Money is always tight, but this year especially, Lee Parton (Ricky Schroder) longs to get his beloved wife, Avie Lee (Jennifer Nettles), a wedding ring, since they could never afford one. Well, truth is they still can't and Lee considers going to work in the Cumberland mines to get extra fast cash, although Avie Lee is strongly against it because it's very dangerous work and her father, Rev. Jake Owens isn't too keen on him leaving the family so close to Christmas. To make matters worse, Avie Lee keeps having a disturbing nightmare/vision of her and the kids frozen to death, with Lee nowhere in sight. Lee refuses to believe that this particular nightmare is predictive, but Avie Lee just can't shake the bad feeling she has.
When Lee and all of the Parton kids have a family meeting, the kids all decide to give up their one store-bought Christmas gift to get Mama the ring, but it still isn't quite enough money. They all work like maniacs, with Dolly (Alyvia Alyn Lind) singing on the street for nickels and the other kids selling Mama's canned goods from her storeroom. Even Lee and the boys are chopping wood until dark each day. It doesn't help matters that Avie Lee's musician younger brother Billy (Cameron Jones) comes to visit from Knoxville in his fancy car, passing out coins to the kids and filling little Dolly's head with dreams about a musical career. But Dolly knows that dreams can come true and she believes, in God and in herself...
Despite Avie Lee's protests, Lee heads to the mines to make the last bit of money for her ring, unbeknownst to her, of course, and naturally, disaster strikes in the form of the worst blizzard that area has seen in 100 years. It seems like doom for the Parton family, but Avie Lee and her children's faith in God is what has always carried them through life and this time is no exception.
Once again, Dolly's real-life younger sister appears as the local shopkeeper Corla Bass (Stella Parton), and all of the other kids who played the Partons reprise their roles, as well as Hannah Nordberg as Judy Ogle and Mary Lane Haskell as the teacher, Miss Moody. Dolly Parton herself appears as a local "painted lady" benefactor to the young street singer, but little Dolly sees her as a painted angel, and in fact, wants to look exactly like her when she grows up.
Along with the feature film come several enjoyable featurettes, including one on the true background story the film is based on, one on little Dolly's first song, one on making the backdrop of Georgia look just like Sevierville in 1955, one on casting the incredible little powerhouse that is Alyvia Alyn Lind as little Dolly and finally, a handful of deleted scenes. All are worth watching.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors – Circle of Love is just an all-around holiday charmer perfect for the whole family to enjoy. It tells a story of love, faith, family and friendship, plus a healthy dose of determination. And that's pretty much what Dolly Parton has always been about. Beneath that world-famous chest beats a heart of pure gold and Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors – Circle of Love gives us another peek into her humble childhood, showing the world that it doesn't matter what or where you come from, you can be a shining success with enough faith and gumption. Highly recommended.
On a personal note, please keep the residents of Gatlinburg, TN (near where Dolly grew up) in your thoughts and prayers as they fight to recover from the wildfires that ravaged much of the area after Thanksgiving, 2016. Dolly Parton has set up a special fund to help and the link is below.
Warner Brothers provided me with a copy of the DVD for review. My opinions are my own.