A Heartwarming, Wonderful Christmas Film
When it comes to Christmas films, the best ones are a little bit cheesy, completely ridiculous and over the top in the best possible way. With that in mind, The Christmas Chronicles may not be the best film for the festive period, but it’s certainly one of the more impressive ones released this year and for that alone the film deserves some recognition.
The Christmas Chronicles begins with a series of home videos of the Pierce family through the years celebrating Christmas Day. Skip forward to 2018 and the family are a broken mess, the heart of the joyful festive period gone with the passing of Dad Doug (Oliver Hudson). Youngest daughter Kate (Darby Camp) struggles to keep things feeling Christmassy, failing to stop her Mum from working all through Christmas Eve whilst her brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) mixes with the wrong crowd. All of this changes though when Kate uncovers a secret hidden in one of the home videos, sparking the two kids to work together to catch Santa Claus in the act.
Say what you will about The Christmas Chronicles’ story, Netflix have really managed to crack the formula for what makes a memorable Christmas film here. The bursts of magic, the colourful host of characters and of course Santa Claus himself all combine to bring the Christmas spirit in droves. The heartwarming message at the end is the proverbial cherry on the Christmas cake too, injecting the perfect send-off for this underrated gem on the streaming platform.
Most the film predominantly revolves around the two kids and Santa Claus as they’re tasked with saving Christmas before it’s too late. Thankfully, the chemistry between the three actors really helps drive the narrative forward. Kurt Russell plays the perfect Santa too, mixing a dash of grouchiness with joyful wisdom and wonder. Tenacious Kate is easy to root for too whilst Teddy’s character arc is easily the highlight of the film, seeing him slowly soften as the film progresses.
It seems almost criminal to compare The Christmas Chronicles next to films like Elf and Miracle On 34th Street but this Netflix Original just seems to understand what makes an enjoyable Christmas film. Yes, it’s a little bit silly, yes it’s pretty unbelievable at times but it’s also heartwarming with a feel-good message at its soft, gooey centre. It’s not perfect and the film does slip up a little during the middle portion but given how well it nails the Christmas vibe, The Christmas Chronicles is the perfect gift for the holidays, wrapped with love from Netflix. Merry Christmas Netflix, you’ve finally delivered a decent film for Christmas.