A Boy Called Christmas (2021) Poster

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Sunsphxsuns25 November 2021
Oh dear, dear, dear. I was getting ready to watch "A Boy Called Christmas" and decided to first read a handful of early user reviews that were posted. I wish I hadn't. While I always try to respect the opinions of most reviewers, positive or negative, there are a few that routinely post careless, negative comments, without much thought towards how it may impact not only the film's success, but also how it may affect the human beings in front of the camera (and behind it) who brought it to life for our entertainment.

In the case of this film, one reviewer literally eviscerated Henry Lawfull, a rookie actor with few credits to his name. Although his legal age isn't available, he's likely in his early teens. In any case, don't think for a moment that some of the more cruelly targeted jabs and nasty comments don't hurt him. They do.

I remember reading similarly rude and callous comments that had been prematurely and carelessly thrown at the young actors Natalie Portman and Jake Lloyd after filming was completed for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999). Portman of course went on to win a Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Black Swan (2011) and later garnered multiple Oscar nominations. Sadly, Lloyd left the industry shortly afterwards, hurt, and disillusioned. We'll never know if Lloyd could have recovered from those early malicious barbs as well as Portman.

I'm even more amused with one reviewer who expressed his complete annoyance with "the mouse." That's right. A clever, cute, cuddly, and somewhat humorous CGI mouse! OMG where is this heading when even a mouse can garner bad reviews? Heaven help us.

I'll get to the film itself now having summoned the courage to finally watch it. A Boy Called Christmas is a lush and visually stunning production fit for adults and probably children 11-12 or older. There's both a delicate yet harsh feel to the film. Some scenes are wonderfully sweet, only to be followed by a gritty one. Gee, what a concept when art does indeed imitate real life!

Any film with Maggie Smith is a better film with her in it. Sally Hawkins is mind blowing. She's an actor's actor, and her chameleon-like ability to adapt to such diverse characters is stunning. It's also very refreshing to see Kristin Wigg in a more meaty, antagonistic role, and clearly a giant leap from Bridesmaids (2011).

As always, no spoilers here, but I will reveal that the movie is based on Matt Haig's 2015 book of the same name.
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ops-5253524 November 2021
Whenever you have maggie smith in a movie, made in the latter years ,it will be a success. Its a christmas treat to us all from netflix to make the time of advent and waiting feel a bit shorter. Yes... even for a grumpy old man that physically hasnt bought a x-mas present for 10 years ( not due to scrooginess, rather 100% lack of fantasy, and that may spoucy right hand loves to do it.).

Its a story about the making of sankt nokolas in the cold deep winterwoods of suomian lappland, or finland, a story told in a dreamy fashionable mix of ms.smiths narrative, bold special effects, and studio decors, loads of sharp colours and light, even the darkness has its charm, put in some animatronix, alosg with a durable, well known angloamerican acting talent and long time traders on the silver screen then youll have a hit.

This is the julefilm for everybody that believes in hope, and to everybody that knows that a home is more than a home, cause its also a feeling, and if you loose your feeling of home then you may have to reignite your way of life and just to retain hope, and if youre there not hoping and disbelieving, do put this flick on for yourself and everybody around you...

loads of nice music too, but the primrose is dear maggie after all. So a recommend to this one.
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Kirpianuscus1 December 2021
Just charming . It is the fair definition of this film about roots of Christmas gifts tradition.

It is charming, first, for Maggie Smith and Jim Broadbet and for Toby Jones.

It is charming for the truths and for the flavor of old fairy tales, so fresh, so soft, so bitter and wise.

It is charming for the adorable end.

Bad points - easy to say the political correctness not elegant deep traces. Or the ignore, again, of the simple, real significance of feast of Nativity . Or to ignore Saint Hierarch Nicholas.

But... .

The young Henry Lawfull is just good worker for a nice Nicholas. And the film is not , exactly , for children but more for inner child of parents. The cultural references is the basic proof.

Yes, I like it.

For actors, humor, inspired portrait of sacrifice for loved one and lost of parent.

