If any year needed some feelgood festive films to finish off the year it’s 2020. If this year has taught us anything, it is how useful the humble television has been to us during lockdown, especially heading into deepest, darkest winter. I’ve seen close friends and family put up their Christmas decorations as early as mid-November to brighten the miserable mood.
In light of the premature Christmas spirit, I have been a lot more subtle in my approach, by simply watching some festive films. Here is a list of feelgood festive films that will always make me feel Christmassy and forget that we are in another lockdown.
I only hope these juvenile suggestions brighten up the end to a predominantly rubbish year for everybody AND steer you away from neo-classics such as Elf (don’t shoot me, but it’s terrible) and Love Actually (which controversially, I do love, but not every Christmas) and to explore something slightly different to the usual. There are so many I could have included in this list, such as Nightmare Before Christmas, A Muppet Christmas Carol, Home Alone and The Grinch. But as this year hasn’t been following many rules and has been unconventional, so are my choices for feelgood festive films.
Holiday Inn (1942)
My views on this are short and sweet. Bing Crosby is the king of Christmas in this movie, Fred Astaire dancing with firecrackers, Irving Berlin’s songbook for all public holidays of the US is incomparable. If you want to watch a sweet film that includes one of the most iconic performances of White Christmas, this is the film for you. There has been some outrage recently for the use of blackface in the scenes celebrating Abraham Lincoln Day, I am not sure how it has been addressed in light of recent events. Despite this, the film was made in 1942 where its use was not uncommon but not popular either. That being said, the winter scenes in this film are so Hollywood that all the snowflakes are the same and in the earlier part of the golden age of Hollywood, equal snowflakes and Christmas card worthy fireplaces will always make me feel Christmassy.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
The shortest of all the films here, this film is perfect for all age groups. Charlie Brown’s misanthropic and awkward nature speaks to the younger generation as he is depressed. This short film follows the attempts of Charlie Brown trying to make the best of the Christmas period, with Snoopy, his multi-talented beagle decorating his doghouse, his sister Sally composing a long list to Santa. This film encapsulates a mood that we have all felt this year at some point, trying to make the best of bad situations. We have all had a Charlie Brown moment this year (some of you lucky readers may not have) but when we come together, like the Peanuts gang do to support Charlie Brown, we may not be on the same side, but a feeling of acceptance and support will make even the most miserable of people smile.
Unlikely Angel (1996)
Before Netflix made Dolly Parton loving Christmas look cool to its millennial audience, Dolly had been a Christmas advocate for years. I have chosen this classic ‘straight to television’ film where Dolly stars as the spectre of a country singer Ruby Diamond (classic) who is given a task by Saint Peter to reunite a family before midnight on Christmas Eve. That is the wonder of a straight to television film, the storylines are so predictable, the image of Dolly Parton playing an angel or spectral figure in these Christmas films seems to be a win.
The Harry Potter Series
So recently, I have been starting my winter marathon of the Harry Potter film fest early this year. For some reason, I gravitate to them when December comes around and watch them in the run-up to Christmas. One reason could be they were often released in cinema at this time of year, the more likely reason is that they manage to cover all seasons at Hogwarts, the winter scenes always evoke a festive feel in me, whether it’s Ron unwrapping a Mrs Weasley Knitwear special, or Professor Moody supping on Polyjuice potion with his ferret date, it is always a crowd-pleaser at Christmas. I mean, the director of the first two Harry Potter movies, Chris Colombus also directed the first two Home Alone movies and Columbus films Christmas spectacularly from a child’s perspective.
This article was written by guest contributor Daisy Lacey.
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