Entertainment, Review

Top 5 Alternative Christmas Films for the Festive Season

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By Charlie Jordin

Believe it or not, Christmas films are not everyone’s cup of tea. The plots are often cheesy and predictable and usually involve a rich, middle-class family with a beautifully decorated house who encounter a hitch which is conveniently solved in time for Christmas. The kids open their masses of presents under their huge, expertly decorated trees and it’s happy-ever-after. If you’re not in the mood for the predictable, or are simply looking for something different to watch, here’s a list of alternative Christmas films that might be worth looking out for this festive season.

Tokyo Godfathers

Three homeless people – an alcoholic, a transwoman and a schoolgirl – find an abandoned baby in a dumpster on Christmas Eve. The motley crew set out to find the baby’s parents whilst confronting the reasons for their homelessness. This dark comedy challenges the concept of traditional family values and the issues in conservative Japanese society. From esteemed anime director Satoshi Kon, Tokyo Godfathers is a moving and unconventional look at the Christmas period and the importance of family.

American Psycho

Based on the infamous book by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho has received a cult status for its iconic scenes, black humour and wild plot. A satirical examination of masculinity and capitalism, the film stars Christian Bale as a New York playboy yuppie whose grip on sanity slips when he begins murdering people after finding his co-worker’s business cards are better than his. Set around the Christmas period, the film is perfect for horror and psychological thriller fans who are looking for something a bit different to get them into – or out of – the Christmas spirit.

Jagten (The Hunt)

Mads Mikkelsen stars as an ostracised school teacher in this gripping drama about a man wrongly accused of sexually abusing a young girl in his school. Set during the Christmas period, the film captures the Scandinavian beauty of snow-covered Denmark, cuttingly contrasting with the disturbing insight into mass hysteria. Directed by acclaimed director Thomas Vinterberg and with an outstanding performance from Mikkelsen, Jagten is a must-see.

Die Hard

An 80s classic, Die Hard is an action-filled alternative to traditional Christmas films. Set during a heist at a Christmas party in a New York skyscraper, the film stars Bruce Willis in his most famous role as John McClane, an off-duty police officer who has to save the hostages, one of which is his estranged wife.

The Children of Men

The film takes place in a dystopian United Kingdom in which pollution and war is rife. The world has fallen apart and is heading towards extinction due to worldwide infertility, causing humanity to lose hope. However, protagonist Theo discovers a woman who is miraculously pregnant and is given the task of protecting her on a dangerous journey to the Human Project, a group of scientists seeking to cure infertility. Whilst the film is not inherently festive, the story in many ways mirrors the miracle birth of Christ and the arduous journey Mary and Joseph took to deliver him. Directed by highly acclaimed director Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mamá También, Gravity) the visually captivating film has a star-studded cast and is a powerful examination of finding hope in despair.

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Charlie Jordin

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