10 Christmas films to watch this December
From Miracle on 34th Street to Last Christmas, here are 10 of our editor-in-chief's favourite Christmas films to get you in the festive spirit.
1.Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
This is undoubtedly the most heart-warming remake of the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street. A fantasy comedy-drama starring Richard Attenborough as Kris Kringle and Mara Wilson as Susan Walker, it centres around a child’s doubts about whether Santa Claus exists. Her life turns around when Kriss Kringle, a department store Santa, ends up proving to her that miracles do exist.
2.Little Women (2019)
Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age literary classic was taken to new heights with Greta Gerwig’s version, with a cast including Florence Pugh, Meryl Streep, Emma Watson and Saoirse Ronan. The director of ‘Ladybird’ reimagined the 1868 tale about four independent-minded sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy — in Civil War-era America. Told in a non-linear way, it explores the challenges they face as they approach adulthood.
3.It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Frank Capra’s timeless and emotional yet uplifting film starring James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore is about a man who doesn’t realise his own worth despite seemingly having it all. He considers taking suicide as he struggles with a bank failure but on Christmas Eve, an angel saves him by showing him what the world would be like without him. Surprisingly, this film was not well received when it was released in 1946 and it took some time for it to become successful, most likely because of its dark edge. but in 1982 Capra was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute and today this movie resonates with audiences around the world.
This 20-part TV series, released in 2015 on BBC, was created and co-written by Tony Jordan, known for working on EastEnders, and will transport you to the fictional settings of Charles Dickens' novels in the 19th century.
5.Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Filled with dazzling musical numbers and nostalgic moments throughout, ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ tells a simple story about the daily life of a family in St. Louis during the World’s Fair in 1904 and is filled with memorable romantic moments. It defined director Vincente Minnelli's career and made famous the Christmas tune that Judy Garland sang, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas“, written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane.
6.Holiday Inn (1942)
Holiday Inn is a joyful musical directed by Mark Sandrich, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, as well as Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale, Walter Abel and Louise Beavers. It’s most famous for having been where the Christmas tune ‘White Christmas’ originated, which won the Oscar for best original song that year. Set in an inn which only opens during the US public holidays, it’s about a crooner and a hoofer fighting over a performer.
7.A Christmas Carol, 1951
Superbly entertaining and arresting, A Christmas Carol (also known as ‘Scrooge’) is an adaptation of Charles Dickens's ‘A Christmas Carol’ (1843). Arguably the best version of the Christmas tale, it stars Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge, who is unsentimental and disregards the holiday period, and is visited by three spirits who teach him important lessons.
8.Silent Night, 2021
While Silent Night has a festive atmosphere it isn’t really family fare, but it’s delightfully quirky: A dark, Christmas horror comedy film directed by Camille Griffin about the end of the world, it’s set in a huge beautiful home in the English countryside, where a couple is spending Christmas with their family and close friends. Everything seems almost too perfect and idyllic. But outside, an appending apocalypse threatens to wipe them out.
9.The Holiday, 2006
A romantic comedy by Nancy Meyers, The Holiday is about two unhappy women who meet online, one British woman and another American, and end up swapping homes and falling in love with locals in each other's countries. The women are Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) and Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) and it’s a hilarious, light-hearted film that’s really entertaining. Be warned though, as this film has mixed reviews: The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw gave the film one star in his review and wrote that the “glutinous film is coated in a kind of buttery stuff, a soft golden glow of ersatz romance”, while Refinery 29’s entertainment editor Anne Cohen says it “is pretty close to perfect.”
10.Last Christmas, 2019
Another rom-com, sometimes also considered a dramedy, Paul Feig’s Last Christmas is set in an idyllic London and stars Emilia Clarke from ‘Game of Thrones’ and Henry Golding from ‘Crazy Rich Asians.’ Kate (Emilia Clarke) works at a store where she has to dress up in an elf costume all year round but aspires to be a singer. Her life turns around when she meets Tom (Henry Golden.)
Credits for the Main photo: © IMDB - Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh, and Eliza Scanlen in Little Women (2019)
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