bring
to the holiday potluck
this year.
You'll let him know. Right?
Hey, I will let them know.
I just, I have a lot
on my plate right now.
It's Christmas, Miranda.
Y-you're supposed to celebrate.
Give thanks, exchange gifts, eat
too much, wear ugly sweaters.
Annie, I appreciate
what you're trying to say
but I have work to do.
Speaking of which,
are there any messages
that aren't about Christmas?
Um, a guy named
Rick Torrance called.
He said it was important and
wants to talk to you right away.
Doesn't ring a bell. If he calls
back, find out what he wants?
Will do.
And so there I am with
a room full of third graders
so distracted, they can
barely stay in their seats.
Not that I can blame them.
- It's almost Christmas.
- Yeah?
Thank goodness, there's only
one more day to the break.
Though, I'm not exactly
looking forward
to flying for the holidays.
No, you'll have a good time
with your folks.
What about you?
Any plans this year?
Um, yeah, yeah.
Um, I'll-I'll probably
just catch up on work.
You mean, like last year.
And the year before that.
Okay, why is everyone
suddenly so concerned
with my Christmas plans?
Because, my dear,
we care about you.
Being alone for Christmas
is hard for anyone.
But for you..
...I can't imagine
how it must feel.
I don't know
what's wrong with me, Blair.
I mean, it's been 20 years.
She was your mother.
You lost her at Christmas.
Yeah, but she loved
being an actress
and to go that way,
on-on the stage
performing "A Christmas Carol,"
she's probably still smiling.
That doesn't make it
any easier for you.
But I am not
a little girl anymore.
I have stability,
I'm not wandering in the country
the way we used to.
But it's the same thing
every year.
All this, the music,
the lights, the smell.
It just reminds me that
maybe she would have eventually
told me who my father was
but she never got the chance.
She must have had her reasons.
[cell phone ringing]
[instrumental music]
[telephone ringing]
Annie, are you out there?
Turner/Dorset, this is Miranda.
'Miranda Chester?'
- Yes.
- 'Great.'
Hi, uh, look, you don't know me.
My name is Rick Torrance.
I'm sorry, Mr. Torrance
whatever you're selling,
I'm really not--
'Your mother was Eve Chester,
the actress?'
Um, yes, my mother was Eve.
This is gonna sound strange
but I found something
that belonged to her.
'I think you might want it.'
[instrumental music]
- Mr. Torrance.
- No, it's Rick.
- Hi.
- Hi.
Sorry about the mess,
everybody's at lunch.
Come on up.
Watch your step.
'It's right back here.'
I'm so sorry. I wasn't thinking.
Oh, it's alright, I just..
I haven't been back
since that night.
I remember your mother
real well.
Eve was a wonderful person.
You know, always said hello
and asked about my family
and an amazing actress.
- Yeah.
- I remember you too.
Yeah, the way you'd run around
here sayin' her lines.
I figured you'd
follow in her footsteps.
I suppose not.
I was here that night.
It was..
- Sure, I'm sorry.
- Thank you.
Anyway, uh, when I found this,
I remembered Eve had a daughter.
And I thought
if I could find you.. might like to have it.
Are you alright?
Thank you so much.
[instrumental music]
[music continues]
[music continues]
And who are you?
"Carlton Heath, Vermont."
[instrumental music]
"Carlton Heath, Vermont."
[music continues]
He's still there.
Merry Christmas..
"Carlton Heath."
Yeah, it's a small town
in Vermont.
I looked it up. It's beautiful.
It's like a Christmas card.
Maybe when your mother
was on tour.
I thought of that.
In all of her years of touring
she was never in Vermont.
- "The Tempest."
- Mm-hmm.
When I was a little girl, I
asked her how she chose my name
and she told me she did a
production of "The Tempest"
in San Francisco.
She played Miranda.
And she always loved the name.
Well, if she had such
fond memories of the show
why hide the program?
And what does a little boy
in Vermont
have to do with Shakespeare
and California?
There could be a dozen reasons
she kept that picture.
But why keep it hidden?
Maybe she wasn't ready
to talk about it?
No, she could talk to me
about anything.
She was always honest with me.
The only thing she didn't talk
to me about was my father.
Miranda, you don't know
that this has anything
to do with him.
This was hers.
I remember.
She wore it all the time.
The only time she ever took it
off was when she was on stage.
And I think it's from that
same town in Vermont.
But she was never there.
What are you gonna do?
I don't know.
But my whole life,
I've wondered who he was.
And now I feel like
I finally have a clue.
I have to do something.
I have to find out.
[instrumental music]
'No, everything's fine,
It was a spur
of the moment trip.
I'll be on my cell
if you need me, and..
...I don't know
how long I'll be here.
Santa Claus is comin'
to town
All the kids
they're jumpin' up and down
The holidays begin
And there's a new year
comin' in
People playing
out at the park
There's a snowman smiling
in the dark
Have a very, very
Happy, Happy Christmas
Welcome to the Carlton Heath
Inn. Seattle? Oh, my goodness.
You're a long way from home.
What brings you
to our little town?
Uh, just visiting.
Well, you picked
the perfect time of the year.
Oh, yeah, it's beautiful.
- Here you go.
- Thanks.
My name is Katherine.
I am the owner of the inn
along with my husband, Andrew.
If you need anything,
please don't hesitate to ask.
Thank you.
How about a nice cup
of tea after your long trip?
You can cozy up by the fire.
Um, there's actually something
I wanted to see in town first.
- Could I take a rain check?
- Anytime you like.
And your room is at the top
of the stairs.
- Thanks.
- Enjoy your stay.
Thank you.
Come on.
Come on.
Need some help?
Yeah, my GPS isn't working.
Uh, cell service
is a bit spotty up here.
'Where you headed?'
Um, I need to find
an address in town.
- It's 2625 Bexley Lane.
- Oh, that's no problem.
It's three blocks down that way.
You'll run into the old church.
That's Bexley Lane.
