My wife and I have been watching Christmas movies this week. I’m struck with how many plots are driven by a lie. Or falsehood, or fib, or what-have-you if you want to whitewash it. I’m not talking about Virginia, mind you. The woman who got a boyfriend for Christmas who declined to give his real name. The Christmas bride who hid that she was a journalist. The woman who read a letter to Santa, then stalked the widower dad to try to marry him.
Sure, all these stories had a happy and mostly sympathetic ending. And is it just modern tv movies? I don’t think so. Even in the classics, Cary Grant hid his real identity from everybody but the bishop, one of those guys in White Christmas really wanted to come clean, and even in one of my favorites, Barbara Stanwyck poses as a married chef when she is so obviously neither. But in the end, her boss, her friend and her new love are all okay with it. Or maybe it’s just Barbara Stanwyck.
Seen any good Christmas movies this year? It seems Hallmark has a whole industry churning them out. I haven’t seen anything really amazing. Once in a while, I cut the smart-aleck commentary when something seems slightly thoughtful. Maybe that movie North Pole was cute and slightly striking, but then I found a sequel is in the works.
I still think Elf is the only good movie Will Farrell has done without Emma Thompson. That is headed to being a classic. And funny, the secrets are all unraveled as they come. There are no lies or deceptions. And the movie is both hilarious and touching.
Any new favorites, especially ones that surprised you?