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Four Days of Festive Films

As we reach the last four days until Christmas it’s time for a last-minute dash to the shops, getting those presents wrapped and to prepare your mind and kitchen for the Christmas dinner ahead. But it’s important to take a moment to unwind during this hectic season and what better way to do that than with an appropriately festive film? In case you’re stuck for choice and need some help, here at The Yorker we have come up with some of our own favourite films to enjoy over Christmas.

Laura: It’s A Wonderful Life

Copyright RKO Radio Pictures
Copyright RKO Radio Pictures

I watched It’s A Wonderful Life for the first time last Christmas, but it’s definitely one of my favourites. Firstly, it meets the festive requirements – it’s heart-warming, family-orientated and there’s an angel. It’s such a powerful film because, although it might not be as funny as the Grinch or as action-packed as Die Hard (yep, that’s a Christmas film according to Google) it approaches the issue of suicide and that’s pretty gutsy for what looks to be, at first, a twee musical. Most Christmas films touch on themes of loneliness and desolation, but George Bailey’s complete despair (and his eventual triumph) is for me, second to none.

Ben: Bad Santa

Copyright Dimension Films
Copyright Dimension Films

What do we usually expect from a Christmas movie? Joy, friendship and redemption. The archetypal Scrooge character has had a great influence in all Christmas stories, but there has yet to be a film that so artfully flips these conventions on their head as Bad Santa does. Billy Bob Thornton masterfully plays an amoral mall Santa who uses the Christmas holiday to rob shopping centres and make enough money for himself to last until the next year and do it all again. The genius of the film comes from Thornton’s character seemingly taking advantage of a bullied child in order to live in his house, but slowly coming to understand that, even with a hastily cobbled together version of the nuclear family with a robber, a barmaid and an orphaned child, anyone is allowed to have to have a very merry Christmas.

Allie: Love Actually

Copyright Universal Pictures

When Love Actually is shown on TV that is when the festive season officially begins, for me at least. It has become an integral part of our University house Christmas tradition, along side the consumption of inordinate amounts of mulled cider and Dominoes. It is the ultimate feel good movie, but in an incredibly real way. Not everything is solved at the end of the film like some RomComs, such as Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman’s marriage or Laura Linney’s ability to prioritise her needs above those of her ill brother, but you get the feeling that things are looking up. And let’s be honest, any film that features flirtatious Hugh Grant dancing in Downing Street must be brilliant!

Rebecca: Arthur Christmas

Copyright Columbia Pictures
Copyright Columbia Pictures

I tend to find that when I think of recent Christmas films I think of ones from the 90s or early millennium, and very little after that. Somehow it seems that the film industry hasn’t gotten it right in a while. Then I saw Arthur Christmas and it was just the modern Christmas film I wanted. Arthur Christmas doesn’t shy away from the present, it addresses modern technology, the ever-watchful government and press, and Santa’s amazing present-delivering speed, creating a film that seems as real as can be. It’s filled with humour for adults and children alike and is packed with great visuals and a fantastic voice cast. But most importantly, it never loses sight of the wonder that makes Christmas so special and at its heart lies the importance of magic, family and, as the film itself says, being happy.