If you haven’t yet found time for this adorable 2011 classic, please do so now.
When I was a curious little nipper, the part of Christmas that most preoccupied me – more than the decorations, more than baby Jesus, more than the fact it always snowed on telly but never did in real life – was the logistics of being Santa.
Like, what’s the deal?
I could maybe, kinda, sorta convince myself Father Christmas travelled around the whole world in one night.
But had he been doing it forever?
Was he immortal?
That aspect always seemed somewhat far-fetched to me.
But then one happy December evening a couple of years ago Arthur Christmas appeared on Netflix and settled the matter once and for all.
In the movie, we see that the whole Santa operation has moved with the times.
And would you look at that, there’s now getting on for two billion kids to delight.
So instead of a sleigh, Santa rocks a massive spaceship and a team of thousands of elves.
And yep, it would appear Santa is mortal.
But! It’s a family business, handed down from father to son, and has been since time immemorial.
The main ‘Santa’ as we pick up the tale is a doddery, late-middle-aged bloke called Malcolm.
His dad before him was also Santa, and is still kicking around the North Pole, albeit long-since retired.
Grandsanta, played to cantankerous perfection by Bill Nighy, fondly recalls the good old days when it really was just him and a lead-painted sleigh, dragged aloft by a crew of magic reindeer.
Malcolm, his son (played by Jim Broadbent), who has held down the gig since not long after World War Two, is on the point of handing over the reins to his son, and is podgy, baby-boomer entitlement personified.
The son and heir apparent, Steve – played by Hugh-fricking-Laurie if you please – is a chiseled, espresso-slurping, iPad brandishing time-and-motion guy.
Which is fair enough when you consider the enormity of the task at hand – at least one gift for every child on Earth, more for the good ones – but has somewhere along the line lost sight of the magic he is supposed to stand for.
Hoping to inherit the mantle of Santa, Steve, who effectively runs the day-to-day operational side of the business is frustrated by his father’s slack, old-fashioned ways.
Enter Arthur, Steve’s younger brother (James McAvoy).
Hapless, clumsy and slight of frame, he’s lumbered with the inoffensive sinecure of answering the thousands of letters that are sent by children every year.
But It falls on graceless, bumbling young Arthur to notice when a child is missed one year, and our unlikely hero makes it his business to personally deliver the gift and keep up his family’s 100 per cent record of spreading joy across the world every Christmas Eve.
Anyway, enough about the plot; go and watch it.
It’s crammed full of gags about everything: family strife, festive traditions, technology, office politics.
Superficially it’s a pacey action flick, meaning your kids won’t get bored.
The real genius is there’s no bad guy – just the respective failings, and very real strengths, of a few quite different generations of men, all meaning well.
I cry every time I watch it, multiple times.
I’m crying now just thinking about it; it’s heartwarming, wholesome, scathing of nobody and relentlessly positive.
OK, the title is a teensy bit crap.
Greatest. Christmas movie. Ever.
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