Christy: Return to Cutter Gap (TV Movie 2000) Poster

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3/10
Extremely Disappointed
orchid_01_056 July 2007
Christy is one of my favorite books, and I absolutely loved Kellie Martin and Tyne Daly along with the other actors in the original TV mini-series. These three movies with Lauren Lee Smith as Christy should be a continuation of the story that stopped with the end of the former series. Instead, they contain almost nothing original and are simply recycled, watered down versions of stories we've already seen.

While I would've been happy to discover new story lines with the people of Cutter Gap, I could also have been satisfied just to see the love triangle play out between Christy, David, and Dr. Neil MacNeill. These three movies take 4 1/2 hours (collectively) to get to the point, and they force the audience to re-hash story lines which had been fully fleshed out in the original series (though sometimes with slightly different characters.) It makes me wonder why the producers felt there was a market for these movies, since it is hardly providing anything new.

I agree with other posters about the lackluster performances of Lauren Lee Smith and Diane Ladd, as compared to Kellie Martin and Tyne Daly. I also felt James Waterston's performance as Rev. David Grantland was poor. I can respect an actor's prerogative to play a character in a new way, and I wouldn't want anyone to try and copy a previous interpretation, but I couldn't stand the end performance of any of these actors. I felt intense compassion for all of these characters in the book and the original mini-series, but during these movies, I didn't care what happened to any of them. I didn't connect with anyone who I originally found interesting, with the exception of Dr. MacNeill's character (played by the returning Stewart Finlay-McLennan.) Christy became wimpy, Miss Alice sounded uncomfortable in her own skin, saying "thee" and "thou" in an awkward way. I found that I couldn't care less about David as a love-interest. There was no chemistry between David and Christy, and I found it hard to believe that she could maintain any sort of interest in him at all. All of these actors sounded stilted and unoriginal while delivering their lines.

In writing this, I fear that I have completely repeated other posters, but I feel my comments are necessary, because I want to more fully represent the people who were disappointed in these movies. I highly recommend the novel and the original TV mini-series, but I could never recommend any of these movies with the new cast.
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2/10
Dolled-up version of the original.
Lee-10728 September 2005
I was a big fan of the series 'Christy' starring Kellie Martin, Randall Batinkoff, Tyne Daly, Tess Harper and Stewart Finlay-McLennan in the lead roles. You can read my comment on the series just to know how much I liked it. That said, this movie, with all the new actors was just not palatable for me...

As I was watching the film, I tried to keep thoughts of the series away from my mind, but I could see and hear Kellie Martin. Lauren Lee Smith, though tall and beautiful, is such a dry and petered-down version of Christy that Kellie Martin played with such earnestness that her soul shined forth. Martin embodied the complexity that is Christy - with her faith, her optimism, her apprehensions, her unbridled earnestness to do something for "her children" and the people of Cuttergap... And Tyne Daly... Man, let's not even go there! I admire Diane Ladd. I do. She and Laura Dern are probably one of the most explosive mother-daughter acting duo in history. But it's Alice Henderson we're talking over here! Alice Henderson whose no-nonsense approach belies the conflicts she faces within herself and as the head of the backwood's mission... Tyne Daly brought so much power, conviction and grace to that role - I used to always look forward to the animated discussions that ensued between her character and Christy's. With Diane Ladd it seemed as if the filmmakers had no qualms in just breezing over the strength and power that Tyne Daly invested Alice's character with and instead just focusing on her vulnerable side... that's downright character-assassination, happening at a more unbearable extent than the one meted out to Christy's character with Lauren Lee Smith playing it...

Another actor that is sorely missed in this movie is Tess Harper. I think James Waterston is a good enough substitute for Randall Batinkoff but Tess Harper with her piercing blue eyes brought forth the duality that is Fairlight Spencer - both fiery and docile... Her camaraderie with Christy was so well portrayed - they were indeed like friends...

As I saw the movie, I also couldn't help but wonder, what's with the make-up? I mean, what's with Lauren Lee Smith and Diane Ladd SO dolled up? It was so distracting and not suited to the characters. If having new actors play Christy and Alice wasn't bad enough, it took me a while as I wondered helplessly, "Why are they so dolled up?" Just see the old eps of 'Christy' and you'll know what I mean...

