Christmas is around the corner and people all over the world are watching movies to get into the spirit.
But others may struggle with what to watch or want to discover new movies to spice up the season. Here are five movies for people that are looking for a new winter classic:
1. Tokyo Godfathers
Tokyo Godfathers honors the Christmas spirit with an unconventional plot and marginalized characters. The film follows three homeless people — a middle-aged alcoholic, a teen runaway, and a former drag queen who together live on the streets of Tokyo.
While digging through the trash, they come across an abandoned newborn, eventually taking it upon themselves to return the baby to her parents. The movie heavily features Christian motifs, a surprising choice for a Japanese director, whose country of origin has Christianity as a minority religion.
This choice reflects one of the core themes of the movie as well as Christianity itself – redemption. Through this ragtag group’s pure-hearted attempt to reunite a baby with their family they each find redemption in their own way. Funny, tear-jerking, and raunchy, this movie embodies the heart and spirit of the holiday season.
Although Tokyo Godfathers didn’t enjoy much commercial success in the US, it recently received an English dub — a major plus for those that don’t like reading subtitles.
2. A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Charlie Brown Christmas is both a Christmas classic and an American staple. Airing since the 60s, this special has become a television tradition. It follows Charlie Brown as he learns about the true meaning of Christmas.
At first disillusioned with how commercialized Christmas has become, with the help of his friend Linus, he learns what the holiday is all about. Interestingly enough, two years after this special was first aired, aluminum Christmas trees were no longer manufactured regularly, presumably because of their negative portrayal in the special.
If you’re looking for something simple and wholesome to bring the warm fuzzies, you can’t go wrong with the Peanuts gang.
More of a cultural phenomenon than a movie, Frozen was the highest-grossing film of 2013, won two Academy Awards, and remains one of the most recognizable franchises in the world.
It follows Princess Anna as she tries to end the eternal winter her sister put upon their kingdom, Arendelle. In true Disney movie fashion, love ultimately saves the day. People often focus on the commercialization surrounding the film, but the beautiful animation, stunning soundtrack, and lovable characters are what have kept it relevant more than half a decade later.
Klaus is rendered in beautiful hand-drawn animation, a rarity among a 3D-dominated market. The film has a unique take on the classic story of Christmas, told through a spoiled rich-kid-turned-postman.
While the story does overuse a few common tropes and the soundtrack is lacking, the tight writing, comedic timing, and likable characters more than make up for it.
The message, “a truly selfless act always sparks another,” is powerful and expressed well. The film also features Sami people, an indigenous Finno-Ugric people, introducing a culture that isn’t often represented in films. If you’re looking for a Christmas movie, this is a must-watch.
5. Little Women (1994)
The last movie on this list is Little Women, specifically the 1994 adaptation. The movie opens around Christmastime, with the winter season wonderfully captured on film, contrasting with the warmth and coziness of the March family home.
The spirited nature with which the sisters interact with one another and others is heartwarming and inspiring. The movie actually features not one, but two Christmases!
The depiction of a flawed yet loving family banding together through times of hardship makes you start to feel like you’re a part of the March family yourself. Charming and uplifting, this movie is sure to get you excited about connecting with your family this holiday season.
While there are many iterations of the Little Women series, the 1994 adaptation is one of the best.