Entertainment

There are actually a lot more Christmas movies to love – LIST

Love Actually airs often over Christmas.

Love Actually airs often over Christmas. (Image: IMDB)

That may be because, since its release, the caliber of Christmas movies in general has steadily declined. In the early 2000s, a series of Christmas movies that you probably still remember were produced, and they made money.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas was the sixth biggest movie of the year 2000, grossing $345 million.

Then there was The Holiday, which, like Really Love, had stellar actors and sets from both sides of the Atlantic, Polar Express and Arthur Christmas.

Nativity! it was popular enough to underpin not one but three sequels.

But this period now seems like a lost golden age. Because now we predominantly receive movies so terrible that they are beyond redemption of “so bad, they’re good.”

See, for example, Netflix’s A Castle For Christmas 2021, in which Brooke Shields stars as a writer who leaves New York to spend December in a fantasy concoction of Scotland, where she first falls in love with the local castle, and ultimately of his laird, Cary Elwes.

Or the uber-cheesy 2019 London festive rom-com Last Christmas with Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, which had such a predictable turn that it dampened the film as much as the deceased character it referred to. So it’s no surprise that viewers are tempted to rewatch the most successful movies of Christmas past than to watch these recent surprises.

But rather than succumb to the renewed hype and watch Love Actually one more time, you’ve probably seen it plenty of times already, or go the predictable route of rewatching the same handful of other holiday staples like It’s A Wonderful Life or The Snowman. , why? Did you try something different this year?

Bishop's Wife stars Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven

Bishop’s Wife stars Cary Grant, Loretta Young and David Niven (Image: IMDB/GETTY)

The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

If you like It’s A Wonderful Life, and let’s face it, who doesn’t? – You will love this as it presents a similar terrain: it also involves an angel coming down to earth at Christmas to solve the problems of some troubled souls.

Instead of the chaotic Clarence of the first, the heavenly visitor here, Dudley, is played by the rather suave and charming Cary Grant.

He makes a seasonal visit to the bishop of the title, David Niven, who is eager to raise funds for a cathedral.

Just as James Stewart struggles to believe Clarence, here Niven is equally skeptical that Grant’s Dudley is really an angel, but to the Bishop’s chagrin, his wife, played by Loretta Young, is rather more enamored with the newcomer.

The film’s charm lies in the effervescent interplay between this trio, and the story resolves itself on Christmas Eve.

To strengthen the comparison to Stewart’s classic, The Bishop’s Wife has one actor in common: Bobby Anderson, who played the young George Bailey, also stands out.

Serendipity (2001)

And instead of Really Love, why not try this sloppy holiday rom-com from the same era?

Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack star in a love story that begins with Christmas shopping at Bloomingdales and features a host of other festive New York images, including ice skating in Central Park.

The premise revolves around whether or not the couple is meant to be together. I’ll let you guess the answer.

Serendipity may not have the vast cast of its contemporary Love Actually, but it’s less uneven and also without sinister stalker issues.

Both leads shine, it looks great and is predictable in a cozy and charming way rather than plodding. All in all, it’s an easy trade to make and it won’t disappoint.

White Christmas (1954)

You know the song, you’ll almost certainly be listening to it on repeat over the next few days, but have you ever seen the movie it came from?

Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are a pair of World War II soldiers who form a double act and are later introduced to the singing sisters played by Vera-Ellen and Rosemary Clooney, George Clooney’s aunt.

Various shenanigans and much singing then ends in a gloriously snowy Vermont hotel where love prevails and the title song is sung.

It may lack complexity, but the lavish settings and gorgeous Technicolor styles, as well as the soundtrack, make it a real delight.

Klaus was made for Netflix in 2019

Klaus was made for Netflix in 2019 (Image: IMDB/NETFLIX)

Klaus (2019)

Why always turn to The Snowman, charming as it is, especially if you haven’t seen this three-year-old animated alternative yet?

Made for Netflix as one of the productions that signaled the company’s intention to produce award-winning content; in fact, it won the Bafta for best animated film and only missed out on the Oscar for Toy Story 4.

