With all that has happened in 2020, there doesn’t seem to have any chances for the traditional Christmas gatherings this year. But that doesn’t mean the heartwarming moments with our family have to stop too. And what better way to warm our souls with a few festive movies with the family?
Love Actually (2003)
Arguably one of the most shown films during the Christmas season, Love Actually remains at the top of every Christmas watchlist. Unlike a traditional film following a certain main character and certain side characters, Love Actually follows the love stories of eight different couples in the month leading up to Christmas, ranging from the British Prime Minister to just a simple photographer who pursues his best friend’s wife. Each of the “stories” is somewhat linked to each other in various ways, and characters of one story can play pivotal roles in another.
The unique parts of Love Actually are not the stories — they follow the standard romcom formula — but how it ties together these eight tales at the end in an interesting epilogue. Ultimately, the essence of the film lies in the love that the characters show at the airport, the pure unadulterated love that perhaps is the hallmark of Christmas.
Memorable quote: “It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge — they were all messages of love.”
How the Grinch stole Christmas (2000)
For those of us who still remember the Dr Seuss books that we read as a kid, stringing together the goofy rhymes and zany pictures of the Grinch, this film brings the book to life with the stellar performance of Jim Carrey as the Grinch. The Grinch, tired of the joyousness of Christmas, the gifts and the festivities, decides to ruin Christmas for the town of Whoville.
Along the course of the movie, it is not only the Grinch, but the townspeople that also learn that Christmas is not all about the material things that you can buy, but instead, the relationships that you have in your life. Perhaps this is encapsulated in the single line that six-year-old Cindy Lou Who who asks her father during the Christ-mas shopping craze. “Dad, don’t you think this is, a bit much?” Of course, this is a simple story that ends happily ever after, but it is a potent reminder to never let the commercialisation of Christmas crowd out the intangible, but oh so important relationships that we have with the people around us.
“Maybe Christmas (he thought), doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.”
Home Alone (1990)
A Christmas Carol (2009)
And to cap things off, let us never forget the meaning of Christmas with the animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’s 1843 story of the same name. Funnyman Jim Carrey takes on the role of not just Ebenezer Scrooge, but the ghosts that come to haunt the grumpy old man.
Be warned, this movie is not for the really young kids, as its dark tone and intense scenes can be slightly disturbing. The film was panned for having a dark tone, but it is perhaps the truest representation of Dickens’ tale. And it is perhaps this tone that really reminds us that in our commercialised world of Christmas, it is not all about the sales, the gifts and what you spend your year-end bonus on, but its really about the kindness, generosity and compassion that we share with the people in our lives, as Scrooge’s nephew said in the film.
See:Christmas gift ideas for 2020
“I have always thought of Christmas time ... as a good time ... the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”