Then hang a left, go another
two blocks and you'll be there.
- Thanks.
- Yeah, my pleasure.
- You work at the inn?
- Yeah.
I just checked in.
It's really nice.
- Miranda.
- Ian.
- Ah.
- Nice to meet you.
- That looks heavy.
- Little bit.
- Maybe, I'll see you around?
- Yeah.
- Three blocks?
- Yeah, you can't miss it.
Thanks. Again.
[instrumental music]
Has anybody seen
Kris Kringle?
It's getting mighty close
to Christmas day
And I haven't heard
a single
Little Merry Christmas
That's coming from
his reindeer or his sleigh
I'm happy as can be
It's gonna be a happy
Christmas day
[instrumental music]
I thought you might be hungry.
As for our scones,
we make them right here.
- Kind of our specialty.
- No, I'm fine. Thank you.
Did you find what you were
looking for in town?
- No.
- Hmm.
Maybe I can help.
Andrew and I have lived here
all our lives.
We know Carlton Heath
as well as anyone.
Yeah, it-it's really
not important.
You come all the way
across the country
the week before Christmas
all alone to a place
you've never been before
to find something.
I have a feeling it must be
very important.
Only to me.
I'm pretty sure
now that I'm here
it would just sound silly
to anyone else.
Though it never hurts to try.
Alright, um, ahem..
Have you ever heard
of the Carlton Heath
Photography Studio?
Yep. On Bexley Lane.
It was run by the
Halverson family for years.
But it's closed now.
Right, but, um, do you know
where they are?
The, the family who ran it?
The kids grew up
and moved away years ago.
Jane and Eric, they retired
to Arizona, I think.
Are you a friend of the family?
No, um..
This was taken at their studio.
What a cutie.
Who are they?
Um, that's why I came.
To find out.
You came all this way
because of a photograph
of someone you don't know?
Told you it would sound silly.
Well, where'd you get this?
My mother, um,
it was important to her
and I wanted to find out why.
You couldn't just ask her?
I never got the chance.
That doesn't sound silly at all.
Well, doesn't matter anyway.
The studio's closed, and I'm
sure they threw everything away.
There is something
familiar about it.
- Really?
- Yeah.
Maybe it's just the way
Santa's dressed.
We called him Father Christmas
back then.
It was an old tradition
around here
from when the English
settled the village.
But you've never actually
seen that photo, have you?
You know who you should talk to?
Andrew, my husband.
At the very least
he maybe able to tell you
where the Halversons retired to.
Do you think he'd mind?
Not at all.
But he's still in town
and I have to keep an eye
on things around here.
I'll get my son.
He'd be happy
to show you the way.
What's up, mom?
This is Miranda.
'You didn't tell me
your parents owned the inn.'
'No, you asked if
I worked there, which I do.'
Chopping wood?
I also shovel snow
clear brush, clean out gutters.
And in a pinch,
I make a pretty decent maid.
Ah, a man of many talents.
Well, I threw in that
last part to impress you.
- This town is so beautiful.
- Yeah, I love it here.
I've traveled a lot, but I
always knew I'd come back home.
What about you?
Your family, all in Seattle?
No family, just me.
Yeah, well,
mom told me about a, a picture.
A picture
and a lot of questions.
...hopefully, we can help you
find the answers.
[church bell tolling]
Listen to that.
I didn't think towns like this
still existed.
It gets better, come on.
When this was built,
it was the first
brick church in New England.
Before the Revolution,
the locals met here
to plot against the British.
- Really?
- Mm-hmm.
Legend has it that
one Christmas Eve
the British surrounded
the church to try
and catch them
during the service.
But when they went inside,
there was no one to be found.
They didn't know that
there was secret passageway
that led from under the church
and into the woods.
But some say
that on Christmas Eve
if you listen closely enough
you can hear them singing
from under the church.
- Get out of town.
- No, it's true.
I mean, it's not, not,
that I've ever heard
them myself or anything, but..
Oh, of course not.
We have all kinds of stories
and legends.
Not to mention our traditions,
especially at Christmas.
Hmm, well, my only
Christmas traditions
are avoiding crowds
and traffic.
Well, you came
to the right place then.
Sounds perfect.
Come on, let's go find dad.
'Yeah, it was in pretty
rough shape'
until the town renovated it
about 30 years ago.
The first show they did
was a Christmas play.
It became a tradition.
They've done it
every year since.
- You okay?
- Mm-hmm.
"James Whitcomb."
Yeah, he was a pretty well known
actor in his day.
He was also one of the founders
of the theatre
and helped pay
for the renovation.
After he passed away, they named
the theatre after him.
- That was nice of them.
- Yeah.
Look, you better get inside,
before you catch a chill.
It's beautiful.
You sure you're okay?
Yeah, no, I'm just
traveling all day.
It's probably just
catching up with me.
Right, well,
let me poke my head in.
Dad's probably about ready
to knock off.
- I'll be right back.
- Okay.
'"Soon, Scrooge was overcome'
'"by an irresistible
"And further of being back
in his old bedroom.
'"Awaking later
as the clock struck 1:00'
'"Scrooge could see a ghostly
light from an adjoining room.'
'"As soon as Scrooge came
peeping around the door'
'"he was greeted
by a booming voice.'
'"I am the Ghost Of
Christmas Present!'
Come in and know me
better, man."
[door closes]
"Soon Scrooge was overcome
by an irresistible drowsiness.
"And further of being back..
'"Awaking later
as the clock struck 1:00'
'Scrooge could see a ghostly
light from the adjoining room."'
[instrumental music]
Weatherman says there's more
snowfall on the way.
I'm afraid that Seattle jacket
won't do you much good.
I don't have much experience
with New England winters.
Well, we'll have to see
what we can do about that.
Sorry, about leaving.
I just needed some air.
- It's probably jet lag.
- Mm-hmm
Though you're not the first
person to go running off
into the night
after seeing our rendition
of "A Christmas Carol."