It’s what superhero movies call an “origin story,” only this time the superhero is Santa, and it reveals how he came to deliver gifts to children around the world every December. Set in a small town in the snowy north of Norway in the 19th century, she is beautiful to watch and beautifully told.

fanny and alexander (1982)

A late-career gem from master director Ingmar Bergman, it’s something of an epic running at just over three hours, but well worth a close look.

It begins with a Christmas play and a Christmas party in a small Swedish town in 1907, but that’s about as funny as it gets: the two brothers, whose names are in the title, watch their lives rapidly degenerate after the death of their daughter. a familiar.

With powerful scenes of ghosts and child cruelty, it evokes Dickens. Brilliantly shot and acted, it regularly appears on lists of the best movies of all time.

Beautiful Girls (1996)

A pianist whose music career and love life are failing leaves New York to spend Christmas in the small, blue-collar Massachusetts town where he grew up, only to discover that many of his old friends are also wondering about their lives and futures, including adulthood. it doesn’t go according to plan for either of them either.

There is a lot of snow and festive decorations, but the whole is imbued with this feeling of disappointment and questioning.

There’s an excellent cast including Matt Dillon, Timothy Hutton, Rosie O’Donnell, Mira Sorvino, Uma Thurman, Annabeth Gish, and a young Natalie Portman.

Much like the Love Actually story between Keira Knightley and Andrew Lincoln, the warmth in the scenes between Hutton and Portman, then just 13, has been questioned by some in recent years.

But it’s still one of the most thoughtful movies around Christmas.

Judy Garland and Tom Drake in Meet Me In St. Louis

Judy Garland and Tom Drake star in Meet Me In St. Louis (Image: IMDB)

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Like White Christmas, this is another Technicolor-era gem that’s a feast for the eyes.

Although it’s not purely a Christmas movie (it’s a year in the life of a family, divided by season), the part that’s Christmas is so Christmasy that it more than makes up for it: when Judy Garland sings Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas there won’t be an eye. dry in the house

It’s magical, even if she was struggling with anxiety and drug addiction at the time.

The rest of the soundtrack is also fabulous. Director Vincente Minnelli was not deterred by her star’s troubles: he married her the following year and they had a daughter, Liza. Unsurprisingly, they divorced in 1951, but this charming film lives on.

Bad Santa (2003)

It opened the same winter as Love Really and was forever dwarfed by it, taking barely a quarter of its festive rival’s £200m-plus at the box office. But it’s still a sleeper hit with its darker take on the Christmas redemption theme.

Billy Bob Thornton stars as the titular holiday baddie: a sex-addicted, drug- and alcohol-addicted thief who uses the cover of his job at a department store grotto to commit heinous crimes.

But, as is often the case at Christmas, events have a way of making him reconsider his misdeeds. An American newspaper called the film “the evil twin of Miracle On 34th Street”, the best way to describe it that you can find.

Catherine Deneuve in A Christmas Carol

Catherine Deneuve in A Christmas Carol (Image: IMDB)

A Christmas Carol (2008)

Catherine Deneuve leads the cast in this wonderful comedy-drama based on a dysfunctional middle-class French family that gathers for the festive season.

There’s all kinds of mess going on: marital infidelity, drunkenness, drugs, fights, anxiety, depression, and that’s before you even find out one of them is about to die.

It’s not Christmassy in the Love Actually sense, but it’s an alternative: fun and charming, with lots of different characters and frantic comings and goings against a visually beautiful backdrop of Parisian Noel.

The Holly and the Ivy (1952)

Like The Bishop’s Wife, it centers on the family of a man in full dress at Christmas, but instead of greater New York, it takes us to a small parish in rural Norfolk.

Ralph Richardson is the elderly priest, cared for by his long-suffering daughter (Celia Johnson of Brief Encounter fame).

As in that classic, his character is no stranger to fulfilling his duty, putting others before him, in silence.

The arrival of the family, starring a young Denholm Elliott, signals a dramatic clash of values ​​and the revealing of long-buried secrets.

But it all comes to a head as Christmas Day approaches, no angel intervention, just a bit of all-British decency.



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