Christmas time is almost here! And what better way to get yourself in the holiday mood in between studying than by watching a Christmas movie? In this edition of our Watchables series, we have rated some new and classic holiday movies. So take a look and decide which one you’ll be watching next!
Let it Snow
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Genre: Comedy, Romance
This new Netflix original movie, based on the book by John Green, has already been nominated to be the new ‘Love Actually’. The story takes place in a small, rather boring town on Christmas eve, while a snowstorm is making almost everybody stay inside. There are several storylines in the movie, which is why one could make the comparison with the classic ‘Love Actually’. However, the main characters in ‘Let it Snow’ are much younger - only high school students - and therefore the storylines are much less profound.
The movie has all clichés a christmas movie needs: a famous musician falling in love with a normal girl, childhood friends falling in love with each other and a woman wearing an outfit of tin foil (duh). But there are also some more inventive stories, for instance a queer love story and a story of a girl that is way too addicted to her phone and social media. The storylines themselves are very well thought of, but the movie is too short to really dig into them and therefore seems somewhat rushed. The actors, however, do a very good job and add some good humor to the movie.
Bonus: the soundtrack of the movie, which Netflix even brought out separately. It is a great mix of old hits and more modern (Christmas) songs.
The Knight Before Christmas
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Another Netflix original movie, starring Vanessa Hudgens and including an actual knight. The latter should already have warned me about the quality of the movie - unfortunately it did not. I am very much wondering who decided to make a Christmas movie in which a 14th century knight travels time, and much more who gave this person the opportunity to actually make the movie (and which substances they took before taking these decisions).
The plot is as follows: a 14th century knight travels time and ends up in a small, snowy village in the week before Christmas of 2019. There, he meets Brooke, who is played by Vanessa Hudgens. Sir Cole (the knight) is confused about nearly everything that happens in the modern world, but does seem to understand some aspects of it. As a true knight, Sir Cole has to fulfil his quest and he tries so in many ways, making the entire village love him. Still, his chivalrous actions do not seem to fulfil the entire quest, until he finds out that he has to open his heart to completely succeed...
Of course, there is no Christmas movie without a happy ending. The ending is highly predictable, obviously, but also leaves the viewer with many practical questions. Although I am not sure if I want these questions answered, it seems like they will be. There have namely been rumours of a sequel coming up next year, so hold your horses (like Sir Cole would do)!
A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Genre: Fantasy, Music, Romance
Cinderella is one of the top classic fairy tales across the globe today. The plot has a similar pattern with some adaptations. A kind, beautiful (usually) woman named Cinderella faces awful life obstacles throughout the story. In the beginning, Cinderella’s mother died. Her father remarried another woman, who turned out to be evil. Not long after, Cinderella’s father died. She received harsh treatments from her stepfamily. But one day a fairy godmother showed up, gave her a makeover and Cinderella attended a royal ball, capturing the heart of the Prince, and before you know it they live happily ever after.
This Christmas movie is not far from the generic Cinderella plot. Of course, many elements in the Cinderella fairy tale do not exist, so this is an adaptation of the generic Cinderella plot, with some elements used as an interpretation to appear realistic. For example, instead of a fairy godmother we have a caring best friend who exists as a catalyst for “Cinderella” to get her happy ending, whether it is true love or achieving their dreams. As much as I know how the plot will unfold, I definitely sat through 116 minutes of "Christmas joy” because the main characters were originally Disney stars that I really enjoy watching. Other than that, I would definitely not recommend anyone to watch it. It captures the Christmas spirit, but the plot is not that interesting or new.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
If you’ve never watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas, then you must be living under a rock. This movie is shown multiple times every year on tv around Christmas time and there’s a reason for that. It’s arguably one of the best Christmas movies ever. The Grinch is a not-so-cheery person who loathes Christmas, but ironically lives on a hill above the extremely Christmassy town called Whoville. Jim Carrey plays the role of the Grinch and does such a great job that you sometimes forget it’s an actual person playing the role.
The movie is basically about his character development from a pessimistic, selfish person who hates Christmas into a happy, Christmas-loving Grinch. Having rewatched the movie every year since I was a kid, I find myself relating more and more to the Grinch. Saying things like “am I just eating because I’m bored?”, “I guess I could use a little social interaction” and my favourite, “6:30 - Dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again.”. I could go on and on about how relatable the Grinch is, but at the end of the day it’s a wonderful Christmas movie that shows you how people can change for the good all while making you laugh throughout the movie. This movie is a must-watch during Christmas time and never fails to put me in the Christmas mood!
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Crime
Holiday season is the perfect time to (re)watch Home Alone 1 or 2 (we don’t talk about the sequels, because they’re trash). But clearly Home Alone 2 is the superior one, because it takes place in beautiful New York City and there’s nothing more magical than New York City during Christmas time. Kevin McCallister is once again separated from his family when travelling to Miami for Christmas and ends up boarding a flight to good old New York. The movie follows all his adventures and antics in New York City, from encountering the bandits from the first movie again and defeating them all the way to spending hundreds of dollars on room service using his dad’s credit card.
Not only is the movie funny and incredibly entertaining, it also gives you major Christmas vibes with beautiful scenes of New York City decorated for Christmas; cute Christmassy stores, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and Christmas decorations across the entire city. Home Alone 2 is a Christmas essential and a classic feel good movie. And of course, we can’t forget about the iconic quote: Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal ;)