There are parts I'm sure
that even Mr. Dickens himself
wouldn't recognize.
Well, I'm sure it's wonderful.
Well, I will say
what we lack in talent
we make up for with volume.
I'm not exactly what you'd call
a theatre person.
Well, then come see
the show with me.
Maybe it'll change your mind.
I think maybe
this was a mistake.
What do you mean?
Coming here.
I don't think I'm gonna find
the answers I'm looking for.
I'm not sure what brought
you here, Miranda
but I'm glad it did.
And while you are here,
you might as well enjoy it.
After all, it is Christmas.
All those questions you have
they'll still be
waiting for you.
I bet that's pretty amazing
when it's all lit up.
You have no idea.
Okay, now, I'm getting cold.
Ian, no, no, no, no.
- What about you?
- I'll be fine.
You can talk to my dad tomorrow.
Right now,
we should get back to the inn
before we both freeze.
- Thank you.
- Yeah.
Um, we, uh, we maybe, kinda,
walk a little faster?
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
- Good morning!
- Hi!
- Hope you slept well.
- Great. Thank you.
Good! Um, I have a table
for you right there.
Come on in, and, uh,
continental breakfast.
- So, please, help yourself.
- Thank you.
Alright, Katherine, off we go.
Oh, before you go.
Ellie, um, I'd like
to introduce you, Miranda.
Uh, this is Miranda Chester,
she's visiting our little town
for the first time ever.
Welcome to Carlton Heath.
I'm Ellie Whitcomb.
This is my daughter, Julia
and my son, Mark.
It's very nice to meet you.
We had hot chocolate with
a candy cane to stir it with.
- Oh, that sounds delicious.
- 'It is.'
We have it every Christmas
before we go shopping
for presents.
A little
Whitcomb family tradition.
Whitcomb? I saw a plaque
at the theatre yesterday.
Are you related
to James Whitcomb?
Yeah, that's
my husband's father.
Mm-hmm, wonderful man.
We wouldn't have a theatre
if it wasn't for him.
Oh, speaking of which,
I hope you plan on attending
the Christmas show
while you're here.
I'm not sure
how long I can stay.
Aww! That's a shame.
Well, you must come to
the tree lighting tonight then.
- Oh, yeah!
- Yes, you should.
Yeah, we have a fire and we sing
carols, it's a lot of fun.
And a certain someone makes
a special appearance every year.
She means Santa Claus.
Yes, she does. Well, I hope
we see you tonight.
It was a pleasure
to meet you, Miranda.
- You too.
- Bye.
- Bye.
- Bye.
- Bye.
- Merry Christmas!
[instrumental music]
Oh, someone looks nice and cozy.
It's perfect. Thank you.
Yeah, we can't have our
guest getting frostbite.
I have a question.
Is there somewhere in town
I can get internet?
Library or something.
Well, you could use my office.
- Your office?
- Uh-huh!
Yeah, it's just inside here.
I'll show you.
- Thanks.
- Yeah.
I'll be running around
most of the day
but you can work in here
as long as you want.
This is nice.
Oh, it's not
what you were expecting?
Not unless you're Batman.
No, I just do the books for
the inn. Bills and inventory.
You know, stuff like that.
And that set of law books,
discreetly in the corner?
Oh, those..
- Yeah, I'm also a lawyer.
- Excuse me?
I mean, I have my degree
and passed the bar.
I even practiced for a couple
of years in Burlington.
But not any more?
I still know my way around
tort in a pinch.
But mainly I just help people
with estates.
You know, wills,
reading contracts
and adoptions.
Those are the best.
- Adoptions.
- Hmm.
You are Batman.
Well, let me know if you
need anything else.
[instrumental music]
[knocks on door]
- Miranda.
- Hi!
Hi, this is my husband, Andrew.
Miranda, such a pleasure
to meet you.
- And welcome to Carlton Heath.
- Hi. Thank you.
Um, Catherine's told me
a bit about your quest.
Sounds like a real mystery.
So, may I have a look?
Oh, sure.
Oh, yeah.
Now, that's Father Christmas,
alright, yeah.
Do you recognize the boy?
No. No, he doesn't
look familiar.
Katherine thought you might know
how to reach the Halversons.
To see if they can remember?
Well, it hasn't been that long.
I'm sure somebody in town still
sends some Christmas cards.
So, I'll ask around.
Thank you.
Well, I'll leave you to it then.
- Thanks.
- Yeah.
It's such a beautiful day.
It seems like such a shame
to come all this way
just to sit in my son's office.
[instrumental music]
'You're welcome.
Merry Christmas, Mrs. Harris.'
'We'll, see you tonight.'
- Well, hey.
- Hi.
- How did the computer work out?
- Good. Thank you.
You're playing Santa Claus?
Oh, another one
of our holiday traditions.
Tea and Christmas cookies
for some of the locals.
Wow, looks like a lot of work.
Well, it's not work
when you're doing it
for someone you care about.
And these folks are like family
to us. Especially at Christmas.
- Big family.
- The bigger the better.
- Sounds noisy.
- That's half the fun.
I should let you get back
to your Santa Claus-ing.
Why don't you come with me?
- What?
- Yeah.
We'll make the rounds, I'll
introduce you to the locals.
- Really?
- Really.
So, what do you do
for the holidays anyway?
Um, my mother was an actress.
So we spent most of our
Christmases in hotel rooms.
Well, that's not
exactly festive.
Don't get me wrong.
She was a really good mom.
And she did whatever she could
to make Christmas special.
But even now, after all
these years on my own
I still don't really see
what all the fuss is about.
It's about life and love
and sharing it with those
who are dear to you.
It's the sleigh
that's swinging ding-a-ling..
Merry Christmas, Ruth.
[Ruth screaming]
Feeling happy
It's Santa's jolly
Streets are filling
Up with snow
For Christmas
This is Christmas
This is Christmas..
- Where to next?
- Oh, that was the last stop.
- Oh. Wait, okay.
- Thanks for coming along.
