Netflix film brings Christmas cheer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year once again, which means hot chocolate, candy canes, sugar cookies and Christmas movies.

Over Thanksgiving break, I pulled up Netflix and saw a banner at the top of the screen advertising a new Netflix Film, “The Christmas Chronicles.”

Seeing Kurt Russell’s name listed as one of the stars of the movie and watching the trailer, I clicked on the movie and settled in to see what it was all about.

To preface, I have a strong connection and love for Christmas. With my birthday on Christmas Eve, Christmas spirit is abundant for me.

Going into this film, I knew that I would be in it for the long haul just because of the Christmas theme attached to the movie.

However, I was pleasantly surprised at just how much I enjoyed this film.

Set on Christmas Eve and going through the night into Christmas Day, the movie follows Teddy and Kate Pierce, two kids from Massachusetts who are mourning the loss of their father, Doug, who died while fighting a fire. Christmas was his favorite holiday, and the family is feeling his loss more than ever on Christmas Eve.

The Pierce family valued the use of video recording to capture family memories, a value Kate continues to promote throughout the movie.

Home alone on Christmas Eve, 10-year-old Kate and teenage brother Teddy decide to try and catch Santa putting presents under the tree by setting up their camera to get proof that he is real.

Little do they know, their night is about to change into working with Santa to try and save Christmas by restoring Christmas spirit across the world.

In a CNN review of the film, this movie is summed up as “a Hallmark holiday offering with … trappings of a theatrical release.”

Personally, I think this film is a perfect balance of those two elements.

The acting did have moments with the signature fuzzy Hallmark feel. But, there were also moments where the movie allowed the actors to shine and propel the plot forward.

“The Christmas Chronicles” set itself up to be a modern classic, incorporating current trends and phrases, like Santa referring to his famous tagline of “ho, ho, ho” as “fake news” and elves “flossing,” a dance trend that swept the nation in 2018.

“The Christmas Chronicles” also puts a spin on the classic Santa Claus character seen in pop culture.

In most movies, Santa is seen as a white-bearded, big-bellied old man with snowy white hair.

However, Russell’s Santa is an edgier version, wearing a red coat trimmed with real fur rather than the artificial white seen on normal Santa coats, and a salt and pepper beard contrasting his stereotypical beard. Santa also finds himself locked up in jail and ends up performing a Christmas Eve concert with the other inmates, contrasting from the typical, “goody-two-shoes” Santa seen in most pop culture.

With a runtime of under two hours, this movie has a relatively active pace and finds ways to keep the audience intrigued.

If you are a fan of Christmas films without the overarching element of seeking love, like “Elf” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” this movie should be right up your alley.

Highlighting the importance of family and what Christmas spirit means, this movie is a feel-good, family-friendly film that should be a part of your holiday this year.

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