Starring: Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin
Director: Bob Clark
Running Time: 94 mins
A Christmas Story is an American film about a young boy who desperately wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas, and so sets about trying to convince his parents, teacher, and even Santa Claus that it’s the perfect gift.
This was a really enjoyable film. With a distinctly cosy and warm Christmas atmosphere, A Christmas Story is a perfect holiday movie, complete with great humour, brilliant performances, excellent directing, and most importantly, a lot of heart.
I want to start off with what the film really does best, however, and that’s satirising the annual Christmas experience. By far the best of its humour comes from this, and it’s a real treat to see the average, and as such very relatable, family Christmas.
Sure, everything might end up in flames, and the Santa at the shops might be an aggressive drink, but that’s all part of how real people know Christmas, and I have to say that I don’t think I’ve ever seen that portrayed so well.
But don’t think for a moment that this film isn’t full of Christmas spirit. Whilst it portrays the lows of the festive period, watching it all unfold through the perspective of a young boy makes it all irrelevant in the face of the beautiful highs of the season.
This isn’t a cheesy fairytale, nor is it your typical Hollywood festive affair, but its wonderful spirit and warm-hearted atmosphere will put a huge smile on your face by the end, exactly what a Christmas movie should do.
One of the film’s other strengths is how it plays on childhood nostalgia of the holiday. The main character might be an eight year old boy, but the film is narrated by his older self looking back on his most memorable Christmas. As a result, the film taps into that nostalgic element and makes for a really wonderful and even personal watch.
What’s more is how the director makes the film feel so old-timey. It may seem a little dated at first, but as the film goes on, the 1940s setting, coupled with all manner of classic Christmas vibes, becomes its most charming aspect, yet another reason that it’s such a wonderfully pleasant watch.
Overall, I had a wonderful time with A Christmas Story. There are of course better Christmas films out there, but very few really capture a real, relatable festive feel, achieved through great acting, humour and directing, which is why I’m giving it a 7.5.