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Father Christmas (1991)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 611 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 1 critic

Father Christmas on vacation and on the job.

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(books), (treatment), 1 more credit »
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Title: Father Christmas (1991)

Father Christmas (1991) on IMDb 7.4/10

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After a hard night's work, Father Christmas decides to go on a "blooming vacation", builds his sledge into a caravan and holidays in France, Scotland and Las Vegas before coming home and settling down, with a bit of grumbling, to answer the mail, get the gifts ready, deliver them and get to the Snowmens' party on time--only he's forgotten something. Written by Kathy Li

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christmas | scotland | party | france | cat | See more »


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2 December 1998 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Sacré Père Noël  »

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Father Christmas says "blooming" 72 times. See more »

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Featured in Greatest Ever Christmas Movies (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Christmas movies as they should be - immediacy and magic.
16 March 2000 | by (paris, france) – See all my reviews

One of the very best of all Christmas films, notwithstanding, if I may say so under IMDb guidelines, a misjudged return to SNOWMANland and some sovereign-directed sycophancy. The whole idea of Santa Claus - one man delivering presents to all the millions of children in one night; flying reindeers; fat man fitting through chimney - is so full of magic, fantasy, and the sublime: this is a typically English vision, deliberately secular and iconoclastic, that makes the great man understandable and recognisable, a grumbling, narrow-minded worker like the rest of us, a little suburban man, and yet manages to still evoke a considerable sense of wonder.

The film begins rather startlingly, as Father Christmas, voiced by the similarly statured ex-comedian Mel Smith, breaks the air of gentle fantasy conjured up by the title and opening credits, to attack the viewer. He is on the defensive, assuming we judge him a workshy fop who only has to work one night in the year. His life, he assures us, is one of high, banal, dudgeon, and the one time he tried to take a break ended in failure.

This sequence is a brilliantly satiric portrait of the English abroad, parochial, suspicious but essentially up-for-it. First he goes to France, where, to fit in with the locals, he dresses in stereotypical garb (beret, striped pullover etc), and eats to bowel-troubling excess. In permanently lashing Scotland, where the locals are friendly, and the drink flows as freely as the rain, he is attacked by a shark in an isolated tarn. In Las Vegas, a vulgar neo-Roman travesty, Father seems most at home, breakfast in bed, afternoons and cocktails in the pool, until he loses all his money gambling. On each occasion he is forced to leave, not just because of touristy zeal, but because he is recognised as Father Christmas, one stereotype (Father Christmas) displacing the pleasure of another (the Englishman abroad).

The portrait of Father Christmas here is extremely winning, a gruff, whining man in his pleasant terraced house, with his cat and frisky dog, with earthy views and a frank way of expressing himself. You would think that the demythologising of Father Christmas would be complete when we see him deshabille in the bath, running to the toilet after overeating (in a brilliant, disturbing sequence, he passes his own self in the rushes to and fro from camper to lavatory), or shouting 'blooming' all the time.

And when Christmas finally arrives, with the millions of letters blocking up his doorstep, the sled a bit creaky, and weighed down by the amount of presents, the grumbling continues. But the real Father Christmas cannot escape the magic of his calling, and the animation, which had been as smartly inventive and sassily ironic as an American short, takes on a shimmering, ethereal quality, juxtaposed with our hero's very real difficulties with chimnies, and you find yourself gasping at how they achieved such a smooth change of tone.


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