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Thomas Kinkade Christmas Cottage movie: how realistic is it?

Many questions are asked about Thomas Kinkade’s Christmas Cottage movie as to the authenticity of the story. I personally watched this film’s premier with Thom and Nanette and got to ask him about it personally. Here is what Thom revealed to me:

All the characters in that story were real people including Mayor Ernie Trevor, played by Chris Elliott. Peter O’Toole’s character Glen Wessler was actually Thom’s mentor and father figure growing up. However, his real name was Glenn Wessels, it was changed for copyright issues for the movie. Glenn was a published and famous painter in northern California and taught at the University of Berkeley. Glenn had traveled the world and personally knew Hemingway, Picasso, and was a close friend of Ansel Adams.

Glenn moved to Placerville, California (Thom’s hometown) to retire after his beloved wife had passed away and his studio was actually in a barn in his backyard, several houses down from Thom’s. Upon learning that this artist had moved so close to Thom’s residence, Thom immediately knocked on Glenn’s door to introduce himself, only to be shouted at and told to get lost. However, Thom was persistent and it wasn’t long however when Glenn took a liking to Thom and hired Thom to do small jobs around the house and studio to help Glenn who had actually suffered a broken hip just prior to moving to Placerville. Soon Glenn and Thom became real close and Glenn, acting as a father figure and role model to Thom, helped influence Thom’s life.

Soon, Glenn took Thom under his wing and sat down with Thom and unleashed all of his wisdom he had learned throughout his years. Thom likes to say that Glenn didn’t teach Thom how to paint but rather why to paint. Glenn was a philosopher and he saw fine art as a high calling, worthy of a persons utmost dedication. Art was, to Glenn, more than a profession: it was a mission.

Thom’s family was depicted accurately in the movie with the exception of his sister Kate, who was never featured in the movie since the producers wanted Thom’s mother to be the central female character. Thomas Kinkade and his brother Pat were thoroughly impressed with actor Richard Burgi’s portrayal of Thom’s father who had left the family when Thom was only 4 years old.

The main focus of “The Christmas Cottage” being that Thom’s mother was unemployed for some time and was going to foreclose on the cottage is completely true. The only exception is this happened in the summer, not the winter or Christmas time. Thom and Pat and his sister Kate returned home for summer break to learn that their mother was unemployed and about to lose their cottage. Upon learning this, Glenn Wessels donated not one as portrayed in the move, but three original paintings to Thom’s family to sell. the paintings immediately sold and actually paid for the entire mortgage of Thom’s cottage. To this day, Thom refers to these incidents as just some of the miracles he’s experienced in life. In Thom’s words, “what are the odds that Glenn would move in my neighborhood, take me as his apprentice, hear about our financial troubles and give us three of his beloved paintings to sell, and then to have those paintings sell at a premium price immediately after receiving them, just in time to beat the bank in foreclosing?” In 2007, Thomas Kinkade published his “Christmas Cottage” painting not only as a tribute to the movie, but also as an appreciation for his childhood home. You can see this painting here on our website. Just type in the search box Christmas Cottage or click on the link below. If you wish to add this painting to your collection, receive $100 off your purchase by calling our galleries at 800-771-9501 and mention that you read our blog and want your $100 off. -Published by John McIntire (Owner-Thomas Kinkade Signature Galleries of Colorado).

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5 Responses to Thomas Kinkade Christmas Cottage movie: how realistic is it?

  1. Shanna says:

    That is an awesome story.. I love that movie… probably my favorite Christmas story yet.. I live in Sacramento California and love to visit Placerville . I wish I could afford one of your paintings but just being able to see them is amazing enough.

  2. It is so nice to know that the movie wasn’t to “Hollywood-ized” because it really ministered to my heart. As Thomas paintings have inspired and blessed me for many years, finding out the events of his young life and the Blessings (his miracles) that God bestowed upon him brought joy to my heart. I am a single Mom, and watching how the Lord paved the way for Thomas’ gift and career is so encouraging to me. I have a 16 year old son who is into photography and filming and to watch him bloom with his God given gift and the doors that are opened to him bring so much hope. I love watching the Lord work in these young man’s lives. And as a single mom who’s heart breaks for her children, this renews and confirms my trust and knowing the Lord loves my children more than I do.

    So glad it was done, Thank you

  3. admin says:

    Connie, your words are very touching and I plan to forward your message for Thom to read since I know he would be touched by what you said. Thank you for sharing the light.

  4. Norma says:

    Several years ago, my mom & dad bought “The Bridge of Faith”. The 1st time I saw it, I cried. I watched the movie this year, I had tears in my eyes thoughout the movie. Didn’t know how the painter of light came about. I could really relate to the movie. Trying to survive 3 layoffs over the last 2 years and am trying to stay in my home. Several years ago we spent many hours walking the galleries with my then younger children especially during times when life was hard. Thom’s work brought a lot of peace in our lives. Especially to my young son (JJ), who at that time was 13 & fell in love with his work, He would count the “N” in the paintings. On March 31, 1999, I gave JJ the “Passages of Light” book. The scriptures and relections brought him peace. Lighthouses were his favorite. He wrote poems depicting the paintings. They are” Still Water Bridge, Twighlight Cottage (he would run to this cottage and hide), Bridge of Faith & Conquering the Storms”. Unfortunately, his life ended tragically in 2002 (age 17). I have always wanted to let Thom know how his work inspired JJ but did not know how to reach him. His poetry was read at the funeral. Also, at the funeral I was told by 1 of his friends that he always would read a card during lunch that his mom gave him and it had a beautiful bridge. It was the Bridge of Faith. A card that I wrote to him during a difficult time (3 years prior) and told his friends what I wrote brought him strenghth. He never told his friends what the card said. I was extremley touched by this. I miss my son and am trying to conquer this storm. I hold on to the candle and hope that I too will soon see a miracle. Your mom was so deserving of her miracle. This movie brought hope back into my life. Thanks again for inspiring my son.

  5. Norma says:

    Thank you

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