The saving grace of all this, besides a few of the original supporting actors, was the location - that was the only thing that truly harked back to the original 'Christy', so much so that you could, for a few seconds, forget you were watching a rehashed, dolled-up version of one the best period drama series of American television.
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1/10
Not good if you've seen the original first.
x-ramubay8 March 2010
If you've read all the other reviews you will notice that the first ones - the negative ones - came from people who saw the 1994 series first then experienced the 2000 PAX remake with shock and horror. The newer reviews - the positive reviews - came from people who saw the 2000 PAX version on DVD which were released prior to the DVD release of the 1994 series. People tend to like the version they saw first but if you haven't seen any certainly the series is so much better in every way - acting, tone, pace, story line, cinematography, casting, directing, orchestration. And be reminded that when the original series was canceled, a massive fan response got the show rebooted, this was their fan base. Basically the producers told them "thanks, now leave".

One can review the remake from the perspective of seeing it first or seeing it second. If you've already seen it, I can't do anything about that, but if you haven't see the series first (and best yet skip the remakes). If you've see the series (and they are magical) here's what to expect in the remake.

The first of the three PAX movies plays like a parody without jokes. Bits of pieces of the year long series are randomly tossed into the first hour so all that exists are the famous scenes poorly executed without any build up or understanding of why they are there except for viewers to go "oh yeah, I remember that scene, it was in that story about..." They are presented here as punch lines without the build up. One could say it was like watching flashbacks of the previous season, but if it were meant to be a continuation why choose actors that don't resemble the originals one iota? Apparently the casting agent didn't see the original series either. Casting a lead character a foot taller than the original. Come on. Really? Imagine if one of the Rocky sequels had recast the Talia Shire role with Cher and you'll get the idea. Yet, the actors try to do impressions of the original actors mannerisms and speech inflections and the costumes are exactly the same. And story lines and characters were changed, some characters eliminated and an entire new character added with some nonsense about a female aviator who crash lands in Cutter Grove. Just what we need when condensing a year's worth of episodes into 90 minutes is to add a new character and subplot. What a mess. And all because fans wanted to know who Christy was going to marry. Sometimes things are best left unanswered for the next two films get even worse. Was there ANYTHING I liked? It had a neat introduction where we see an elder Christy (Shelia Moore) returning to Cutter Gap and telling the story which is narrated throughout the three films. This device would have worked great to recap the story lines for the first film IF they had followed the original story lines.
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9/10
A first-rate family film.
sasnelling6 January 2001
I found this to be an exquisitely photographed, skillfully-scripted and carefully cast interpretation of the beloved novel by Catherine Marshall. This wonderful family film includes skilled performances by Stewart Finlay-McLennan returning as the beloved Dr. MacNeill and newcomers Lauren Lee Smith and James Waterston as a very believable Christy and her would-be suitor Reverend David Grantland. Veteran actress Diane Ladd brings to life a Miss Alice who seems to come straight out of the pages of Ms. Marshall's novel.

My own family of six ranging from 4 to 38 yrs. watched "Return to Cutter Gap" with great interest and all were particularly fond of Lauren Lee Smith's portrayal of Christy. My teen children have read the novel and watched the videos of the short-lived CBS series aired in the mid-1990s. All agree that "Return to Cutter Gap" is a wonderful version of "Christy." This was an extremely well-made movie and it left us eager for the two sequels, promised in Spring of 2001. And no, I did NOT get paid to say this--we really did thoroughly enjoy it!
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Absolutely wonderful family entertainment!
fonegurl618610 January 2001
The story of Christy has long been a favorite in my family. The new movie is a wonderful example of quality television at it's best. The movie added a new dimension to the continuing saga of Christy. Several new actors were introduced including Lauren Lee Smith who plays the title character who is reminiscing with her daughter about her years in the Cove. Returning from the original series in SFM who plays Dr. Neil McNeil. The show boasts a wonderful cast and gorgeous scenery. A mini-series is set for late spring which will answer the questions from Return to Cutter Gap. My family and I can't wait to see this wonderful book once again brought to life on the screen. I urge anyone who has been searching for good family entertainment to watch this movie.
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Christy fans now have two beautiful Christy series
justpeachy62914 January 2001
What a bonanza for fans of Catherine Marshall's Christy! First there was the original series, with Kellie Martin as the innocent, intelligent young schoolteacher. That series endures on cable tv, but now we have a second Christy to admire. Lauren Lee Smith is a taller, more mature Christy. She shines in her very real chemistry with the doctor, my choice for husband. Lauren Lee Smith reminds me of a young Julia Roberts. That is a giant compliment. The actor who plays the doctor, Stewart Finlay-McLennan is quite possibly the best actor on television. He brings the character of Neil MacNeill to life, as though he stepped out of the pages of the book. Now we have two Christys to love, Kellie Martin and Lauren Lee Smith, each beautiful and special in her interpretation of the character.
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10/10
Wonderful, fun, and true to the book
Critic2017B6 January 2001
If you like the novel Christy, then don't miss this true to the book continuation. Not only are the actors as if they stepped out of the pages of the book, but the story lines and scenery are as they should be in this heart-warming, family tale. Excellent, entertaining script about the idealistic young school teacher Christy (wonderfully played by Lauren Lee Smith) as she struggles to bring change and progress to a resistant backwoods community in 1912 Cutter Gap, Tennessee.