And, not doubts, for Maggie Smith. Her presence in cast was, I admitt, the first and powerful kick to see this film.
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Really really loved it
hjchuijbregts24 November 2021
What a great way to tell it like this. Beautiful scenery. I love the mountains and the snow. So it was a really feast for me. Its a reall must see. And it was not that scary, so the kids can see it to.
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Grief is the price we pay for love, and worth it a million times over.
Pjtaylor-96-13804421 December 2021
'A Boy Called Christmas (2021)' features this absolute gem of a line (see review heading), delivered by the absolute gem Maggie Smith. The line itself is undeniably great, a poignant musing that's sure to move you on some level. Sadly, though, it's undercut slightly by what it follows (a rather silly and avoidable tragedy that befalls the picture's young protagonist), as are most of the film's other resonant moments. As a whole, the movie is little more than fine. Despite being relatively enjoyable at times and generally well-achieved overall, it consistently stumbles over itself and is an incredibly uneven experience. There are so many annoyingly contrived, noticeable clichéd and otherwise genuinely odd plot points that the affair is hard to take seriously and, even, properly engage with. One particularly peculiar inclusion is a pyromaniac pixie (well, 'truth fairy') who literally enjoys blowing people's heads up. I have no idea why the filmmakers decided to include that in a kid's film. The tone, in general, is a tad inconsistent, with the adventure slipping from seriously stupid to stupidly serious on a number of occasions. Its characters are also fairly flat and, though it has charming moments, it lacks the sense of Christmastime wonder that it really ought to have. Plus, its 'Christmas begins' elements actually feel a little forced, squeezed into the affair's baggy final third simply so that it can claim to be yet another origin for Father Christmas. Ultimately, the flick isn't bad. It has its moments, including a couple of entertainingly scene-chewing performances and a handful of exciting set-pieces, but it's just a bit unremarkable overall. Its plethora of issues don't prevent it from occasionally being quite a bit of fun, but they undeniably dampen its effect and arguably contribute to the affair's generally forgettable nature. It's the sort of thing that I can see people really liking, though; I guess your mileage will vary depending on how Christmassy you're feeling. It's a decent effort. 5/10.
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adamjohns-425751 December 2021
This is a slightly 'Klaus' (2019), slightly 'Santa & Pete' (1999) and slightly 'Santa Claus The Movie' (1985) type film with hints of 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas' (2000) production and sets. It's an origin story, so it's easy to compare it to these films of a similar vein, but it's still different enough to enjoy it in its own right.

The writer has created a charming story, that kids will love and be able to watch with their families without the adults getting bored.

Matt Haig's usual style of books might possibly be classed as self help, so it was interesting to find that the writer of a book that literally (excuse the pun) saved my life, had also created this enchanting tale, but not a shock to find that I enjoyed it.

It has a large cast of famous faces and they all deliver without anyone stealing focus or performing badly.

It is the type of film that has a fairytale feel to it, so there are some characters that are played with a more stage show styling. Some of the characters would definitely be booed if they were in a pantomime.

I was even surprised that I liked Stephen Merchant's role, he usually winds me up, but he works very well as Miika.

It has a slightly old fashioned feel to it, but yet still has a certain something that keeps it relevant today. There's probably some sort of moral in there too, but I need to watch it again to find it, as I wasn't looking for it, but I'm sure I will watch it again next year, if not again this year.

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A Magical Nordic Christmas Fairy Tale
tm-sheehan26 November 2021
My Review - A Boy Called Christmas

My Rating 8/10

I found this very original retelling of the legend and origins of probably the most loved fictional character ever Father Christmas a magical and enchanting tale.

It's a movie that's not too saccharingly sweet or gimmicky and has an authentic Nordic fairy tale quality with beautiful frozen scenery .

This Christmas film has enough whimsical magic terrific sets by Holly Thurman and costumes by Ruth Myers to entertain young at heart adults and children alike .

It's been years since I've been so impressed by a Christmas themed movie with just the right sentiments of hope through adversity and loss plus a real adventure to entertain any movie goer.

The bones of the plot are told by Aunt Ruth (Maggie Smith) to her nieces and nephews who have recently lost their mother . It centres around an ordinary young boy called Nikolas who sets out on an extraordinary adventure into the snowy north of Finland in search of his father who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves, Elfhelm .

Taking with him a loyal pet mouse he helps a wounded headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and soon meets his destiny in this magical, comic and endearing story that proves nothing is impossible.

It's a really impressive ensemble cast for this movie headed by the impressive young English actor Henry Lawfull in his first feature film role his only previous television movie was in 2018 in Les Misérables cast as Petit Gervais . Apparently his parents are wisely very protective of Henry even his age is a secret to the press but I'm sure we will see more of him in the future .

A deal was completed in May 2016 for the book to be adapted into film by Blueprint Pictures and Studiocanal. Ol Parker was set to write the screenplay.

In April 2019, Gil Kenan was revealed to be directing the film, with Jim Broadbent, Sally Hawkins, Maggie Smith Toby Jones and Kristen Wiig amongst the cast. Filming began that same month, with production set to occur in Lapland, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and London.

It's a joy to see so many great actors together in one movie no one overshadows anyone else they allow it's young unknown central character to shine as the title suggests.

Oscar nominated Director Gil Kenan better known for horror thrillers like Monster House, Poltergeist, Scream and City of Ember has successfully crossed the genre bridge from Horror Thriller to Fantasy Adventure .
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Ten year old son gave it an eight
a-clinch128 November 2021
My ten year old boy gave it an 8 and to be fair, this films target audience is the younger set so who am I to argue. As an adult I would give it a 6 as I felt it was quite basic.