Thanks for letting me,
I had fun.
You made a lot
of people happy today.
That's what Christmas
is all about.
Usually when people ask me
what I'm doing for Christmas
I just tell them
I'm catching up on work
or staying home or basically
anything but the truth.
Which is?
That I'm avoiding it
as much as possible.
I can't believe I just told
you that. I don't even know you.
Well, what would you
like to know?
What it's like
to do this every year?
It's nice.
Let me give you a lift
back to the inn.
[instrumental music]
Ian? Katherine?
[music continues]
Fa la la la la
la la la la
Tis the season to be jolly
Fa la la la la
la la la la..
[instrumental music]
The snow may fall
but I don't mind at all
(male #1)
'Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas, Miranda.'
'Merry Christmas.
Santa knows my name.
But I won't get upset
With you
I'm always winter warm
The skies are grey
But I'm not feeling blue..
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Oh, my goodness.
'Why don't you help me
light the tree?'
Five, four, three, two, one.
Whoa! Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas.
Merry Christmas.
My true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree
On the second day of Christmas
my true love gifted me
Two turtle doves and a
partridge in a pear tree
This is amazing.
It really is amazing.
The music, the lights.
It's really Christmas.
Santa even knows my name.
Yes, Santa knows
everyone's name.
Oh, there's your mom.
It's so nice of her to help.
- Your dad couldn't make it?
- He's here.
(male #1)
'Off you go, off you go,
that's wonderful.'
Ah, young lady.
Up you go!
Ho-ho! Oh, my..
He's so cool.
It looks like
my mom needs some help.
Um, Miranda,
just enjoy yourself, okay?
And if you need to warm up,
the church is right there.
Four calling birds
Three French hens
two turtle doves
And a partridge
in a pear tree
On the seventh day
of Christmas
My true love gifted me..
[instrumental music]
istmas everyone..
- Miranda, hi.
- Hi, Ellie.
Oh, here you go, love.
This will warm you right up.
- Thank you.
- Oh, Peter.
This is Miranda,
the young woman
I was telling you about.
Miranda, my husband, Peter.
- Well, it's nice to meet you.
- Hi.
What do you think of our town's
little celebration?
I love it.
I think it's wonderful.
My favorite time of the year.
Oh, Peter, you and Miranda
have something in common.
- Is that right?
- Mm-hmm.
You both were raised by parents
who made their living
on the stage.
- Really?
- Yeah, um..
I didn't know
word traveled so fast.
Small town.
You'll get used to it.
- Y-your father?
- My mother.
Tell me,
what was it like for you
growing up in the shadow
of the theater lights.
- Uh, it was different.
- Yes, it was.
I should help Ellie.
- Uh, enjoy your visit.
- Thank you. Thanks.
- Bye.
- Bye.
Miranda. Hey.
Um, listen,
my parents and I, um..
...we're going caroling
with a bunch of friends
and then we're heading over
to Peter and Ellie's afterwards
to celebrate.
We just thought we'd invite you
if you're up for it.
Oh, that's really sweet, Ian,
but I don't wanna impose.
No, you wouldn't be imposing.
Besides, I have a feeling
that caroling is another
one of those things that you
might have missed out on.
There's just one
tinsy problem.
I can't carry
a tune in a bucket.
Welcome to the club.
Deck the halls
with boughs of holly
Fa la la la la
la la la la
Tis the season to be jolly
Fa la la la la
la la la la
Don we now our gay apparel
Oh, hi.
Did you go caroling
when you were a little girl?
Actually, this is
my very first time.
- Really?
- Mm-hmm.
I didn't exactly
have a traditional
Christmas growing up.
Didn't you miss it?
Well, I will say this.
I always wanted to have
a house with a fireplace
so I could hang a stocking
by the chimney with care.
If you lived here, you'd get to
do that every Christmas.
- Wouldn't she, mommy?
- Hmm, yes, she would.
Fa la la la la
la la la la
Wouldn't that be something?
Fa la la la la
la la la la
Hail the new ye
lads and lasses
Fa la la la la
la la la la..
- Dad.
- Andrew, are you alright?
- I'm fine, I'm fine.
- Are you sure?
Aah! I just needed
to catch my breath.
Uh, Merry Christmas,
on to the next.
Hey. You okay?
Yeah, yeah, sorry, I'm..
My dad's been runnin' on fumes
the last couple of weeks.
He does this every year.
Well, he really
loves Christmas.
Yeah, he sure does.
But he tends to overdo it.
Do you wanna call it a night?
Oh, no, no, no.
He's not gonna let us do that.
We better catch up.
Here, you'll need these.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
We wish you
a Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Dashing through the snow
In a one horse open sleigh
Over the fields we go
Laughing all the way
Bells on bob tails ring
Making spirits bright
Oh what fun it is
to laugh and sing..
It really feels
like Christmas.
Thanks for inviting me.
Oh what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh
Oh jingle bells
jingle bells
Jingle all the way..
Hi, guys.
Oh, Ellie, you have
such a beautiful home.
Aw, thank you, love.
This is Peter's family home.
- He grew up here.
- Oh.
Well, I love the way
you've decorated it.
Every year, it gets
a little more festive.
Pretty soon, we won't
have room for the furniture.
[instrumental "We Wish You
A Merry Christmas"]
[indistinct chatter]
[knock on door]
Come in.
- Hey.
- Hey.
- Uh, I hope it's not too late.
- No.
I just, um,
you hardly said a word
on the way back, so I-I wanted
to make sure you're okay.
Yeah, I think I'm just
a little tired, that's all.
Look, if you need anything..
- If you need to talk or--
- I'm fine.
- Okay. Um, goodnight then.
- Goodnight.
Earlier today, Ellie Whitcomb
mentioned my mother..
...about her being an actress.
And you're the only one
I told about that.
Oh, um..
...yeah, i-i-it just kinda
came up.
Should I not have said anything?
I met her husband, Peter,
and we talked about
both having actors
in the family
and he didn't seem
too happy about it.
