Films to watch at Christmas (that aren’t Christmassy)

Are you sick of Christmas already, even though it’s not even happened yet? Considering some people put their decorations up in mid-November, and the fact that Channel 5 has been playing pretty much non-stop Christmas films for the past month, we don’t blame you. To help you get through the home stretch while keeping up your festive spirit, Impact Film & TV are here to suggest some heart-warming films to help you feel that Christmas sentimentality – without too much of the Christmas.

The Way Way Back (2013)

If it’s the cold weather you want to be rid of, Community alumni Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s directorial debut is the perfect antidote. After Duncan (Liam James) is forced to spend the summer with his mother (Toni Collette) and her obnoxious, undermining boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell), his job at the local waterpark provides him with a whole host of characters that soon become his pseudo-family.

With a supporting cast (including Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney and Maya Rudolph) that works so well together, it’s impossible not to fall in love with these characters as they help rebuild Duncan’s self-worth. The camaraderie of this quirky, affable bunch is contagious – just the right kind of film to warm your heart on a winter’s day.

The Terminal (2004)

Whether or not you’re going on holiday this Christmas, this airport-set comedy-drama will remind you that love and friendship can be found anywhere – even in a terminal.

In one of Steven Spielberg’s lesser-known works, we see Tom Hanks play a native of the fictional Krakozhia. But while on a plane to the US, civil war breaks out in his home country, effectively leaving him stateless. Thus, he is forced to remain in the terminal, where he not only makes a life for himself, but also inexplicably wins over the hearts of his fellow colleagues.

Featuring Stanley Tucci as an easily dislikeable antagonist, as well as a pre-Avatar Zoe Saldana, this movie combines compassion with a whole lot of fun – the perfect family film to gather round at Christmas.

Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

There are some films that are best experienced when you haven’t heard or read too much about the story before actually watching it, and Fried Green Tomatoes is one of them. To summarise, this is a tale of friendship in the face of adversity; it’s somewhat similar to Forrest Gump in its scope and general mood.

One of the best things about this rather forgotten movie is the feeling of empowerment it gives you. The writing is unaffected and the female characters in particular are accurate in their representation of women, in that they are shown to be intelligent, vulnerable and resilient – not to mention it passes the Bechdel Test with flying colours. This is best watched when the pressure of exams becomes overwhelming during the holiday, as it will revitalise your motivation.

Chef (2014)

A big part of Christmas is the great food, and there’s no shortage of that in Jon Favreau’s ode to cooking. Although mince pies and roast turkeys are replaced by Cuban sandwiches sizzling in the southern heat, the food in this film looks equally as delicious.

When Carl (Favreau) has had enough of the rigid rules in the restaurant he works at, he decides to quit and take up shop in a food truck with his son. With extended cameos from the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr. and Dustin Hoffman, this is a pleasure to watch – mostly due to the light hearted, kinetic feel to the story. But be warned: only watch this if you have a readily accessible source of food, otherwise you will be left hungry.

Away We Go (2009)

When Burt’s (John Krasinski) parents announce they’re moving to Belgium a month before their grandchild is due to be born, he and his partner, Verona (Maya Rudolph) decide to go on a road trip around North America to find the right place to raise their family.

This is truly a treasure hidden amongst Sam Mendes’ filmography – a veritable outlier compared to the Bond films he’s been racking up recently. Considering this is the director who gave us the utterly depressing Revolutionary Road, it’s a testament to Mendes’ eclectic abilities that this is a beautifully honest movie instilled with humour (we would expect nothing less from Jim from The Office) and sincerity. Christmas or not, this is a film to be enjoyed all year round.

Sarah Quraishi

Click here for more Film Reviews

Get in touch with us via Facebook and Twitter, or leave a comment below.

EntertainmentFilm & TV

Leave a Reply