Mixed or average reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. It's a well-made little inspirational drama featuring both a familiar older star (James Garner) and a new one (Abigail Breslin).
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Although cynics likely will reject The Ultimate Gift as warmed-over Capra-corn, this predictable but pleasant drama based on Jim Stovall's popular novel may be prized by those with a taste for inspirational uplift and heart-tugging sentiment.
  3. 70
    There's nothing wrong with the moral of The Ultimate Gift's story; in fact there's everything right about it. But director Michael O. Sajbel too often succumbs to movie-of-the-week sentimentality and starchy pacing. Still, Breslin's captivating performance reminds you why she was recently nominated for an Oscar.
  4. Things may work out predictably, but The Ultimate Gift does not yank on the heartstrings so much as pluck them gently.
  5. Garner is good, and so is Brian Dennehy as a crusty ranch owner; Abigail Breslin, playing a leukemia patient, demonstrates that she was not a one-note wonder in "Little Miss Sunshine."
  6. "Gift" comes across as a television-ready effort that would work perfectly for Hallmark.
  7. Reviewed by: Louis R. Carlozo
    The plot, though of the made-for-TV ilk, makes for good discussion fodder if you're trying to impress life's lessons on children or others you love. That said, be prepared to be hit over the head by the message, edifying as it is.
  8. This drama from Fox Faith Movies has a mercifully light hand in selling its Christian-values themes, but its plodding story about a spoiled young scion who must complete 12 tasks assigned him by his late grandfather is still a slog.
  9. 50
    More watchable for secular audiences than the handful of earlier films released under the Fox Faith label, this one actually has a sense of humor, a politically progressive point of view and a solid cast including the ever-reliable James Garner.
  10. 50
    It is message filmmaking so blunt you might be tempted to root for the parasitic reprobate over the saintly old man, and that's just not right.
  11. 50
    The message is clear almost immediately: charity not vanity.
  12. Reviewed by: Gregory Kirschling
    Kind of like a feel-good "Saw" for churchgoers, minus the sadistic games of death.
  13. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Directed with accomplished impersonality by Michael O. Sajbel ( One Night With the King), The Ultimate Gift means well, but in the end it's "The Pursuit of Happyness" made from the ivory tower looking down instead of from the street looking up.
  14. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    The film constantly teeters on the fulcrum of its own treacly good intentions and simplistic parable-like storytelling, and the extent that it stays balanced is largely thanks to its agile cast.
  15. Reeking of self-righteousness and moral reprimand, Michael O. Sajbel’s Ultimate Gift”is a hairball of good-for-you filmmaking.
  16. Reviewed by: Toddy Burton
    The story, based on the novel by motivational speaker Jim Stovall, throws every emotional stimulus into the pot, and the result is a deep desire for those Hollywood execs to remember that Christian doesn't have to equal brain-dead.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 16
  3. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Feb 20, 2011
    This was a movie that I thought would be crappy, but turned out to be one of the greatest movies i've ever seen, it's got a touching story, my only complaint is that it's got bad acting, even with that you will enjoy the story, one I would highly recommend seeing. Full Review »
  2. Sep 14, 2010
    I am captivated by this movie. Its moral and archetypal themes are timeless, the plot is well-paced, and the acting is superb, especially Drew Fuller. The rich family is an absurd caricature, but still really funny. Full Review »
  3. DarylL.
    Aug 9, 2009
    This was a fantastic movie. Well acted and directed, and edited. This will not appeal to the "progressive" types I suppose, but the long proven values represented here were woven together to make a great little story. Full Review »