Yeah, well, his father was away
a lot while he was growing up.
Doing shows and all that.
I'm sure that was tough
on Peter.
Maybe that's why he's always
stayed so close to his family.
Because he missed his father
so much.
- Thanks for checking on me.
- Sure.
- Goodnight.
- Goodnight.
Good morning. Hi.
- Oh, good morning.
- Mm. Morning.
I wanted to let you know
I may have a lead
on that photograph of yours.
- Really?
- 'Yes.'
I was speaking with
Ben Hailey this morning
he's the pharmacist.
He got a call
a few months ago
from a pharmacy in Tucson.
Now, they were inquiring
about a prescription refill
for Eric Halverson.
He's the fellow that owns
the photo studio.
Turns out, he and his wife,
Jane, are still there.
And, uh, Ben gave me his
e-mail address...somewhere..
Ah! Here it is.
And I thought if you wanted
to get in touch with him
'they might be able to help.'
If you still want to, that is.
That is why I'm here.
Well, I'm off to learn my lines!
Only two more days
until the show
and my mind has been
such a sieve lately.
- Thank you, Andrew.
- You're welcome.
[drill whirring]
- Ian?
- Miranda.
Hi! What are you doing here?
Uh, I'm workin' on the set
before rehearsal starts.
After last night, I wanted
to give my dad a break.
You know, I saw him this
morning. He really seemed fine.
Yeah, well, the way he looks
forward to the show every year
he wouldn't let a little
thing like exhaustion
keep him from that stage.
He's been playin'
this role ever since
James Whitcomb passed away.
Wish I could have met him.
Yeah, well,
stick around for Christmas.
You can meet Margaret.
- Margaret?
- Yes, his wife.
She comes back
for the holidays.
They were married
almost 40 years.
Forty years, wow.
I'm sure she has
lots of stories to tell.
Come on, check out the set.
Um, actually, I have to go home.
But I thought that you..
Oh, okay, well,
I-I'm sorry to hear that.
Um, I-I guess you won't
get to see the show then.
I gotta go, I'm sorry.
It's the theater.
For someone whose mother
was an actress.. sure get very nervous
inside a theater.
I have stayed away from theaters
since I was nine years old.
I was in her dressing room
just like every other night.
And I couldn't understand
why she just...stopped.
She was gone before
I made it to the stage.
I'm sorry.
I didn't have any other family
and nowhere to go.
If it wasn't for
a friend of my mother's
I don't know
what I would have done.
Then what about your father?
She never told me
who my father was.
And I have spent
my whole life wondering.
I used to walk down the street
and wonder, "Is that him?"
"Is that my father?"
"Is that him?"
Um, then, a few days ago..
...I found this.
This is the picture
mom told me about?
'Yeah, my mother kept it hidden'
and I came here
to find out why.
And you think he lived in
Carlton Heath because of this.
Uh-huh, and..
It belonged to my mother.
- That's our Christmas Angel.
- What?
It's kind of an old tradition
around here.
You give it to someone
you care about
to let them know that
they're always in your thoughts.
Um, I also found this.
- 'My mother played Miranda.'
- 'Hmm.'
That's how she picked my name.
And when I found it
I just assumed
that was why she kept it.
- What, there's another reason?
- Mm-hmm.
After I got here,
I realized that
the dates of the performances..
...they're nine months
before I was born.
That's why I asked
to use your computer.
I wanted to look up the names.
You think your father had
somethin' to do with the show.
I do.
Only now I'm afraid
of the answer.
Why is that?
Last night at the Whitcombs,
I saw that photo.
And I have to ask..
"Is that him?"
"Is James Whitcomb my father?"
- James..
- I know, it..
His name isn't anywhere
in the program
and he doesn't seem
to have had anything to do
with the production, but..
"Special thanks for the support
of the Gray Hall Theater."
Yeah, I saw that, I've never
heard of the Gray Hall Theater.
You're sitting in it.
The name was changed
to the James Whitcomb Theater.
He was there.
They met..
[door opens]
Um, I..
I have to go.
- Miranda..
- This isn't your problem.
- Let me help you.
- You can't.
- I can try.
- Please..
Just stop feeling sorry for me.
I know I never
have to feel sorry for you.
You came all this way
to find the truth.
Takes a very strong person
to do that.
Then why don't I know
what to do?
You will.
Wait for the end.
Oh, Julia, hi!
- Well, hello, Miranda.
- Hello.
We've come for rehearsal.
And the show's tomorrow.
Christmas Eve.
I didn't know
you were in the show.
Mark's in it too.
He even has lines.
Yeah, I play young Scrooge
in scenes
with the ghost
of Christmas past.
And then,
the next day is Christmas.
How exciting.
You two should get a move on.
You're going to be late!
- Bye.
- Bye!
- Bye, Miranda! Bye!
- Have fun.
I hope you enjoyed
the party last night.
Very much.
Yeah, I couldn't help noticing,
but you seemed interested
in one of
the family photographs.
Oh, yes, um, it was the one
with the little boy
on Father Christmas' lap.
He had such a sweet smile.
You couldn't tell by looking,
but that little boy was me.
And behind that beard
was my father, James.
Your father?
With all of his traveling,
Christmas, it was the one time
that I knew I would be with him.
Well, you must've looked forward
to that time very much.
Well, as I'm sure,
you know, life as an actor
puts a lot of strain
on a family.
Yeah, I treasured those times
when everyone was happiest.
It made Christmas very special.
Well, it's a lovely photograph.
I have to go.
'Whoa! Whoa!'
'Whoa! Whoa!'
Hey! What do you think?
Um, what?
Well, say hello to Prancer.
Hi, Prancer.
'And, yes, in case
you were wondering'
this is what
they wrote the song about.
A one horse open sleigh?
With one minor adjustment.
Wheels. Much more practical.
- Of course.
- Come on up.
I had to borrow him from Santa
so we have to have him back
in a couple of hours.
