Tuesday 16 December 2008
Putting the festive feeling on film
I am a big film lover and I am quite the Christmas elf, so of course I do have a, not so secret, love of Christmas films. I think there is no avoiding that festive films are a love them or hate them thing- and also fairly kitsch. Films I love at Christmas are also not necessarily the ones I would enjoy at any other time of the year. But hey that's why I like Yule I guess.
These are The Times' top 20 Christmas films.
Mine are a mixture of the classic and the eclectic. They are in the order I work up to Christmas Day. That doesn't mean they are in favourite order, just in the vague order I might watch them in if I had as much time as I would like!
The Family Stone: Not particularly well received when it came out, in this country anyway. I can't totally put my finger on why I like this one except that it features a lovely but slightly eccentric family which I always like at Christmas. It features some good, understated performances and isn't smaltchzy. It's quiet but very festive and I just enjoy it. I never fail to smile when Sarah Jessica Parker is singing repeat the sounding joy under her breath at the end.
The Holiday: I think this is a bit like the Family Stone. One that I really can't help liking against my better judgement. I think Kate Winslet's likeability is a big factor but Eli Wallach steals the show.
Miracle on 34th Street:the original and the Richard Attenborough version. Really if you like Christmas and are a little, or big, kid what is not to like about this tale of Chris Cringle proving he is real. I believe.
The Polar Express: I am actually not that keen on the early stages but it's all made up for when they get to the Pole. I can hear the bells.
Elf : I think this might be fast becoming my favourite! Will Ferrel as an Elf (genius), Zooey Deschanel as fabulous as ever, Santa in peril and needing us all to sing.
Love Actually: It's not as good as it could be and there are stories I could live without but it's set in London at Christmas and it just makes me smile.
It's a Wonderful Life: This is the Christmas film, as good and as relevant every year.
The Snowman: Perfection. From David Bowie to the score, to the illustration. When it begins the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I am always transfixed for the entirety. Proof that to have an impact a film need not be long or have a very complex narrative. I am in floods of tears by the end every single time.
Santa Claus the Movie: This really is camp as Christmas. It has some quite bad effects and is really strange in some ways but it came out when I was a child and I remember it being on every Christmas eve and it just *has* the Christmas spirit.
Joyeux Noel: A dramatisation of the laying down of arms on Christmas Day in 1914. This could be very try hard poignant but it isn't.
Finally Christmas wouldn't be Christmas to me without the proper Dickens A Christmas Carol. My favourite is the Patrick Stewart and Richard E. Grant version but I like them all (especially the Muppets!)
It's a Wonderful Life poster on www.allposters.com
Love Actually: http://moviesmedia.ign.com/movies/image/love-actually-1.jpg
The Snowman: http://photos.thefirstpost.co.uk/arts/2005/07/images/071213snowman.jpg