To complicate matters, there is also Christy's personal struggles as she faces a career crisis and a romantic dilemma over two men that seem to want some type of commitment from her that leave her uncertain and confused. Playing Christy's two love interests are Stewart Finlay-McLennan as Dr. Neil MacNeill and James Waterston as the Rev. David Grantland. Finlay-McLennan (who played MacNeill in the original series) is magical in this movie and his scenes here are without a doubt the best of a very good thing. And Waterston makes a likeable, earnest David Grantland.

Also on hand is Diane Ladd giving a strong performance as Miss Alice Henderson. How can you not like this warm, wonderful movie? It carries on the spiritual, uplifting, and family values tradition of Christy very, very well.
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8/10
A Refreshing and Enjoyable Movie!
LuftyBranch Fan7 January 2001
This movie is great family entertainment. Life in the Great Smokies in the early part of the century is portrayed as a challenge for the young schoolteacher Christy Huddleston. She is beset with many problems, from convincing her students' parents that she has the best interest of the families at heart, to choosing whom she will marry. James Waterston gives a convincing performance as the serious young minister, determined to finish the road and bring progress to the Cove, and Stewart Finlay McClennan brings humor and professionalism to his role as the mountain doctor who gives Christy some moments of annoyance as he pays attention to Harriet Quimby, the pilot who has flown into Cutter Gap. Lovely mountain scenery, playful children, delightful plane rides all give the movie balance against the more sober issues of catching the robbers, saving people from being sentenced under Uncle Bogg's justice , and a sudden surgery. This is a very promising movie that could be developed to super quality in a TV series!
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3/10
Did I Miss Something?
KatharineFanatic12 March 2001
Having read over the past ten comments to this film, I cannot but help wonder if I missed something. I found this new series by Pax entirely dependent on the earlier season with Kellie Martin. If you hadn't seen earlier episodes, you wouldn't know what the devil was going on! Also, it had no "new" storyline - they were all recycled plots, from the boy who wanted to go to school (and his father who wouldn't let him), to Miss Alice getting hurt, to the whole Lundy Tailor angle, and even the appearance of a strange and beautiful woman at the Cove, whom Christy might be slightly jealous of.

I was vastly disappointed. This new mini series is nothing like the book, picks up in a strange place, and confuses you with new faces as well as old. "Oh, so they changed Fairlght, so Jeb is married to a new face, now?" Miss Alice is kind of nonexistent, taking backseat, and not living up to her character. Christy did a fine job... and might have even been convincing with a new set of supporting actors and an entirely new script to work with.

We were so disappointed as a family, that we probably won't tune into future installments. Pax tried to pick up Christy, but didn't "pick up" where the last story left off, with David's proposal, the return of Neil's wife, and Christy having to make a decision. Instead, it asks us to wipe our minds clean of the past and try to believe in this "new" story that trips over itself trying to be correct.

All in all, Pax either should have picked up where the series left off, using all of the same cast and the same location, or ditched everything and started from scratch. If it came down between this film and the first installment in the film series "Christy," I'd go for the early series, which starts off exactly like the book.
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10/10
A Pleasant Surprise!
Nightshark17 July 2005
I wasn't sure how anyone could successfully make a sequel to the original CBS series without reuniting the entire original cast, but this movie proved to be a true delight. First of all, the storyline captured the loving spirit of Catherine Marshall's novel and reprised themes from the series while introducing several entertaining new elements. I particularly loved the use of historical character Harriet Quimby and her airplane to dramatize how progress from the outside world threatened the cove in ways even Christy hadn't anticipated.

I also liked the way the new actors seemed to advance the progression of their characters from what we saw in the weekly series. Lauren Lee Smith's portrayal of Christy Huddleston presented just the right blend of innocence, grace and maturity. Diane Ladd's Alice Henderson had a refreshing gentleness and softness that, while a departure from Tyne Daly's interpretation, reminded me so much of the novel. Ingrid Torrance's Fairlight Spencer captured the intelligence and dignity of Christy's best friend in a truthful and authentic way. Olivia KelIy found every bit of the off-beat charm and humor that I expected from Ruby Mae, and all the other school children were terrific, too. But I especially appreciated James Waterston's approach to Reverend David Grantland, which made me care for his character in ways that I never really had before.