- Where are we going?
- Where ever you like.
- Thanks.
- Here we go. Mm-hmm.
- I also have hand warmers.
- Okay.
And a thermos
full of hot chocolate.
And best of all..
...a hat, with ear flaps
guaranteed to keep your head
nice and toasty warm
while you look
utterly ridiculous.
Yeah, no.
I guess so.
It can be optional.
Step up!
- Another Christmas first?
- Definitely.
- Ho-ho-ho!
- What?
Easy. Easy.
I am beginning to understand
why you never wanted to leave.
Wait until you see
the next heavy snowfall.
I'd like that.
You can.
I don't belong here, Ian,
not the way you do.
It's a tricky thing, belonging.
Tricky? Huh?
What does that mean?
Well, take me for example.
After I finished law school
'I had job offers coming in
from all over.'
New York, Los Angeles,
you name it.
Some of them
were pretty good too.
I'm sure they were.
When I told them
that I was happy here
they assumed that it was because
this was were I grew up.
- 'Cause it was so comfortable.
- It's true though, isn't it?
Yeah, but there's
something else too.
It just feels right.
And when you find that,
that connection in your heart
why would you want to go
anywhere else?
How do you know
when you find it?
You just do.
Whoa! Whoa!
It's beautiful.
Yeah, I've been coming up here
since I was a boy.
I always felt like
I could see things
more clearly from up here.
'It's a good place to think.'
I made up my mind, Ian.
I have to go.
But you still don't even know--
I saw Peter
at the theater earlier.
And he told me.
He's the little boy
in the photo.
And he's sitting on James' lap.
Father Christmas is his father.
My father.
You're sure?
There really isn't
any other explanation.
I mean, they had
to have met during that play.
Who else could have given her
the bracelet?
And then when it was time for
James to go back to his family
my mother wanted something
to remember him by
and so she took the picture.
Okay, even if you're right..
...even if that is the truth
it-it still doesn't mean
you have to go.
Ian, if I stay
and they find out
the real reason I'm here..
...nothing would ever
be the same for that family.
Everything that James
ever was or did
everything he meant to them
all these years..
...they would question.
...and lose.
Whatever happened
between my mother and James
I know now she was right
to keep it a secret.
Even if it means never being
a part of that family.
It's better than hurting
so many good people.
- So we don't say anything.
- Ian..
No, what about
what's right for you?
You said so yourself
you don't have anyone in Seattle
to have Christmas with.
...have Christmas with us.
With me.
I have wanted to do that since
the first time I saw you.
I made reservations to fly out
of Boston tomorrow morning.
I'm leaving, Ian. I-I have to.
[horse neighs]
Well, um, I'll drive the cart
back to the stable
and get Prancer bedded down.
I think I'm gonna take a walk.
See the town one more time
before I go.
Really? It's, it's pretty cold.
Guess I'm getting used to it.
[cell phone ringing]
Yeah. Uh, excuse me.
What? What happened?
I'll be right there.
Is everything alright, Ian?
It's my father.
They rushed him to the hospital.
(Dr. Colter)
'Mrs. McKendrick?'
- Yes?
- I'm Dr. Colter.
Andrew is resting comfortably.
He's tired,
but he's gonna be just fine.
Oh, thank goodness.
What happened, doctor?
We've been running some
preliminary tests
and it appears that Andrew
had a mild heart attack.
What exactly does mild mean?
His ECG didn't show any signs
of permanent damage
to his heart.
- Oh, thank God.
- But this is a warning.
Andrew's in good shape, but
we need to take a closer look
at his diet and his schedule
to make sure
this doesn't happen again.
Okay. Absolutely. Of course.
Right now,
what he needs most is rest.
I'd like to keep him overnight
for observation
and then, for the next
couple of weeks
he's gonna have
to slow things down.
- Take things very easy.
- Okay.
- Hey.
- Hey.
What are the two of you
looking so glum about?
I just got a little dizzy,
that's all.
No, that's not what
the doctor said.
Oh, what does he know?
There's nothing wrong with me
that a good night's sleep
wouldn't cure.
I-I told them,
I need to get out of here.
We've got that show
tomorrow night.
Andrew, no.
That is absolutely not possible.
What are you talking about?
You've been overdoing it
for weeks, dad.
You need to rest up.
Take better care of yourself.
Those are the doctors orders.
Oh, what about the show?
Can't do "A Christmas Carol"
without Scrooge.
And I can't imagine
getting through
one single day without you.
[instrumental music]
Thirty years.
We've never missed
a performance.
Just won't seem like Christmas
around here without it.
Well, it's a small
sacrifice for us
to make sure that Scrooge
is back to do the show
for many more years.
[music continues]
As long as Andrew's gonna be
okay, that's all it matters.
Well, but he's so disappointed.
He didn't wanna let
everybody down.
Not after all these years.
Well, can we do the show anyway?
I-I don't see how, Ellie.
I mean,
all the lines and the blocking.
It's too much for someone
to learn in one day.
I'm afraid Katherine's right.
We have to cancel.
But there must be something
we can do.
I mean, Peter, the show meant
too much to your father.
It's too important.
We don't have a choice, Miranda.
I'm stayin' at the hospital
with dad tonight.
Gonna give mom a rest.
I have an early flight, so I
probably won't see you again.
- So..
- Yeah.
[instrumental music]
Thank you for everything.
Take care, Miranda.
If you're ever
in the northwest..
[instrumental music]
[music continues]
Looks like they were right.
We're havin' a white Christmas.
I've never seen anything
like it before.
Yeah, feels like home.
Shouldn't you be
with your dad?
Uh, my mom went to the hospital
first thing this morning.
She's with him now.
How's he doing?
I'm glad.
Please say goodbye for me.
- I'd rather not.
- Ian..
Look, you've told me
all the reasons
why you should leave.
But you're ignoring the one
reason why you should stay.
You've had to be strong
your entire life..
...with no one to depend on.
I-I can't even imagine
how hard that's been.
