From Truman Capote to Vince Vaughn, draft-dodgers to ghosts of Christmas future… A whole new week and a whole new swag of festive film suggestions.
Truth be told, I really don’t care for Santa-themed Christmas films. This one however, is less about Santa (played by that guy from the truly awful Sideways) and more about his bitter brother Fred.
I have a conflicted relationship with Vince Vaughn (do yourself a favour, for example, and don’t see Four Christmases), but his character here - a ne'er-do-well living in the shadow of his sibling - is quite funny. The involvement of Kathy Bates, Rachel Weisz (who, incidentally, stars in two of my 2016 favourites) and Kevin Spacey - not to mention a particularly funny cameo from Frank Stallone - make Fred Claus much better than I expected.
Based on the Truman Capote story, this very simple story centres around the destitute, simple Sook (Geraldine Page) and her young cousin Buddy (Donnie Melvin). The unlikely BFFs make Christmas cakes for “people who struck our fancy”.
A bare bones kind of production that will leave you in a flood of tears. An exceptionally subtle and beautiful film.
Sam (Cliff De Young) is a struggling musician raising his adopted daughter solo. At a loose end for Christmas, he returns to Texas to see his folks for the first time since he left for Canada to dodge the draft. With A lovely 60s and 70s non-festive soundtrack and a very young Barbara Hershey.
(Apparently connected to a 70s television series, but I came in a Sunshine virgin and loved it anyway).
Winnie from The Wonder Years, Luke from The Gilmore Girls and Lorraine from Back to the Future star in this story of a courtship lasting across twenty Christmases. With a dash of Great Expectations for good – and melancholic – measure. A lovely, romantic Christmas film.
An extremely weird British film – no surprises since it stars the fabulous Eddie Izzard (if you haven’t seen The Riches, do so now) – about several Christmases, and families, being destroyed by the most innocuous of gestures.
The ending is very both sweet, completely unsettling and ultimately serving some very mixed messages. Redemption and ghosts and the standard Christmas fare. Really excellent stuff.
Tune in daily for more seasonal offerings throughout December.
Authors: Lauren Rosewarne, Senior Lecturer, University of Melbourne