Friday, December 31, 2021

Christmas with Netflix

 Much as I would love to offer an end-of-year Best Of full of visits to the cinema, it just hasn't been that kind of year. :)

However, I have managed to visit an extraordinary place full of folk wisdom, romantic encounters and fake snow: Christmas with Netflix. 

It was a few years ago I made my first visit and since then I return annually, the mist lifting on 1 December and closing on 31 December. So many fascinating characters have come my way: hard-bitten executives, heartbroken writers, quite a few social influencers. All of them seeking meaning in their broken lives. And lo! All it takes is a few life lessons offered by the spirit of Christmas. Wow. 

This year I sampled no fewer than 11 Christmas-themed films on Netflix and wowzers. There are some actual rank duds out there. I'm looking at you, A Wish for Christmas. Netflix makes originals but also draws from other networks and my tip is avoid the Hallmark ones. 

But some do actually punch above their weight. I have been pleasantly surprised by the Princess Switch trio, the most recent of which arrived this year. Filmed in Scotland, too, after previously using Romania as a location. 

Single All the Way offered an interracial gay couple as the protagonists, with amusing supporting work from Kathy Najimy and Barry Bostwick. 

Christmas with a View features a chef with stubble and resort manager who could double for Meghan Markle. Great scenery, shame about the script. But Patrick Duffy with a man-bun! Vivica Fox making gingerbread houses! Canadian mountains!

But my favourite Netflix viewing was actually a film I avoided at the cinema two years ago: Last Christmas. Definitely a Whamageddon, as it features the title track many, many times. But it wasn't the wan rom-com I thought it would be. Emma Thompson speaking Serbo-Croat! Henry Golding showing some emotion! Emilia Clarke singing! A lesbian couple! And a message about family conflict and trying again. Plus, a cameo by Broadway legend Patti LuPone. What's not to love?

See you next year. 

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