My son said it had magic to it and it was a family friendly film.
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Don't always go for the review
nishujikalal25 November 2021
Just to drop in a review here, I signed up.

So, I have never learnt why Christmas was or is celebrated but if this movie gives even a glimpse of it then I am happy to discover such a wonderful movie. Such a simple story with such meaningful and beautiful messages about life. I don't know why I felt like crying when the movie ended but this movie gave me hope. Hope to find happiness, hope to look forward. The best thing I liked was the dialouge which said...

If you don't believe in something, you will never see it even if it is in front of you.

It is not something we don't already know, but one should always get reminded of this.

Just watch this movie with an open mind and don't go judging the actors.
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If you love Christmas...
kq99928 November 2021
What a lovely, heart-warming Christmas movie. Just the kind of movie to gather around and watch with family. It gives one an all round good feeling. Great actors in this one and an interesting storyline.
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Maginificently good
potipiroon26 November 2021
Been waiting for a good christmas movie for my end of year happiness. This movie makes it happen for me. The characters, production and storyline are just on point. I love the storytelling style of this movie. Makes me really happy.
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I watched it cause Netflix popped this up!
juanmuscle11 December 2021
After viewing something and it looked interesting so piqued I went for it! And I was not disappointed for it was really well done on all fronts! I especially loved the writing cause it felt like a "real" fable from days of yore! I fain recommend it if you love a fun storytelling time!
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What an amazing story
martinjkristiansen24 December 2021
A great lovely movie, about how Christmas started. The story are fantastic and the actors eminent. I will definitely recommend this lovely family movie.
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Just a really BAD wannabe Christmas movie
movie_addict226 December 2021
This is a boring movie. It's not for children and it's not a Christmas family movie. It's hard to imagine someone actually enjoying this movie. And that boy - the supposed Father Christmas 🎅 - to be- it's simply awful; it's hard to emphasize with him. I didn't like the elf's village- Elfhelm. Watching those "merry elven people" partying and dancing seemed somewhat grotesque and definitely fake. I couldn't stop thinking "who in the world would like to spend time here - in the happiest place on earth?" (Elfhelm not Disney parks) Christmas movies should bring some magic ✨ ... something special. The Truth Fairy was annoying, the elf's leader a mix of Maleficent and stupidity, the stolen "elf" just a small Indian boy - because we're all for diversity nowadays.

And the plot with Nikolas's dad - annoyingly called "papa" over and over was totally unrealistic - in the bad way. And the story with the king that wanted something "hopeful" - another failure.
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Not a bad movie, but I have my issues with it.
koltonbrett25 December 2021
Here we have fairytale take on the origin of Christmas and Santa Claus. A boy nicknamed Christmas sets off to the north to find a legendary town of elves. The snowy Finnish landscape is stunning. I found the snow covered forests more enchanting than any of the magical elements. This adventure/fantasy feels fresh at first but loses some of that feeling as the movie goes on. The target audience is families but the story is too dark to be a feel-good children's movie and too silly at times for adults. The dilemma presented in this movie is that people lack hope and happiness. There is a line from the movie which says that joy leads to hope. Truthfully, I believe it's hope that leads to joy. The message here will likely go right over the head of children. Aside from the scenery, not much resonated with me from this movie.
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A New Christmas Classic?
nancyldraper21 December 2021
I think this should become a Christmas Classic. I'd definitely watch it every Christmas! There is no Christ in this Christmas story (who is the true hope of Christmas) but there is sage wisdom for those who despair. I was sold when Maggie Smith walks off the trolley in the opening scene but that was just a foretaste of a stellar cast. Henry Lawfull is new to me but brings a joyful, lovely character to life. The location shots are beautiful from Finland, Slovakia, Czech Republic to London. The story is whimsical and wise in complete balance and it was great fun to watch the Christmas myth grow. I give this film a jubilant 9 (classic) out of 10. {Christmas Fantasy}
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So so
marius-bancila22 December 2021
Is there any movie that is not politically correct nowadays? Indian and black elves in the remote North? Seriously? Give me a break.

Nikolas is a charming boy and the movie has few magic scenes but overall it's in the same category of all Netflix films: mediocre.
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Enjoyable and entertaining...
paul_haakonsen1 December 2021
The 2021 movie "A Boy Called Christmas" from writers Ol Parker and Gil Kenan is definitely a nice family movie in the meaning of that word. And this is a movie that has something to offer the audience of any ages.

