Christmas movies vary in style and topic. These films can take on traditional tales and myths like Santa Claus and elves, or stories that are set around this iconic time of the year. While it’s easy to set a film and decorate it with red, green, and white, a good Christmas movie must also stand on its own. The best Christmas films are capable of exploiting the wistfulness and sweetness of that time of the year to their advantage, resulting in projects that are timeless.
What to watch: 7 movies & shows to watch this week - Nov 18
Starring Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel and James Caan, “Elf” follows Buddy, as human who was raised as an elf, who travels to New York in search of his father and his roots only to experience some serious culture clash.
Starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, “Carol” is a love story set around Christmas. It stars Therese and Carol, two women in the ‘50s who meet while Christmas shopping and fall in love in a complicated time.
“Gremlins” is another tale of Christmas shopping, starring ‘80s icon Corey Feldman. It follows a salesman who buys a strange toy for his son, resulting in a band of little monsters who want to take over the town on Christmas Eve.
Starring Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder when they were Hollywood’s it couple, “Edward Scissorhands” follows Edward, a lonely animated human being whose maker dies before finishing his hands.
Starring Michael Keaton and Michelle Pheiffer, “Batman Returns” is Batman’s most romantic film. It’s also set during Christmas time, and follows the blooming relationship between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, as the two face a range of villains that include mob boss The Penguin, and Max Shreck, a wealthy mogul.
The Nightmare Before Christmas
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a holiday classic, fitting for any time starting Halloween. It follows Jack Skellington, the pumpkin king of Halloweentown, and his newly found love of Christmas.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
While most of the Harry Potter movies feature some Christmas moments, there’s something special about the first film’s depiction of this time of the year. Whether it’s the food or Harry’s endearing reaction to receiving presents for the first time in his life, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is kind of a Christmas classic. It stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson.
“Tangerine” is a lean and hilarious film following a trans sex worker who learns that her boyfriend and pimp is cheating on her, and goes on a quest for revenge. It stars Kitana Rodriguez and Mya Taylor.
While all iterations of “Little Women” feature some amazing Christmas moments, Greta Gerwig’s version is the most modern, taking on a decisively feminist approach to the material without robbing it of its innate and pervasive power. It stars Saoirse Ronan, Timothee Chalamet, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, and more.
Christmas and horror are two things that sound at odds, yet make a perfect pairing. “Black Christmas” is a ‘70s horror film that paved the way for slashers, and that remains biting and intelligent 30 years after it was released. The film stars Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder, and follows a group of sorority sisters who start receiving creepy and charged phone calls. Soon, some stalker starts to kill them off one by one.