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Movie reminds us of meaning

Sometimes in our lives, a movie really touches our hearts and tells a story that brings out so many emotions. The movie “Coat of Many Colors,” which aired Dec. 10, had so many poignant moments about putting our faith in our families.

The original viewing of “Coat of Many Colors” had more than 15.6 million viewers. It ranked as one of the most viewed films across all four major networks during the last six years. NBC announced that the movie would play again tomorrow on Christmas at 8 p.m. to allow families to enjoy the story together on the most celebrated day in the Christian faith.

Based on the hit song “Coat of Many Colors” that Dolly Parton recorded in 1971, it shows the struggles of a large family trying to survive by growing tobacco in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. So many of our parents can relate to this story as many of them grew up on farms and relied on each other to survive.

What impressed me so much was the movie’s story of a family dealing with the loss of a child in the summer of 1955 and how their faith was tested. I am a Christian and believe that everyone’s faith is questioned at some point in his or her lives. So many times today, Christians are attacked but I was so glad to see this movie had strong Christian connotations and wasn’t attacked by mainstream media.

Oxford’s own Sam Haskell, who is Parton’s agent, is the executive director of “Coat of Many Colors.” Haskell’s daughter, Mary Lane Haskell, plays the role of Parton’s schoolteacher (after a special request by Parton). Parton’s schoolteacher is the one who really discovered the singing talents of Parton.

Alyvia Alyn Lind, the 8-year-old who played the role of Parton growing up, did an unbelievable job with her performance. As Haskell said in an earlier interview with the Clarion-Ledger, “She’s going to be a huge star.” She did all of the singing and is a cross between Tatum O’Neal and Shirley Temple.

Also spectacular in their performances were Jennifer Nettles, who played Dolly’s mom, and Ricky Schroder, who played her father. Parton, in a recent interview said, “(I) hoped to bring some families together so they could sit and watch a movie like this. I really wanted to celebrate the people, my whole family, who made me who and what I am today.”

The story parallels the story of Joseph in the Bible and about the coat that Joseph’s dad made for him. Parton’s mom made this coat out of patchwork rags that were given to the family and as she sewed she told her children the biblical story of Joseph and his “Coat of Many Colors.” The other school children laughed and made fun of Parton, on her first day wearing the coat to school.

Families today don’t share the same traditions and values that so many of our parents’ families experienced. People during the early days relied on their faith, a successful crop and their neighbors to survive.

Please make some time Christmas night and watch this movie with your family. Hopefully, it will make your children appreciate what they have and not just the presents they received Christmas morning. We must all remember to put God first in our lives and teach our children the real reason Christmas is celebrated.

Merry Christmas.

Tim Phillips is publisher of the Oxford EAGLE.
Contact him at tim.phillips@oxfordeagle.com.