Making a sick child happy in 'November Christmas'

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In In "November Christmas," a new Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation set in a small Rhode Island community, neighbors band together to create early magical Halloween and Christmas moments for a young girl named Vanessa (Emily Alyn Lind) and her family who are in need of an extra dose of joy and hope to make it through a difficult time. Photo Credit: CBS

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REVIEW

Get the tissues out.

You'll need them - and more than once - for "November Christmas," a moving, superbly cast new CBS movie that does the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" tradition proud. Airing Sunday at 9 p.m., the drama stars Sam Elliott and Karen Allen as a couple still dealing with a tragedy of their own when they come to the aid of a family newly relocated to their town.

John Corbett and Sarah Paulson play parents hoping to enable their seriously ill daughter (Emily Alyn Lind) to celebrate the holidays early . . . fearing she may not have much time left. Elliott's character sells pumpkins and Christmas trees, and he initially doesn't understand the couple's need for such items out of season. Once he does, he and his wife try to help them realize their dreams.

A TOUCHING MOVIE

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"This picture touched me," Elliott says of the film, based on a Greg Coppa short story. "I had some friends who lost a kid who would have been about the age of our kid in the movie. The father is deceased now; he was a fireman, and he was someone I got very close to. I knew what that loss meant to him over the long haul. He was not verbal about it at all, but whenever it came up, it was really evident that he never got over it. The loss of a child is just not supposed to happen."

KAREN ALLEN RETURNS

With "National Lampoon's Animal House" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark" a big part of her screen history, Allen also has a professional life apart from acting. She operates a knitwear company from Great Barrington, Mass. (where she also runs a related shop), but now hopes to be back in front of cameras more often.

"I created this design studio and store to get myself through the period when my son was in junior high and high school," Allen explains. "I felt it was important to find something creative that I could really get involved in. Now, my son is living in New York, so this opportunity has opened back up for me to work [as an actress] more. I'm just putting my feet back in the water, and it feels really good."

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