If you hadn’t noticed already, I LOVE CHRISTMAS. It makes me so happy and it’s definitely my favourite time of year. One thing that I’ve never really been a huge fan of though is Christmas films. I’m pretty fussy with them! I don’t like farcical comedies (Home Alone, for example) and most of the ‘popular’ Christmas films I haven’t even seen (I only watched ‘Elf’ a couple of weeks ago, and I only saw half of that). However, there are three films that I adore and I make sure I watch every single Christmas without fail…
Released: November 2011
Director: Sarah Smith
Starring: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy
Film Style: Computer animation
Before I watched this film, the first thing that jumped out at me was the amazing cast list: with James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton and Robbie Coltrane just to name a few, I was in a wonderland of my favourite actors and actresses. I watched the film and I loved it before it even properly began. It combines with the magic of Christmas with a strange science-fiction qualities that just add to the film’s charm: for instance, the new modern-day Santa no longer travels around the world in a reindeer-drawn sleigh, but a GIANT spaceship filled with thousands of elves who all work in different departments to ensure that Christmas runs smoothly. It’s funny and magical and just so much fun and every time I watch it, I love it even more than I already do.
Released: November 2009
Director: Debbie Isitt
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ashley Jensen, Pam Ferris
Film Style: Live action
Nativity! fills me with so much happiness and joy that I want to get up and dance around the room. With great acting from Martin Freeman, almost sickeningly sweet and funny kids and catchy songs, it’s the perfect feel-good Christmas film. The story follows a primary school teacher called Mr Maddens (Martin Freeman) who is suddenly landed with the job of writing and directing the school’s annual nativity play – and it could all go wrong when he tells the Headteacher of opposing ‘posh’ school that big-time producers from Hollywood are coming to film his play. Will he be able to prove that he wasn’t lying and pull off the biggest event that Coventry has ever seen? It’s a good laugh and I watch it at least a couple of times every single year to get me into the festive spirit.
The Polar Express
Released: November 2004
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks
Film Style: Motion-capture animation
Based on ‘The Polar Express’ by Chris Van Allsburg
This film is a funny one to pick for my ultimate favourite because it tends to spark so many different opinions. A lot of people say they don’t like the animation style, the way the characters move, or the creepy ghost who lives on top of a mystical train that may or may not actually be there (which, you know, I totally understand). But whatever other people think: The Polar Express is my favourite Christmas film ever.
I can’t even pinpoint why it’s my favourite. I love the story, I really like the characters even though we don’t know a single thing about them, and I especially adore the Christmasy, festive tingly feeling it gives me. It also has a wonderful song that I believe was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. Tom Hanks brilliantly voices so many characters in the film and each one is completely different. I disagree with people who dislike the animation style, too: I think it’s great! For a film of its time (it was released nearly 12 years ago) the animation style was brand new and innovative, and okay, it may not be completely smooth and the way the characters move their mouths when they speak can look a bit strange – but I adore it. I watch this film every single Christmas Eve, and this year I’m going to do just that and I CAN’T WAIT.
What are your favourite Christmas films? Do you agree or disagree with any of mine?