Movie Review: 5 Christmas Films For The Whole Family
It’s that time of year! Want to get more into the holiday spirit in a way that isn’t listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” on repeat? Check out this list of the best holiday movies to watch with your family, and you’re sure to jingle all the way through the rest of the year or turn into the Grinch — either way, you’re in for a good time.
1. Elf (2003)
A 2003 comedy starring Will Ferrell as the titular character is an entertaining, lighthearted family film. Ferrell gives a strong performance as Buddy the elf. He discovers that he is actually a human raised by elves and goes to New York in search of his true family, while holiday hijinks follow him wherever he goes. In today’s world of increasing cynicism, this film is an excellent reminder of just how fun the holidays can be.
2. Home Alone (1990)
This 1990 comedy is a pop culture staple. The plot centres around Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, a kid who his family leaves behind
while they go on their Christmas vacation. Hilarity ensues as Kevin basically acts out every kid’s wildest fantasy. This film skyrocketed Culkin to stardom, and the iconic mirror scene is one of the standout moments in recent holiday pop culture memory. This one is absolutely a must-see.
3. Die Hard (1988)
It’s up there with ‘Is a hot dog a sandwich?’ as one of those goofy online debates that’s so played out your eyes cross whenever it hots up again, so let me just put it to bed right now: yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Come on: it takes place on Christmas Eve. Run-DMC’s immortal Christmas in Hollis is on the soundtrack. Some have even argued that it’s secretly a remake of It’s a Wonderful Life. Look, you can and should watch John
McTiernan’s action classic year-round –but for my money, ringing in the season with the sound of machine-gun fire, C4 explosions and Alan Rickman’s accent sure gives me Christmassy vibes.
4. The Polar Express (2004)
Robert Zemeckis sprinkled his family- friendly magic on this performance-capture animation starring Tom Hanks in multiple roles, including narrator, train conductor and Santa Claus. This one ticks a lot of boxes for Christmas fanatics, including reindeer, elves and a whole heap of snow.
Zemeckis would later revisit the uncanny valley of the holidays with the Jim Carrey- starring Disney’s A Christmas Carol, but for my money, this first crack at mo-cap holiday cheer is the perfect holiday heartwarmer.
5. Love Actually (2003)
The film that single-handedly turned Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas is You into a cultural juggernaut, Richard Curtis’s sprawling London ensemble piece is so sticky sweet that it’s easy to forget that each bit of holiday cheer is counterbalanced with characters destined for the naughty list. From Alan Rickman’s philandering editor to Hugh Grant’s assistant-seducing Prime Minister and Andrew Lincoln’s borderline stalker, most vignettes balance the sugar with some truly bitter spice. No matter. As Bill Nighy’s ageing rocker says, Christmas is all around it. And it takes a bit of naughtiness to make the nice shine through anyway.