"A Boy Called Christmas" is about the origin of Father Christmas, so we get to see whom he was and where he came from, and of course how he came to become the lovable character we all love so much, both kids and adults alike. So yeah, this was definitely a nice story. Granted, I haven't read the book from Matt Haig, but this movie adaptation of said story was certainly entertaining.

The acting performances in "A Boy Called Christmas" were good. Not a whole lot of familiar faces on the cast list, which is something I enjoy in movies. But "A Boy Called Christmas" did have the likes of Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Kristen Wiig and Joel Fry on the cast list as well.

Visually then "A Boy Called Christmas" was quite good, and definitely had a very Christmas feel to it. So that counted well in favor of the overall enjoyment of the movie.

I am rating "A Boy Called Christmas" a well-deserved six out of ten stars. While this is not going to be a Christmas classic for me, it certainly is a movie well-worth taking the time to sit down and watch.
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Netflix got this one Christmas movie right!
gjbcanuck5 December 2021
A very good tale, great music, great acting and visually beautiful! I haven't read this book but the director an excellent job telling the story and keeping the surprises to the very end!

Well worth the time to watch and enjoy!
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pbstarman27 November 2021
Absolutely my favorite tale of Father Christmas. I loved everything about this film and look forward to more films based on the series by Matt Haig!!!!!
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Cute fluff
Calicodreamin28 November 2021
A cute fluff Christmas movie with all the right stuff. Visuals mostly worked, and the kid couldn't have been any cuter. The storyline was basic with a fun ending. The acting and dialogue were a bit stiff.
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Such a heartwarming holiday film
MovieQween-3362210 December 2021
What a spectacularly heartwarming holiday film about love, kindness, grief, family, friendship and the belief that anything is possible!! I'm 31 and I enjoyed this film so much!! This story is a must watch for the holidays with your family. Nikolaus finds the true meaning of his life and how to help bring joy to those who need it most. One of my new favorite holiday classics!!! Also loved the all star cast.
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Smarmy, a little Christmasy, and worthy of a Smile
thecrafts-667101 December 2021
The movie starts slow and you start to wonder what it has to do with Christmas. That question doesn't get answered until the last 10 minutes of the movie. And, there are too many unanswered questions; mainly about Elfhelm. Where did it come from? Why are there elves? What is their occupation and purpose?

Having said all that, it is a nice holiday movie. Probably not destined to be a classic, but certainly safe family viewing. Netflix offered it and I was seriously shocked that they even featured PG movies anymore!
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Had potential
Drank2227 November 2021
Now I wasn't expecting this movie to be Oscar worthy or anything so I'm not holding it to that standard at all, but this is nothing but a big budget film that tries to distract you from its poor story line with special effects and outlandish set pieces.

It starts off fine, but around the halfway mark it quickly turns into a big mess that doesn't make any sense at all.

I found the premise of the story interesting and unique. It's a take on the origin of Santa/Christmas that I never heard before so it was refreshing to see something new and a more down to earth or rather a somewhat more believable origin story than other Santa/Christmas origin stories we've seen on the past.

Yet, unfortunately a good premise doesn't necessarily make for a good movie.

I prefer to enjoy movies instead of disliking them, so I try to let little things slide now and then and judge it on if it was enjoyable. I know that most Christmas movies like these are more or less 'turn off your brain and enjoy' movies and there's nothing wrong with that. This movie is definitely a 'turn off your brain' movie, yet even with my brain turned off it still wasn't enjoyable. The acting is bad at times, the majority of the characters motives and actions don't necessarily make any sense at times, and then major parts of the story just don't make much sense at all if you give them any sort of thought.

All of these were just far too apparent to me that they couldn't be ignored and thus it wasn't enjoyable.

It definitely had potential to be so much more (again it had a great premise) but the story they decided to tell us was just sloppy and lazy. Which seems to be a theme for Netflix's movies. They invest in big names and big budgets but serve us a half cooked plot because they know we'll watch it anyway...In comparison to another Santa themed Netflix movie, The Christmas Chronicles was a far better offering than whatever this was.

Which sorta begs the question, who was this made for? Far too boring and mature for little kids, but at the same time far too childish and stupid for older kids/adults to enjoy.

Either way, this is definitely a movie you can scroll right on by to something better.
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Above-Average Christmas Film
deepfrieddodo24 December 2021
A sweet Christmas film which ticks all the boxes when it comes to entertaining kids and their parents. A cute story following the origin of Christmas and it's traditions, and the start of St Nicholas.

The plot is simple to follow but not overly obvious, visually is very nice to look at, and the cast cannot be faulted for the most part. Although it's good to have narration, the arc with Smith and the kids at the beginning and end is unnecessary, mostly because the acting from the kids is very stiff.

Not so child-oriented that there isn't any deeper messages, but also very little in the way of upsetting scenes. Probably not a film to rewatch every Christmas, but certainly enjoyable.
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