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6 Classic Festive Flicks (And Where to Watch Them This Christmas)

By / December 7, 2018
   Luna Cinema
   Luna Cinema

Whether it’s George Bailey becoming “the richest man in town” in It’s A Wonderful Life or Kevin McCallister finally being reunited with his screeching mother in Home Alone, there’s no shortage of classic Christmas cinematic moments.

In many ways, cinema helps us make sense of Christmas, with the stories on screen giving us perspective while fuelling our own sense of tradition. Festive films bring the family together and make a lasting impression during our formative years; I, for one, still find it hard not to believe Tim Allen isn’t Santa Claus and get disappointed when I don’t open a present on Christmas Day containing a mogwai.

Here are five of the best festive flicks screening in London over the month ahead.

The Muppets Christmas Carol

Why it’s so perfect:

One of the greatest ever adaptations of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella, The Muppets Christmas Carol didn’t have much of an impact when it was released in 1992. It only took a paltry £27.2m at the US box office, largely due to stiff competition from Home Alone 2: Lost In New York and Aladdin. However, time has been kind to the Disney film, with its atmospheric cinematography, which manages to toe the line between gothic and festive, and perfect central performance by Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, who plays the part completely straight in order to give the film an emotional edge.

Where to see it:

Dalston’s Rio Cinema will be hosting a screening on Saturday 8 December to raise money for housing and homelessness charity, Shelter. This is the perfect excuse to cry like a baby at Robin The Frog’s pitch-perfect performance as Tiny Tim. Boy, do I love that little guy!

Carol

Why it’s so perfect:

Few films capture the beautiful snow-drenched aesthetic of Christmas better than director Todd Haynes’ Carol, a 2015 masterpiece about forbidden lesbian love in the 1950s. With extraordinary performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Carol’s mournful tale of a Christmas romance will stay with you forever. Blanchett’s smile is capable of warming the heart of even the biggest Grinch.

Where to see it:

The Prince Charles Cinema will be hosting a 35MM screening on Thursday 13 December.

Elf

Why it’s so perfect:

Elf – a film about a human being, Buddy (an in-form Will Ferrell), who was accidentally raised as one of Santa’s tiny elves on the North Pole, only to find out his actual father (a brilliantly grumpy James Caan) lives in New York City – works so well because it shows that adults can get just as lost in the Christmas excitement as children. The film’s jokes work on multiple levels, packing a darker edge that helps it stand out from other Christmas movies.

Where to see it:

It has to be Pop Up Screen’s Hackney-based Cinema In The Snow. They will be doing a screening of Elf (on Friday 14 December) in a Christmas grotto that looks exactly like something Buddy’s over-sized legs might pop out of. The accompanying mulled wine and hot chocolate will get you feeling properly festive.

 

Home Alone

Why it’s so perfect:

With a star-making turn from Macaulay Culkin and a mischievous performance from Joe Pesci, who plays a robber looking to infiltrate young Kevin McCallister’s home, Home Alone is an endlessly quotable delight that refuses to age. If you don’t feel anything when Marley, McCallister’s elderly neighbour, is (spoiler) finally reunited with his estranged son then you really are a filthy animal.

Where to see it:

Brixton’s new short film-celebrating Film & Chill event will be hosting a special screening of Home Alone on Saturday 8 December for adults, where you can even get a massage during the film. If not, it’s well worth taking a trip down to the Luna Cinema on Monday 17 December, a pop-up screening of Home Alone based at Kensington Palace, where it’s been promised snow will fall from the ceiling. Make sure you cover your popcorn!

Meet Me in St. Louis/Christmas In Connecticut

Why they’re so perfect:

Set in 1904, Meet Me In St. Louis is a 1944 musical about the Smith family, who make perfect snowmen and sing Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas better than just about anyone else, thanks to the casting of angelic-voiced Judy Garland as one of their children. Christmas In Connecticut, meanwhile, is a romantic comedy from 1945 about an unmarried newspaper writer, who writes fake articles about being a housewife in the countryside, only to end up living that life for real. Both films are the very definition of heartwarming.

Where to see it:

There will be a double bill of the two films at the Regent Street Cinema on Sunday 23 December. This is one for cinema buffs who might want to see something more old-school opposed to the typical Christmas classics.

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By

Thomas Hobbs is a freelance journalist who writes about pop culture for places such as the Guardian, VICE, Pitchfork, The i, Time Out London, Dazed and Little White Lies. His favourite London hobbies include chilling in the rose garden at Greenwich Park, paying too much for gourmet fried chicken and digging in the crates at Soho’s many record shops.

More articles by Thomas Hobbs

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