Helping the new actors settle into their roles were several important returning stars from the CBS series: Stewart Finlay-McLennan as Doctor MacNeill, Andy Stahl and Dale Dickey as the McHones and Bruce McKinnon as Jeb Spencer. Seeing them again made me feel right at home the minute they appeared on screen, the way old friends would.

My favorite part of this movie was the use of the prologue from the novel, where Catherine Marshall's elderly mother revisited the abandoned mission and reminisced about her life as a young teacher. Sheila Moore was simply fantastic as the woman wanting to document her memories before they're lost to time.

A close second favorite moment was when the residents of Cutter Gap had the opportunity to fly in Harriet Quimby's airplane. The sight of those impoverished and isolated people soaring above their beloved mountain makes me cry every time I see it.

I strongly recommend this movie and its sequels ("A Change of Seasons" and "A New Beginning") to anyone who values quality family entertainment. It isn't necessary to be a fan of the previous television series or novel, either. These films were obviously designed to stand alone.
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10/10
A joyful experience!
True Image8 January 2001
Well-written, fast-paced, beautifully acted, and given the spiritual essence based on Catherine Marshall's novel, Return to Cutter Gap, the first in a series of new movies, is wonderful family entertainment and rated G. There is a brand new cast; Lauren Lee Smith as Christy, James Waterston as David, and Diane Ladd as Miss Alice; to adjust to but they make the roles vacated by Kellie Martin, Randall Batinkoff, and Tyne Daly completely their own! The return of the original series cast members, including Stewart Finlay-McLennan as ruggedly handsome physician Dr. Neil MacNeill, makes the transition of the new cast members extremely easy. The story continues where the original series left off. Christy, the dedicated teacher of a one-room church/schoolhouse in Cutter Gap, TN in 1912, may still be uncertain about the man she is truly in love with, either Reverend David Grantland or Dr. Neil MacNeill, but she is also confronted with the uncertainty of the mountain people she has grown to love due to inevitable change and must rely on her faith to overcome these obstacles. A terrific story!
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3/10
Avoid this sand trap!
PatrynXX6 July 2003
I can't believe that this crap made it to dvd before the original Christy series did.

The Kellie Martin series was real, the emotions real. This series is something that came straight from hell. Practically unwatchable by any fan of the original series. Avoid like the plague!!!

3/10

Quality: 0/10 Entertainment: 3/10 Replayable: 0/10
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An excellent and touching movie
SarahLassCG31 July 2002
"Christy: Return to Cutter Gap" is an excellent starter for one of the best mini-series I have ever seen. It takes place (for the most part) where the series left off back in 94'. An aged Christy and her daughter (author Catherine Marshall) are showed driving back to the mission of Cutter Gap some 40 years after the story takes place. While most of the cast is new, some of the origional's are still there, like the wonderful Dale Dickey (Opal McHone) Andy Stahl (Tom McHone) Bruce McKinnon (Jeb Spencer) Mike Hickman (Birds-Eye Taylor) and of course, the talented Aussie actor Stewart Finlay-McLennan (Dr. Neil MacNeill)- who's Scottish accent is enough to make Mel Gibson (Braveheart) run and hide! The some of the new cast members include, the critically acclaimed actress Diane Ladd (Alice Henderson) Lauren Lee Smith, as a beautiful Christy, James Waterston (Rev. David Grantland) and Ingrid Torrence (Fairlight Spencer)

While the movie doesn't start directly from where the series left off, it is very close to it and stays very true to the book. Most of the story is based on Christy's choice of a husband, and there also is a bit of jealousy when an atractive female pilot crashes into Cutter Gap, drawing the attentions of all Cutter Gap men, Neil MacNeill included.

All in all, Christy: Return to Cutter Gap is a fantastic start, in what is an amazingly wonderful mini-series. It is, and always will be my favorite.
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Vulgar, shallow and trite
acornpod20 December 2000
What a disappointment! This movie is poorly written, poorly directed and poorly acted. A deeply heartfelt American classic, Christy, becomes a superficial, boring, vulgar, dumbed down story of which man Christy will have sex with first. The cast is so amateurish and the doctor looks old enough to be Christy's father, not her lover. The only good thing about this movie is that, by comparison, the original Christy television series looks like a masterpiece.
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