Christmas is one of the most important festivals in Christianity although it is also celebrated by non-believers. Oh, sweet Christmas. That time of the year filled with traditional family gatherings, meals, dinners and gifts, decorating and illuminating streets and homes and imbuing us with that magical Christmas spirit. Christmas is a time of illusion and joy where love and goodwill are very much in mind. It’s a time to be at home, with the family, enjoying those magical Christmas movies, a time that brings cheer to adults and children alike.
Cinema, as always, is and has been present to remind us of this special time. Sometimes in the form of comedy, sometimes in the form of drama and sometimes even horror. Every year there are new movies to celebrate a sweet Christmas with the family.
Recommended movies for a family Christmas
The Holiday (2006)
This romantic comedy directed by Nancy Meyers is sure to leave a pleasant taste in your mouth. Starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black, The Holiday tells the story of two women who decide to swap homes during the Christmas holidays. The reason? They both want to escape from two broken love affairs and change of scenery. Los Angeles and London will be the chosen locations to put an end to their chaotic lives and start a new adventure. But, as in any self-respecting romantic film, the two women end up falling in love again.
The Family Man (2000)
Director Brett Ratner surprises with what could be considered a modern adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The Family Man is an all-ages romantic comedy starring Nicolas Cage and Téa Leoni. Cage plays Jack Campbell, a self-centred, tyrannical, immensely wealthy, materialistic and work-obsessed Wall Street broker who obviously has no plans to celebrate Christmas with anyone he loves. On Christmas Day, without knowing how, he wakes up as a lowly tyre salesman, married to the old girlfriend he decided to leave behind to devote himself entirely to the world of finance. Now Campbell must decide what life he wants to live. Money and success versus love and the value of family.
Love Actually (2003)
Another romantic comedy with dramatic overtones, the central theme is the story of several people who intersect in London just before the Christmas holidays. Richard Curtis directs an impressive cast of actors and actresses including Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley and Bill Nighy. Love Actually is a British film aimed at all audiences with a very clear message: wherever you look, you will find love everywhere. An absolute must-see for Christmas.
This film, an absolute masterpiece and mythical work of the 80s, although endearing, is not suitable for all audiences. It is recommended for those over the age of 12, as the director Joe Dante shows us in this film a somewhat terrifying Christmas. The reason? The Gremlins, a bunch of critters with a very bad temper that have become a true Christmas classic. The plot is more than clear by now. A man brings home a cute creature bought in strange circumstances as a gift for his son. However, although adorable, the little creature has some rules: it must not get wet, it must not eat after midnight and it must not be exposed to the sun. If they are observed, all will be well. It wasn’t all going to be romantic comedies.
Home Alone (1990) > One of the most watched Christmas movies in the family
We travel back in time a few years to revisit a children’s comedy suitable for all ages that oozes Christmas in every frame. In 1990, Chris Columbus directed a young Macaulay Culkin who embroidered the role of Kevin McCallister, a boy who misbehaves the night before travelling to Paris and is punished by his mother to sleep in the attic. The next day, in a hurry, the family forgets about him and flies to France, leaving the little boy, as the title says, Home Alone.
The little boy will have to learn to feed himself, to shop, to pick up the house and, even, he will have to deal with some petty thieves who lie in wait to steal the house taking advantage of the family’s absence. The result is a fun comedy that the little ones in the house won’t get tired of watching, with a very catchy soundtrack by the brilliant John Williams.
The Grinch (2000)
Directed by Ron Howard, this film, suitable for all ages, introduces us to The Grinch, a bitter and cantankerous being who is determined to put an end to Christmas. This time it was Jim Carrey who played this endearing character based on the Christmas story How the Grinch Stole Christmas! written by Dr. Seuss in 1957. Watch out for the soundtrack by James Horner and, for those who dare to watch it in the original version, the voice of the great Anthony Hopkins as narrator.
Last Christmas (2019) > The most recent of the family Christmas movies
Romantic comedy directed by Paul Feig and starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding and Emma Thompson, one of the films that will delight the whole family at Christmas, with a 7-year age restriction. The film is inspired by the music of George Michael, in fact, the title of the film refers to the famous song performed by the singer. Kate (Emilia Clarke) is a down-on-her-luck young woman who works as Santa’s elf in a Christmas shop. Fate will lead her to meet Tom (Golding), a fact that will end up changing her life completely. All in all, a romantic comedy with a message and steeped in Christmas spirit.
Like Home Nowhere (2008)
Brad and Kate are a couple who hate Christmas. Or rather, they hate spending Christmas with their family. So every year they decide to spend the holidays in an exotic location. One year, they are forced to cancel their plans and have to deal with four family celebrations on the same day. Seth Gordon directs this romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughn, Sissy Spacek, Robert Duvall and Kristin Chenoweth. Like Home Nowhere is a delightful comedy about Christmas and the importance of spending it with the people we really love. Only one warning: not recommended for children under 7.
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
Lucy (Sandra Bullock) is a dreamy young woman who works as an underground ticket agent and is deeply in love with someone she doesn’t know. One day, he has an accident and Lucy saves his life. Later, in the hospital and with the patient in a coma, the whole family, out of confusion, ends up assuming that she is his fiancée. All except her brother-in-law (Bill Pullman). Directed by Jon Turteltaub While you were sleeping is a beautiful romantic comedy based on simplicity and narrative simplicity to construct a modern fairy tale set against the backdrop of Christmas.
The Family Stone (2005)
Thomas Bezucha directed Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Dermot Mulroney, Luke Wilson and Claire Danes, among other actors and actresses, in The Family Stone, a romantic comedy with hints of drama. It’s Christmas and the Stone family is less than enthusiastic about the visit of Meredith Morton, the girlfriend of the eldest son of the family, to whom he intends to get engaged. The Family Jewel is a screwball comedy but it also has a lot of depth in places. It moves away from sappiness to show us in a warm and close way the intricacies of the family, more accentuated when it’s time to get together at Christmas.
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