It is the 50th anniversary of the first Waltons’ movie. The movie out of which sprung the popular series. We are now in 2021 and despite the fact that the film features characters we all know and love, this is a different type of film than the series. Don’t expect it to be the same as that will lead to frustration. Take it for what it is.
With that setup, you can tell that I do not think this is a perfect film. Far from it. There is something odd about it. Something I could not put my finger on. It is set during the Depression yet seems rather modern. What I mean is that the sets don’t seem authentic nor do the clothes the characters wear. It is the seemingly little details like that which bring the viewer out of the story being told. You pay attention to that rather than what is actually going on. Don’t even get me started on the language they use. Certainly not an aura of realism surrounding this one.
All that being said the story is pretty much what you would expect from a Waltons film. The familiarity brings with it an air of nostalgia and comfort. Despite the flaws.
As is typical, this film is told from John Boy’s perspective. Set in 1933 during the Depression, eldest son John Boy (played by Logan Shroyer) is 17 years old and dreams of being a writer. That is put on the back burner as his parents have different ideas. His mother Olivia (played by Bellamy Young) wants him to help her with the other children and his father believes John Boy will follow in his footsteps.
This Christmas is going to be tough. Not only due to the times but because it will be the first one in which John Sr. is not with his family. Then things seem to be changing as Olivia receives a letter from John Sr. (played by Ben Lawson) indicating he will be home. With this news, the Waltons all leap into action preparing the house for his return. The up and down continues when a storm seems to be heading their way on Christmas Eve. John Sr. seems lost. Olivia sends out John Boy to look for his father. It is a search that will alter everything for the eldest son.