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New Year's Eve: Movie Review

Craig von Buseck, D.Min.


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How do you explain the majority of the world’s people coming together to celebrate hope all in one night? The only time this happens in on New Year’s Eve. This phenomenon is charmingly demonstrated in a fun-filled, family-friendly film (how’s that for alliteration) called, appropriately enough, New Year’s Eve.

If your hope tank is running low, this movie is for you.

With a clear message of love and commitment, New Year’s Eve is a reminder that there are second chances in life – and we need to seize them. But it also shows that we need to be facilitators of second chances for others.

The ensemble cast is a who’s who of Hollywood stars – each serving to push sub-plots that eventually wind their way together into a message of new beginnings.

Without giving too much away:

  • There is a love affair gone bad between Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi
  • A stuck elevator relationship that develops between Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele
  • A mother-daughter power struggle between Sarah Jessica Parker and Abigail Breslin
  • The pursuit of a mystery woman by Josh Duhamel
  • A competition for the first baby of the year prize between couples Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers, and Sarah Paulson and Til Schweiger
  • A charming pursuit of lost dreams between Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron
  • And a touching look at the end of life between Robert Di Niro and Halle Berry

One of the treats of the film is to see several stars who appear for only a moment or two, delivering only a line or two – most often for a laugh. One has to wonder if legendary director Garry Marshall texted them and asked if they wanted to be in a movie that day. This includes a cameo of Marshall’s sister, Penny (Laverne of Laverne and Shirley).

At the center of it all is Hilary Swank, who plays Claire Morgan, vice president of the Times Square group that organizes the annual New Year’s Eve gala viewed by millions around the world. In the middle of all the challenges of producing such an event, Swank’s character is confronted with the overwhelming problem of the famous New Year’s Eve ball getting stuck.

As she seeks to calm the fears of the public, the significance of the moment suddenly dawns on her and she herself finds peace. “The Ball stopped”, she explains, “to remind us to also stop and reflect on the year gone by. New Year’s is about another chance to forgive, to give more, and to love more. It gives us the chance to stop worrying about ‘what if’ and focus on ‘what will be.’”

At that moment, Swank’s character realizes that she needs to fulfill a promise – and you will have to see the movie to see what that promise is.

Another moving moment was a toast that Josh Duhamel makes to his deceased father where he repeats the question that he used to ask every New Year’s Eve: “What would you do today if you knew you wouldn’t fail?”

This film is full of wonderful moments like these.

Love, hope, forgiveness and commitment are all gifts that we give and receive to make life new. All of these virtues are at the center of New Year’s Eve– a wonderful film to help you leave the old behind and step into the new. As one character explains, “Second chances don’t expire until midnight!”

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About The Author

von Buseck

Dr. Craig von Buseck is a published author, popular speaker, and Digital Content Manager for the Parenting section of Craig is also a contributing writer for, MTL Magazine, Charisma Magazine, and The Write Conversation blog. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and an MA in Religious Journalism from Regent University. Craig’s recent book, 'I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel' won the prestigious Selah Award for Christian nonfiction and was nominated for The Truman Award by The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. Craig’s other books include 'Victor