Christmas Movie Review

Rachel Zimmerli and Natalie Fiorella

Love Actually

“Love Actually” is a tale of nine lives that all somehow get tangled up together. Set in England, the movie follows romantic and non-romantic relationships such as a crime writer and his foreign maid, a widowed step-father and his lovesick step-son, and a washed out rock star and his fed-up manager. The story starts a few weeks before Christmas, introducing the characters while also developing somewhat of a festive feeling. The holiday season in other Christmas movies are typically portrayed as a joyful time spent with loved ones, but “Love Actually” is never really successful in brightening people’s spirits.

When the characters are introduced in their respective opening scenes, all is happy and well. That’s before the unsettling storylines are introduced and characters morals are questioned. For instance, when the friend was in love with his best friends wife, he stayed quiet about his feelings prior to the wedding but after she sees that he only recorded her in his wedding video, he elaborately confesses his love for her. Another plotline is that while a boss of an office is trying to play matchmaker for his two employees, which is weird enough, he’s also flirting with his secretary while married. At first it could be deemed as harmless, but then he buys her a gold necklace and only gives his wife a CD. Acts such as this don’t make it as cheerful as a Christmas movie should be.

Throughout the movie conflicts arise such as the Prime Minister of England falling for a member of his staff and a woman’s not so secret crush on her coworker gets noticed by her boss. Similar to the Prime Ministers solution, moving her to a job where he won’t see her, the characters morals are questionable. For instance, when the friend was in love with his best friends wife, he stayed quiet about his feelings prior to the wedding but after she sees that he only recorded her in his wedding video, he confesses his love for her. Acts such as this don’t make it as cheerful as a Christmas movie is supposed to be. There are some characters that do get a happy ending, such as when the step-son got a kiss from his crush before she flies back to America and when the rock star’s Christmas song is Number 1 and gets invited to a party hosted by Elton John but spends the night with his manager instead. Those happy moments should’ve been more common because the general feel of Christmas lacks in “Love Actually”. The film receives a score of 7/10

The Santa Clause

“The Santa Clause” is a festive Christmas movie about how divorcée Scott Calvin, who prior did not want to be close with his son, accidentally became Santa Claus. After putting on Santa’s suit and delivering presents on Christmas Eve with his son Charlie, Calvin takes a trip to the North Pole and finds out when he put on the suit, he unknowingly agreed to the ‘Santa Clause’, making him the new Santa.

While Calvin and his son’s relationship improves throughout the movie, Charlie sharing the new information with everyone produces questions about his well being and if spending time with his dad is safe or not. The scene where a lawyer has to decide on Calvin’s visitation rights is the saddest part of an otherwise happy movie. The conflict doesn’t hinder

Throughout the movie Calvin’s relationship with Charlie is improved, mainly because of Charlie’s fascination with his dad’s new job. However, Charlie’s growing interest becomes a problem when he tells everyone he can about the new Santa. That wouldn’t have been a big problem if Charlie wasn’t also sharing how Santa is his dad and they went to the North Pole after delivering presents.

As a whole the movie is light hearted, mainly focusing on Calvin unknowingly turning into Santa. He gains 40 pounds in one week, his hair turns white one minute after he dyes it, and has a white beard to match that grows back right after he shaves. Comical scenes such as these contribute to the overall festive movie.

The importance of family is consistent throughout the film, making it enjoyable for all ages. In the beginning family was portrayed as a hassle, like when Calvin made no effort to get along with his ex-wife’s husband. That changes by the end of the film, when Calvin gets along with his extended family. “The Santa Clause” is a funny but sweet film that leaves the viewers grateful for their family and excited for the holidays, so it receives a 10/10.

The Christmas Prince

This one is not one to watch alone. It’s not that the film is scary, it’s that the only value one can get from “The Christmas Prince” is to make fun it with a few friends. The main character, Amber Moore, who has the look, sound and emotional complexity of a Barbie, was a struggling journalist when she got a career making assignment – to report on controversial Prince Richard of a made up European country. When she arrives at the palace, she poses as a tutor so that she can get even closer to the prince.

Throughout the film, the royal family’s and specifically the prince’s view of journalists is particularly hateful. They see journalists as individuals who would do anything for their scoop and exist only to cause controversy, a stereotype to which the heroine is no exception. As a journalist, watching other journalists being represented in this way is upsetting. Since the movie’s main audience is children and young adults, it plants a poor view of the press into youthful and malleable minds which is, in a time where the press is heavily criticized by leaders in the government, a frankly dangerous move.

This film has no Christmas spirit. The timeline and plot of the “The Christmas Prince” just happen to correlate with Christmas rather than the movie actually being about Christmas. This film has about as much Christmas spirit in it as “Die Hard” does. Overall, the film is laughably horrible and pretty predictable, so it receives a score of 2.5/5.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

The funniest thing about “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” is how utterly relatable it is. The film features Clark Griswold as he tries to create the perfect Christmas for his family and unsurprisingly, things go awry. He faces a variety of challenges from picking out the perfect tree, dealing with his hick cousins who show up unannounced, to accidentally causing a massive power outage with all of his Christmas lights. The reason it’s so funny is because while all these characters are eccentric and outrageous, they are based on real characters everyone can connect to their own families. From the uncivilized cousins, to the out of touch grandparents, in law rivalries, “Christmas Vacation” keeps viewers somewhere on the line of laughing their hearts out and watching through their fingers.

The Christmas spirit is better represented in “Christmas Vacation” than any other Christmas movie. Unlike children’s Christmas movies, “Christmas Vacation” does not shy away from the negatives of the holiday. The fact is that Christmas is frankly stressful more often than it is joyful. So stressful that by the end of the movie, Clark Griswold loses his mind. However, at the end of the day, Clark still desperately wants that perfect Christmas for his family and despite his many comical failures. “Christmas Vacation’s” spirit acknowledges that stress in a comical way and in away, tells its audience no matter what goes wrong with their Christmas celebrations, it can still be a joyful time, so it receives a score of 4.5/5.