Knits, tinsel and A Christmas Karen: the best and worst new holiday movies | Film

Ssome say Christmas is about goodwill to all men, but fuck those guys. If you know even the slightest amount, then you know that Christmas is about being a hard-nosed big-city girl who gets stranded in her rural hometown and, while initially resistant to her surroundings, slowly falls for the charms of small-town America while he develops an intoxicating crush on a wholesome, plaid-clad local man.

After all, this has been the exact plot of hundreds of Christmas TV movies over the years. At this point, it’s an unbreakable plan, and this year is no exception. Sky Cinema, for example, is about to unveil This is Christmas; a film about an uptight city woman who slowly falls for the charms of a wholesome, knitwear-clad stranger who invites everyone on his commuter train to a Christmas party. Does it look good? Absolutely not. Will you watch it on a rainy Saturday afternoon in December, slightly tipsy on mulled wine, and cry at the end? Very possible.

But This is Christmas is just the beginning. Almost every streaming service is bursting with new Christmas movies this year. Below are some good examples. But if that seems like a lot, just be thankful you’re not American. A recent EW feature listed 169 Christmas movies being released this year in the US alone on a wealth of very obscure channels. Movies like Our Italian Christmas Memories (Hallmark Movies and Mysteries), Destined at Christmas (Great American Family) and Meeting Mr Christmas (Chicken Soup for the Soul, which I swear is a real channel). By comparison, the UK has far fewer films to wade through – although some would argue that there are still far too many.


Falling before Christmas
Not just Netflix’s big Christmas tentpole, but also a Lindsay Lohan comeback vehicle. In Falling for Christmas, Lohan plays an egotistical big-city influencer who gets herself beaten up on a mountain, loses her memory and identity, and ends up falling for a wholesome, plaid-clad small-town hunk. It’s not a great movie, but it’s nice to see Lohan back on track. Even better, the plot of this film makes it a spiritual successor to her 2007 film I Know Who Killed Me.

Christmas With you
Where an egotistical big-city pop star ends up in small-town America for reasons too confusing to explain, and ends up falling for a wholesome, knitwear-clad widower, played by Freddie Prinze Jr.

The Noel Diary
Just to make sure things don’t get too formal, there’s also The Noel Diary. Here, an egotistical big-city writer (a man!) returns to small-town America when his mother dies, only to discover a wholesome, knitwear-clad babe (a woman!) whose mother also just died.

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A Christmas story Christmas
Do you remember a Christmas story? The 1983 Christmas movie that is loved by Americans and only Americans, and has never had a hint of cultural cachet over here. Well, now there’s a sequel. Do with this information what you will.


A Christmas masquerade
Paramount+ is the new kid on the block, streaming-wise, and has separated itself from the pack by releasing a Christmas movie that features exactly zero plaid-clad small-town squatters. Instead, this is the story of a woman who goes to a masquerade Christmas ball in her friend’s place, and ends up falling in love with a kind millionaire. Meanwhile – and this is the big twist – the friend stays home with the woman’s daughter and realizes she was wrong to never have children of her own. Groundbreaking.

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Another Christmas
Where a selfish big-city baseball player returns to his small-town hometown and realizes he’s still in love with his wholesome childhood sweetheart, who is now an elementary school teacher. This sounds completely generic, but one thing sets Another Christmas apart from the rest: it has black people. If you know your Christmas TV movies, you’ll know that black people are even rarer than movies without wholesome, plaid-clad hunks, which is really saying something.


The Hip Hop Nutcracker
This is less a generic Christmas romcom and more, to quote Disney himself, “a hip-hop reimagining of The Nutcracker ballet set in New York City”. On the plus side, it’s only 44 minutes long. On the downside, it’s starting to feel like Lin-Manuel Miranda should be made to sit on the bad step to even indirectly affect this.


Merry Christmas Karen
OK, here’s the thing. None of the major streaming platforms are showing A Christmas Karen, and it seems to be particularly difficult to rent or buy anywhere. But from the premise and the trailer alone, I’m prepared to call it my favorite of the year’s festive production. It appears to be an update of A Christmas Carol except, instead of Scrooge, the protagonist is an uptight, entitled white woman who is visited by visions of Christmas past, present and future. If the trailer is any indication, the film’s climax comes with Karen tearfully pleading with death, saying, “I promise never to ask for the manager again”. Can Netflix pick this up as soon as possible?

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