With the holiday season in full bloom, it seems most fitting to pick four Christmas movies that help remind us what the holiday spirit represents. It is a time to believe in the make-believe, and to deepen family connections as we take the journey through film, and experience the miracle of Christmas.
Arthur Christmas (2011)
Of course, it would take the wonderful 3D, CG-animated family film, Arthur Christmas, to finally answer every child’s question: How does Santa Claus deliver all the presents in just one night? Arthur Christmas employs the elements of a traditional Christmas story, combined with Santa’s high-tech military operation, which is run by an army of paratrooper elves to deliver all the children’s presents on Christmas Eve. The film revolves around Santa’s good-natured son, Arthur Claus, after he discovers Santa’s high-tech spaceship has failed to deliver a little girl’s present, a ‘pink-twinkle’ bike. Determined to save the girl’s Christmas, Arthur along with his retired grandfather (Grandsanta), Elf, and Bryony set off on a crazy mission to England to deliver her Christmas bicycle. After facing numerous global challenges while travelling in Grandsanta’s old-fashioned sleigh, Arthur finally arrives on time to deliver the girl’s present, making her Christmas a dream come true.
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Twentieth Century Fox brings a wonderful remake of the 1947 holiday classic, Miracle on 34th Street, making it truly one of the most heart-warming, must-see Christmas movies of all time. Kriss Kringle (Richard Attenborough), the real Santa Claus, has been hired by Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) to replace Cole Department store’s worn out, intoxicated Santa Claus for the annual New York Thanksgiving Day Parade. After Kringle’s hire, the store’s sales begin to rise and its competitor comes up with a devious plan to get rid of Kringle. They accuse him of insanity for believing he is Santa Claus, which places him on trial. Dorey’s six-year-old daughter, Susan (Mara Wilson), who was raised to believe that Santa Claus does not exist, is now pondering the concept that Santa may indeed be real. Miracle on 34th Street is an uplifting movie overflowing with Christmas spirit that brings joy, laughter, and even a few tears to the whole family.
The Family Stone (2005)
In this comedy-drama, The Family Stone uses Christmas as the backdrop to the spectacle and eccentric behaviour of the Stone family. Everett Stone (Dermot Mulroney) brings his girlfriend, Meredith Morton (Sarah Jessica Parker), home for Christmas to meet his family for the first time. However, Everett’s highly-spirited, liberal-minded family clash with his uptight, conservative, Manhattan girlfriend. The film tells the story about the sharp contrast between the close-knit family members of the Stone clan and their son’s girlfriend who is treated like an outsider. Meredith becomes the focal point of the film as she disastrously attempts to win her boyfriend’s family members over with the moral support of her sister, Julie (Claire Danes). For the Stone family, Christmas proves to be a day of accusations, self-discoveries, and a time for making amends. Also included in this star-studded cast are Rachel McAdams, Craig T. Nelson, Luke Wilson, and Diane Keaton as the matriarch of the family, Sybil Stone.
The Polar Express (2004)
The Polar Express is the story of a young boy, Billy (voiced by Hayden McFarland), who is pondering the very existence of Santa Claus, Elves, and the North Pole. Billy is awakened on Christmas Eve by a mysterious train that stops in front of his house, en-route to the North Pole. The train conductor (voiced by Tom Hanks), presents Billy with a train ticket for the journey. As Billy climbs aboard, he sees he is just one of many pyjama-clad kids on the Polar Express, making their way to the North Pole to visit Santa. The Polar Express portrays an innocent child’s fantasy on Christmas Eve by combining 3D computer animation, dance, and music to convey its story. It is a delightful, modern Christmas classic that will surely endure time.