Newly wed true lovers Jim and Della Young can barely afford moving into to their new apartment, especially when the second-hand car breaks down. They agree not to buy Chrismas presents that...
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Newly wed true lovers Jim and Della Young can barely afford moving into to their new apartment, especially when the second-hand car breaks down. They agree not to buy Chrismas presents that year, but each decide to do so secretly and earn extra cash at each's own hobby's expense to spoil the other in his. Their best friends discover the truth and how the secrecy made the separate indefinitely. Written by
Not much of O.Henry's Gift here, but it's Christmasy-watchable
The O'Henry well known and striking short story on which two hour movie was based, is very short and precise. It's a masterpiece story which needs to be short to be as sharp and surprising as it is. It was made into a movie in the 50's, as one of many short tales, with less than a half an hour duration. it is to be expected then, that a lot had to be added to the plot to extend it to two hours.At times it feels like some water has been added to the stew, and it is not as savory. Still,one can certainly find some tasty morsels in it,especially the overall acting quality and the sweet and friendly atmosphere of goodwill surrounding the piece.
It's a working class town,and it's pretty bleak, not the upper class glittery ambiance one often finds in many a Christmas film. It's a credit to this "Gift" that it keeps the setting grim,like the story, but warms up the story with the sweet feelings our couple at the center have for each other, Della and Jim (Marla Sokoloff and Mark Webber). Around them are loving families and friends, in struggling hard times; but the folk in this town do take care of their loved ones, and the film successfully transmits this feeling of community support.
It's a parable for our actual financially depressed clime. It seems to pat us in the back saying love will carry us through(or at least make the ride easier,just what the Magi(Epiphany's Three Kings) ordered.The story turns on how Della and Jim botch up their Christmas gift list.They vow not to exchange presents, then go ahead and secretly plot otherwise. The conspiracy goes awry. Jim gets jealous when he suspects Della of spending too much time away. She has a secret part time job, with an older gentleman boss. Jim thinks Della's having secret rendezvous with an older gentleman lover. Not much trust from Jim here? Well, if Mr. Shakespeare had Othello mistrusting Desdemona, why not this screenwriter having Jim distrust Della? Later on Jim and Della will unwittingly screw up their gift plans,with the effect of producing an ironic twist that will be the heart and soul of this story. We all love surprises, and this story has one of the best!
Marla Sokoloff(Della) and Mark Webber(Jim)put in some really good acting. They're both fit for bigger and better roles. Marla as Della is sweetness and light,the girl next door who blossomed into a great beauty;kind of a young Sally Field with a vamp inside.Mark Webber has a boyish, intense look about him, promising in his soulful eyes a lot of rich layers. His projection of the character's insecurity is perfect for this part.
The casting is very good, including an interesting supporting cast. Megan Riordan(Renee) and Tomas(Ian) Suilleabhain-Sullivan in Gaelic)are lively and authentic as the main couple's supporting family.They have an adorable kid(he's not even in the credits)who melts the screen as he gives Jim a big hug at one of Jim's low moments.
All you need is love, is the appropriate, timely message this Gift of the Magi delivers. It may not pack the surprise punch of the original story, but it does leave you with a feel-good Christmas warmth.
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