I first saw this film when it aired on the Hallmark channel last Autumn. This story by Louisa May Alcott was unfamiliar to me. It seems that it first appeared together with a set of other short stories and was entitled An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving and Other Stories published in 1882.
Matilda Bassett seals a letter addressed to her grandmother.
The story centers around the Bassett family who live "up among the New Hampshire hills" on a farm. We meet Mary Basset and her three children just after the death of her husband when they are just making ends meet. Young Miss Matilda Bassett "Tilly" is our story teller is very good at embellishing the facts.
Younger children Prudence and Solomon Bassett.
Mrs. Bassett is an independent woman who is trying to support her family with her skills nursing those in need but her patients are often poor and enable to pay. Though the Bassetts have just enough Mrs. Bassett is having a hard time making ends meet so Tilly fearing the worst takes it upon herself to write to her estranged grandmother.
Grandmother and Tilly on their shopping spree.
Intrigued by this letter signed by her daughter Mary, rich socialite Isabella makes an unexpected visit to the Bassett family. Her daughter is very loathe to even let her enter the house but she has to stay somewhere while her broken carriage is being repaired. Isabella soon gains the affections of her three grandchildren and delights in using the money, that her daughter so despises, to buy needed items for her family and new friends. With her influence Tilly attends her first ball in high style and the family's pantry is stocked full of good things for Thanksgiving dinner.
Tilly and her mother Mary at the Hopkins ball.
While her mother enjoys the grandchildren Mary Bassett is busy nursing a neighboring family who are suffering with scarlet fever and she herself is overcome by the sickness. Tilly and her grandmother learn how much they really have to be thankful for just when they are in danger of loosing it all.
Tilly talking to her dear friend Gad.
In the midst of all her troubles Tilly also becomes reacquainted with her childhood friend Gideon who has just come back from college. It is "Gad" who helps Tilly as she makes decisions that will change her future and future of her family.
The family around an old fashioned Thanksgiving table.
I really enjoy this film, it is not quite like Little Women but reminds me of that story in many ways. Tilly reminds me of Jo March in some ways, a fanciful writer who is quick to feel and act, often being very selfish and childish. I love the costumes and the settings the acting is fairly good and it is a sweet story of family, forgiveness and being thankful for what you have. A good family movie and I highly recommend it!
I found the trailer here if you'd like to take a look and also the original Alcott writing can be found here. I look forward to reading the story soon!