Movies like this one make me wonder what other great films have I missed from other countries. I don't even think I would have noticed the dubbed voices, if someone else hadn't pointed it out to me. Our family loves holiday movies, especially this time of year, and we all enjoyed Christmas Story
The story opens with a little boy named Nicholas, orphaned after his family fell through some ice at night. The brief scene opened a flood of questions from my 4yr old, but it was easy to handle since we've already discussed death and the afterlife with our son. (Not sure if that counts as a spoiler, but I thought some parents might want to be prepared for any questions.) The other villagers decide to take turns looking after him; he spends one year with each family, and then moves to a new household on Christmas day. During this time, Nicholas starts to make toys for the children, as a way to say "thank-you" for caring for him.
However, after six years, there is a food shortage in the village. The families can no longer take care of Nicholas, but a carpenter offers to take him instead. The carpenter, Isaac, is a mean-tempered man that wants to put Nicholas to work in his woodshop. He even renames Nicholas, "I will call you Brat!" Despite his nasty personality, Isaac is able to teach Nicholas the wood-working trade.
When the year is up, Isaac learns about the toys that Nicholas makes for the village children. Isaac tells him that he too lost his family, and explains why he is so mean to children. That disclosure changes the relationship between the carpenter and the boy.
As Nicholas grows up, he begins to resemble the Santa image we are familiar with. We see him put together his team of reindeer, and we learn why he wears a red suit. (The entire scene with the reindeer had my son laughing his head off.) Unfortunately, there is more sadness in the adult life of Nicholas, which only strengthens his resolve to uphold his tradition of handing out presents. I liked the supporting chracters, and the different dimension they gave to the Santa story. The ending was quite a surprise.
This is a great family movie with a beautiful story that will entertain all ages. The sentiment is comparable to The Polar Express
and Santa Claus Is Comin to Town
, but in live action. Our other Christmas favorites include Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas
and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer