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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 24 November 2009
This is the wonderful story of a little boy that is left alone in the house one winter night because his parents had to take his baby sister Addah to the doctor in the village.Because of the blizzard his parents and baby sister lost their way and have drown in the lake near the village.
Because Nicholas (the little boy)did not have another relatives to raise him, the villagers took this responsability upon themselves but because they were very poor families they decided that each and every family in the village will take Nicholas for a year starting on Christmas Eve.
To thank them for their kindness Nicholas carved wooden toys and left these on their doorstep every Christmas Eve.He never forget to go to the lake where his little sister drowned and put in the water a toy for her as a Christmas present.
When the harvest was bad and the fish in the lake was not enough to feed the villagers and no one could afford to take him, a tinker man took him, taught him the secrets of wood carving and left him all his money, his house and workshop.
This is a wonderful story to warm your hearts, a story that will teach us and our children the true spirit of Christmas.
Highly recommended! Buy it for this is a true classic everyone should watch!
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on 25 December 2009
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.
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This is the story of the man who became Santa Claus... no, not the real-life St. Nicholas. This constantly snowdrifted little movie is a fictionalized account of how an orphan child with a knack for woodcarving became the legendary bringer of presents -- and while it sometimes loses its depth in pursuit of the Santa Claus legend, it's a sweet, warm-hearted little movie with the aesthetics of a storybook.

Nikolas' (Jonas Rinne) parents and baby sister are killed in a sleigh accident when he's young, and nobody in the village can afford to adopt the quiet boy. So the village families come up with a plan: Nikolas will be passed from family to family over the next six years, with each transition being at Christmas. And since Nikolas has a knack for carving wood, every Christmas he leaves toys on the doorstep of the families who once showed him kindness.

Then at thirteen (played by Otto Gustavsson), he's handed off to Isaac (Kari Väänänen), a crotchety and cruel carpenter who initially treats him like a slave. But after Isaac discovers Nikolas' secret, he begins to warm to the strange, generous boy. And as Nikolas grows to manhood (Hannu-Pekka Björkman), he's left with a remote, frozen house and a workshop filled with toys -- and a dream that he's determined to make real, bringing countless children toys every Christmas.

"Christmas Story" (original title: "Joulutarina") is a refreshing experience in a sea of schmaltzy made-for-TV movies and stupid Christmas comedies. It has a mellow homespun charm reflected in the poverty-stricken fishing village, log houses and layers of woolly clothing -- and there's no preachy message about the true meaning of Christmas (love/family/generosity/all that), just Nikolas displaying it as he slowly morphs into Santa Claus.

It's also pretty as a picture -- while there are some lovely shots of autumnal forests and fog-wrapped fishing boats, the real draw is the gorgeous pictures of little Finnish villages under a perpetual blanket of snow. The overall mood is an upbeat one, with a pleasant study of how the basic trappings of the popular fictional Santa Claus (the hat, the reindeer, the sleigh, the gifts) became a part of his legend. But it becomes darker and sadder as the lonely, generous man winds through the latter years of his life, only to have another upturn at the end.

One thing that is a problem: there is no Finnish soundtrack in this movie, just English subs and an English audio track dubbed by people who often didn't sound too enthusiastic. It actually was sometimes more fun to watch the movie with the sound turned off.

The child actors are thoroughly mediocre, but Björkman really throws himself wholeheartedly into his role -- he's jolly, generous and thoroughly devoted to his new goal. And he's got a beard that could The only problem is that when Nikolas reaches adulthood, his motives become rather murky -- it's not quite clear WHY he becomes so determined to devote his life to Christmas, toymaking and all kids in the region.

And while most of the actors are only briefly in the story, the few who stand out are excellent Väänänen gives a well-drawn performance as Isaac, who makes you hate his character, then pity him, then want to hug him; Mikko Kouki is quite good as Nikolas' best buddy.

"Christmas Story's" English dub hampers it, but that can't erase some solid acting, lovely scenery, and a pleasant little made-up story about Santa Claus' origins. A nice yuletide movie, if not a classic.
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on 1 January 2010
The existing reviewers have all hit the nail on the head so I won't repeat the story outline. This is one of the most original Christmas films. It avoids sentimentality for the most part while underlining the genuine values that make this time of the year so special. Eminently watchable - you get used to the dubbing very quickly - and expertly and beautifully filmed. This will become a classic.
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on 3 November 2009
It's nice to see a Christmas film with a strong storyline and a good message. One for the adults as well as the kids. (Nice packaging too)
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on 11 November 2015
Unfortunately, this is dubbed with American schlocky voice-overs and it rather spoils the effect - I thought this was subtitled. However, the production is amazing; totally authentic settings, a real Santa workshop in Arctic conditions subtly acted (remember, it is not American) and a sweet sad poignant story beautifully scripted, beautifully acted - a lovely addition, and an unusual one - to a Christmas DVD collection. Lost one star for the dubbing. Should have been Nordic actors speaking English.
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on 12 January 2013
This made a change from the usual christmas santa dvd and it worked well. Loved the way it evolved around a young boy who lost his family one christmas in a small village. Would reccommend you watch it for yourselves if you want a different take on how santa claus came into being.
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on 24 January 2010
We adore Christmas and watching Christmas movies which seems to start earlier each year ;-)

Every year we usually add new movies to our collection and having read the write-up of 'Christmas Story' decided it was coming home with us. A lovely story about the true spirit of Christmas which appears to have been filmed in Sweden or Finland or whatever as the landscape shots look really cold. No sign of Hollywood foam here!

The movie is in it's natural language with dubbed-on voices in English but it doesn't detract from the movie and you forget about it after the first few minutes. It's a terrific story that just gets better and better as it goes on.

If you hold the spirit of Christmas in your heart it's guaranteed to produce a few tears.
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on 3 December 2013
Again I have not seen this film as my Grandchildren and Daughter appear to have adopted it. But from what they tell me the story line is a little slow at first then once the film kicks in it's absolutely amazing. My Daughter said it's tearful at times but a happy tearful. Just what one needs when wearing make-up lol...
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on 12 October 2012
I found this a plausible explanation of how Santa got to be Santa its a nice gentle story for Christmas not to loud and fast moving
The only thing I did not like was the American accents .it would have been better if the voices were done by Laplanders or Scandinavians
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