On the First Day of Christmas…
On the First Day of Christmas my true love gave to me… a cosy night with the family…
I adore Christmas. Plain and simple. Through the years since childhood it’s symbolic and historic reasoning and purpose have since left me – though I doubt they were ever fully implanted in me. Of course I realise it is a Christian festival to celebrate the birth of Christ, there was a barn, a donkey, a virgin mother and an angel with some frankincense thrown in – but for me now this holiday means so much more than the mass of Christ.
Driving to the supermarket at 1am because you’ve forgotten cranberry sauce. Turning on the fire and listening to it crackle as the wind howls outside. Wrapping your frigid fingers round a warm mug of Hot Chocolate. These are the moments that spring to my mind when I think of Christmas.
One major part of this time of year, for me, is family. These are the days when you just lock the front door, close the curtains and sit with your family, however large or small it is, to enjoy lots of food and festive fun. In my household part of that fun comes from the Christmas movies we watch. It is now the 11th of December 2015 and already I have watched ample amounts of festive films whilst wrapping presents or even dusting the living room. So many of them have I already watched, that I wanted to compile a list of my top twelve favourite Christmas movies (in no order whatsoever) to get me in the festive spirit, and explain what makes them so Christmassy.
Kicking this off is the 2005 film “The Family Stone“. This is a film that, to my knowledge, not many people have heard of, and if they have then they have heard mixed reviews of it. True, when the film was released critics didn’t know what to make of it and I believe that was due to the film being ahead of it’s time.
The film tells the story of prodigal son Everett Stone (played by my mum’s favourite – Dermot Mulroney) returning to the family home for Christmas in the hopes of obtaining his grandmother’s engagement ring so he can pass it on to his girlfriend. Cue the girlfriend – prim and proper businesswoman Meredith, wrapped up in her cell phone with an annoying throat clearing tick (played brilliantly by Sarah Jessica Parker). She instantly clashes with the extended boho/hippy family but of course – things work out in the end.
First and foremost the thing that I enjoy most about this film is the colour of it. Everyone dresses in browns and beige, the house is reds and oranges. It instantly has a warm and comforting feel to it in contrast to the icy cold white snow outside. I love the family at the center of this film – they are so laid back and just spend the entire Christmas weekend lounging around the house in their pajamas and slippers. I suppose I enjoy this because it contrasts to my family – growing up I was always put in waistcoats and bow ties to dress up for Christmas gatherings – there was always a yearning to just curl up in my dressing gown.
The entire film just fills my heart with warmth, from legend Diane Keaton‘s extremely multi-layered performance that ends in a tear-jerking twist, the dramatic dinner table sequence and the realism of this family just spending another Christmas together. I just adore it. It is beautifully shot by cinematographer Jonathan Brown, who manages to frame each scene so that every ounce of Christmas fills the screen.
Performances: 8/10 – Mostly all the ensemble are on point, but some miss the target.
Atmosphere: 9/10 – This is the film version of drinking a hot chocolate on Christmas Eve.
Joy: 7/10 – There are plenty of laughs but more drama than hilarity.
Sadness: 9/10 – If you aren’t crying by the final scene then you are the Grinch!
Christmassy Feeling: 10/10