But coming here to find
the answer to who you are..
...that has to be the hardest
thing you've ever done.
But if you leave now..
...nothing changes.
Yeah, but I didn't come here
to change anything, Ian.
I came here to see if this might
be a place where--
A place where you could belong.
A place that you could
call home.
With people you could depend on.
Who care about you.
Who could love you...if you
let them.
Believe me,
I know how that sounds.
People don't just do this.
They don't just meet
and suddenly everything fits.
Tell me you don't feel
the exact same way.
And we can say goodbye
right now.
You can, you can
get on that plane.
You can go on with your life.
And nothing changes.
[instrumental music]
Is that a yes?
I've wanted this
for my whole life.
But you have to promise
me something.
Can you promise me you won't say
anything to anyone?
'Cause no one can know
why I came here.
I promise.
Thank you.
I have to ask you
for something too.
Yeah, what is it?
Can you help me with my lines?
Are you serious?
My dad was so disappointed
so, I-I actually said
that I would play Scrooge.
- What?
- I mean, I-I know the play.
I-I've been around it
since I was a kid.
But I still
only have one day, so..
- It's crazy, huh?
- Yeah.
It's wonderful,
are you kidding?
- So, you'll help me?
- Of course.
Good, because I've got
a long way to go.
We better get started.
[instrumental music]
You sure you're okay to be back
in the theatre again?
Yeah. I actually kinda miss it.
- Ian.
- Peter.
Hi. Hello, Mrs. Whitcomb.
Hello, Ian.
How is your father?
- He's better, thank you.
- Oh, I'm so glad.
Well, Peter told me
what you've been doing.
Stepping in at the last minute.
James would be
very, very pleased.
- Thank you.
- I'm happy to do it.
I have a long way to go.
Speaking of which,
Mrs. Whitcomb
this is Miranda Chester.
'She's been drafted
to help me out.'
Miranda. Very nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you too.
And thank you for helping to see
that our little show goes on.
Oh, I'm, I'm just running lines,
he's really doing all the work.
- Do you live in Carlton Heath?
- Just visiting.
And what brings you
to our little town?
Why, I've always wanted to see
Vermont in Christmas.
I've heard it's very beautiful.
Hmm...and here you are.
Ian told me about your husband.
About how the theater
was named after him.
You must be very proud.
Well, this place does hold
a lot of memories for me.
Which is why I come every
Christmas, not just to see
my grandchildren,
but to indulge in..
And also to enjoy my favorite
Christmas show, which reminds me
you two have a lot better
things to do
than listen to me jabber on.
Well, we'll see you tonight,
Mrs. Whitcomb.
I look forward to it, Ian.
And, Miranda, every year we have
a cast party back at the house.
After the show, it's become sort
of a Christmas Eve tradition.
Why don't you join us?
- Thank you.
- Good.
Just breathe.
I don't know what to do.
It was light as a feather.
I, um, as happy as an angel.
A merry Christmas
to everybody.
I don't know what day it is.
I don't know anything.
I'm quite a baby.
Never mind.
I don't care.
I'd rather be a baby.
Oh, glorious, glorious.
Still got a long way to go.
Snow is falling
Everyone is so happy
To be here
And Santa Claus
is coming along
Just to bring you some cheer
Well snow is falling down
How can you be blue?
Wish I could do it
the way dad does it.
You don't wanna do it
like your dad does it.
Do it like you do it.
Snow snow snow
I'll set the tree
by the mantle
You wrap the presents
my dear
Let's make the dishes
everyone wishes
I love this time
of the year
"I don't know what day
of the month it is."
"I don't know how long I've been
among the spirits."
"I don't know anything.
I'm quite a baby."
I know the line.
Thank you.
Thank you.
You helped me remember
all the things
I love about being in a theater.
I don't know anything.
I'm quite a baby.
- Break a leg.
- Thank you.
God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay..
So I told that doctor
"I may not be able to act in the
show, but there is nothing
in the world that will stop me
from watching it."
No, thank you.
Christmas is here again..
Could you see me on stage?
Yes, I could,
and you were wonderful.
My grandfather
was a great actor.
I think I might be
an actor too..
...when I grow up.
Well then, I will have
to come and see you
in all of your shows.
Miranda, be a dear
and put this on the table.
- I got something in the oven.
- Sure.
[instrumental music]
Let me get some more wine.
"By the lake shore
in the moon glow
"first time, only time
"beguiling eve once
now ever in this failed heart."
"Beguiling eve."
What do you think?
Sorry. I shouldn't be in here,
I was just..
- All those people.
- Oh.
So many faces, so many names.
Don't give it a thought.
And not many people know that
my husband wrote poetry.
It relaxed him when he was
on the road touring.
- Really?
- Yeah.
And his work always
had a particular pattern
except for this one.
It's always been
sort of a mystery.
What do you mean?
Well, it's different.
I-it's beautiful, that's why
we framed it, but it, it just..
It doesn't sound like him.
We found it after he died, so..
Afraid we were never
able to solve the mystery.
Well...some mysteries
are better left unsolved.
Perhaps you're right.
Uh, Miranda, that's the
character from "The Tempest."
Well, take your time.
Andrew, don't forget
the potatoes.
- I got them right here.
- Okay.
...will you let Miranda know
that we're almost ready to go?
- Okay, mom.
- Okay, good.
And can you grab my jacket
while you're up there?
- Hey.
- Hey.
Wow, you look great.
Thanks, you too.
Well, um,
I hope you're hungry.
There's gonna be enough food
to feed an army.
I need to ask you something.
What's wrong?
Last night, did you tell
Margaret about me?
- About the photograph?
- What?
No. No, of course not.
I told you, you could trust me.
I saw you talking to her
and she was holding it,
so I just thought--
It's Christmas, Miranda.
It a picture of her husband.
She still misses him
very, very much.
Just when I was talking
to her later
the way she looked at me,
just...felt like she..
...knew something about me.
Maybe I, I shouldn't go.
