“Midnight Clear” begins quietly.
A homeless man snoring in his car. A woman dropping off her son to school. A gas station owner making a pot of coffee. A grandma cleaning out her fridge. All seemingly mundane tasks, all with added significance because they happen to take place on Christmas eve.
First written as a short story by his father, Jerry B. Jenkins, director Dallas Jenkins’ 103-minute film, “Midnight Clear” (based on his earlier short film of the same name), is about the little things that add up.
Lefty’s (Stephen Baldwin) an unemployed homeless man battling lawyers to see his kids and ex-wife. Mary’s (Mary Thornton Brown) a wife and mother, visiting her husband, Rick (Kevin Downes) — brain damaged and hospitalized from a car accident exactly a year earlier. Kirk (Kirk B. R. Woller) runs a secluded gas station open for the holidays. And Eva’s (K. Callan) an old woman, living alone after her husband died and her kids abandoned her.
Their lives may sound as bleak as George Bailey feels at the beginning of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but they eventually find that they are each other’s angels, intervening just before someone drowns.
Jenkins is like the ghost of Old Marley, reminding us of “that glorious sound of old.” That every Ebenezer Scrooge was once a Tiny Tim. That a mother and child can find shelter from the cold. That one dollar and eighty-seven cents is more than enough to buy an irreplaceable present.
Christmas, after all, is about redemption and rebirth. And sometimes, the gifts from strangers are the most important of all.
“Midnight Clear” was written by Wes Halula based on Jerry B. Jenkins’ short story, and directed and produced by Dallas Jenkins.