Like, I really
don't belong there.
I wasn't sure when I was
gonna give this to you.
Now seems like a good time.
Open it.
That's your very own
Christmas Angel
to remind you, no one else
can tell you where you belong.
It's what you feel in your heart
that guides you hope.
Merry Christmas.
It's beautiful. Thank you.
- Ready?
- Mm-hmm.
Oh, where are we going?
Come see. It's a surprise.
- What is it?
- It's for you.
Oh, Julia.
It's beautiful, thank you.
Don't thank me.
- It was Santa.
- Of course.
I will be sure to thank him
the next time I see him.
Well, come on.
Don't you want to see
what he brought you?
Yes, I do. Thank you.
'Uh-oh, posture.'
You know, Andrew,
I think Ian may have stolen
some of your thunder
in this year's show.
Well, he's always been
a bit of a ham.
And I wonder where
he gets that from?
Let me say, for the record
that I am perfectly willing
to pass the dramatic torch
to the next generation.
Oh, no, no, no.
No, you don't.
I am not going
through that again.
- Oh, what?
- 'What?'
Oh, no, but you were
so wonderful.
- Oh, no offence, Andrew.
- None taken.
Now, Miranda,
I'm sure you've never seen
"A Christmas Carol" quite like
ours back in Seattle, have you?
I don't think anyone has.
- Oh. Oh!
- Oh! Ow!
Oh, no, no, no.
I didn't mean it like that.
'No, I really enjoyed it.'
I-I can't remember the last time
I've had this much fun.
This whole trip,
you all have been so generous
'welcoming me into your home'
and you've really
reminded me that Christmas
can be very special.
So, thank you.
All of you.
It's a lovely bracelet, Miranda.
I see that you've discovered
our town's Christmas Angel.
Ian gave it to me.
- Hmm..
- Oh!
- 'Ian.'
- Oh.
[Andrew giggling]
Tell me, were you
born in Seattle?
Um, no, mm-hmm,
I was born in California
but we moved to Seattle
when I was very young.
How come?
Well, my mother got a job there.
What kind of job?
She was an actress.
Like my grandfather?
'That's right.'
What about your dad?
Good heavens,
where is my head?
Do you know that
I have another present
for you two upstairs?
- 'I completely forgot.'
- Really?
Mm-hmm, so why don't you two run
They're on my bed.
You can open them up there.
- Thanks, grandmother.
- Thank you.
Beautiful kids.
Was your mother a stage actress?
Mm-hmm, yes.
And what was her name?
Eve, Eve Chester.
"Whoever in this failed heart."
You know, I should, um..
- I-I really think I need to--
- And your father?
[instrumental music]
My father was also an actor.
And his name was James Whitcomb.
My mother never told me
who my father was.
And my whole life,
I never knew his name.
And then, a couple of days ago,
I found this photograph
and all it said
was Carlton Heath, and..
And that's why I'm here
to, to find out--
- Stop.
- Peter, I can show it to you.
It's the same one
that you have here.
And when you told me that,
that was him
your father, James Whitcomb,
that's when I knew.
- I said stop.
- I was sure.
They-they did a show together.
I-I have the program.
- I can show you the program.
- What?
Can't you see what she's doing?
This is obviously
some sort of scam.
- She-she wants money.
- No, please..
You had it all planned.
You fooled us all
with your touching story.
'Well, I won't listen
to another word of it.'
I want you out. Leave.
Alright, that's enough, Peter.
- Stop.
- What?
You have your father's eyes.
You knew.
I suspected..
...from the first moment
that I saw you.
But it was the poem
that convinced me.
Eve was your mother.
Just never knew her name.
Mother, I don't understand..
Peter, you were too young
to remember.
You were just a toddler
when your father
started to have success
as an actor.
The more successful he became..
...the harder it was for us
to be together.
Finally, I just had had enough
and I, I asked him
for a divorce.
We were waiting
for the divorce to become final
when James got a call
from a friend of his
in San Francisco
who was directing
a production of "The Tempest."
He had to replace his lead actor
and he begged James
to step in and..
...he was on a plane that night.
And that's when
he met your mother.
Initially, it was strictly
But soon James began
to open up about our divorce
and they grew closer, and..
...finally, they fell in love.
So, why did he leave?
Now, the story might have ended
there, but Peter got sick.
James told Eve,
and she was the one
who convinced him to come home
to look after his son,
to take care of his family.
She let him go.
And when Peter started
to recover
we realized that
we really wanted
to try to save the marriage,
and-and...we did.
I mean, it-it wasn't easy,
but we, we worked things out
and I was with him
until he died.
I still don't understand how you
know all this about my mother.
Because he told me everything.
Except for her name.
And I forgave him.
I realize that your mother..
Oh, she must have loved him
very, very much.
So much that she was willing
to let him go.
I have no idea
how she did that.
I mean, I can only imagine
how heart-broken she was.
But I have always been grateful.
But wh-what about me?
Honey, I promise you
if James had had any idea
that he had another child
he would have moved
heaven and earth to find you
to take care of you.
That's why she never told me.
Because it would have been
too painful to see him again
knowing she couldn't
be with him.
So she raised me on her own.
And she gave me all the love
that she couldn't give him.
God, he would have loved you
so much.
Thank you.
Come here.
...about what I said..
...I'm sorry.
It's alright.
The truth is, growing up
I used to wish I had a brother
or a sister.
Maybe we can find out
what that's like.
Listen. Can you hear them?
Dad, they are coming
down the street.
Can we go out to listen to them?
Put on your coats.
In excelsis deo
Mystery solved.
Thank you, thank you.
Now, you and I have a lot
to talk about, don't we?
And we're gonna have
plenty of time.
This is just
our first Christmas.
There are gonna be many more.
[instrumental music]
Hut, hut!
Ho! Ho!
[Miranda sighs]
Do you think she's right?
Do you think it's possible every
Christmas could be like this?
I'm counting on it.
[instrumental music]