what is the best Christmas movie?
Every year we all get lost in the magic of Christmas and a big part of the holiday fun comes from the sheer number of movies we watch.
Now, more than ever, it seems like there is a plethora of great Christmas movies to get our hands on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney + are all spoiled for choice.
The big question is, however, which one is your ultimate favorite? The one you can’t wait to watch, which you have to watch every year to feel properly festive. The one, if asked, that you would defend in a very (not) serious Christmas movie face-to-face?
Christmas movies are big business, especially in sentimental issues, and a beloved classic has been pitted against a relatively modern comedy here at Stylist HQ. Like Christobel Hastings, Stylistentertainment editor and Morgan Cormack, Stylistdigital entertainment writer, reveal – Christmas movies are, at the heart of it, anything to make us smile.
Read ahead to find out what makes Bridget Jones Diary and Four Christmases so special.
Defended by Morgan Cormack, digital entertainment writer
Now I should start by stating that I feel like I got on the Christmas movie train quite late in my life. For some strange reason, as a young child I was more concerned with preparing for the Eastenders Christmas special rather than rushing to watch Christmas movie classics. I’ve always been more of a TV series person than a movie fanatic – I know, I know, it’s shocking to admit that as an entertainment writer.
So when my sister and I started our Christmas movie watching tradition a few years ago, I was overwhelmed by how much I enjoyed the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from snuggling up to watch a festive movie. After a while, however, everything is a bit recognizable, isn’t it? You begin to guess the locations, where the plot goes, and who will likely end up with whom.
This is why I enjoyed Four Christmases the first time I watched it and that has brought me back to seeing it every year since.
The 2008 romantic comedy is hilarious, relatable, and features all of those difficult (and too familiar) family dynamics for us all to laugh about. Everyone’s favorite actor, Reese Witherspoon, stars as Kate, alongside Vince Vaughn (who admittedly isn’t my favorite but in this he is good) as Brad. The upscale couple appreciate nothing more than spending flashy evenings, relaxing in their modern apartment, and going to dance lessons.
They’re the epitome of ‘treat yourself’ and so, rather than confronting each of their divorced parents over Christmas, they’ve created the perfect annual escape plan: go on a romantic vacation instead. They tell their families that they are doing charity work, which is morally questionable, but their karma comes back to bite them when, upon arriving at the airport, they find that the fog has crippled all flights – including their plane to Fiji. .
One of the film’s brilliant moments comes when the press crew filming at the airport interviews the distressed couple, thus letting their respective families (on national television) know that they will indeed be home for Christmas.
What follows is a round trip for, you guessed it, four different Christmases. In addition to the wrestling brothers of Brad Denver (Jon Favreau) and Dallas (Tim McGraw), Kate also has to deal with a family of cougars (including Mary Steenburgen and Kristen Chenoweth) and her fear of bouncy castles. The couple, who initially thought they knew everything about each other, quickly discover that they have both been keeping secrets about their family.
Always believed that marriage and children end in divorce and misery, the film follows the couple on the tumultuous journey to determine what they want from their own future.
If I had listened to reviews online who pretty much anticipated the movie, my sister and I would never have had the time to watch it and that slice of comedic relief is what we all need this Christmas time from. anyway. Four Christmases isn’t the kind of movie that screams “festive feel” at first glance, but it’s a modern, lightweight take on the genre and has a family-focused message at the heart of it.
It’ll sure make you laugh too and that’s what Christmas should be like anyway, right?
Bridget Jones Diary
Defended by Christobel Hastings, Entertainment Editor
In recent years, much has been said about the complicated legacy of Bridget Jones Diary. There’s the constant calorie counting and references to weight loss, pervasive sexual harassment and treating “singles” as social outcasts, and so much more. Many of the jokes that we laughed at when the movie hit the big screen these days are completely vile, and most of us don’t get the illusion that they would appear in a movie made in 2021.
And even, Bridget Jones Diary remains one of the most successful romantic comedies of all time, and it says a lot about the beloved character of Helen Fielding that she still resonates so loudly with women almost two decades after Bridget wandered for the first time on our screens with her panties tucked into her skirt.
Needless to say, I truly consider myself a Bridget Jones fan, and to me it never feels like Christmas without watching a rerun with my mom and sister. Just the sight of Bridget sipping a glass of wine in her cozy penguin print pajamas and screaming at alone in the opening credits, that’s for me what nostalgia feels. I don’t even remember when we started the tradition of watching Bridget Jones Diary – but every year we circle it in red on the TV guide, and if we ever come across it at random while flipping through the channels, it has to stay on the small screen.
While the familiarity of Bridget Jones Diary definitely plays a part in my decision to watch it every Christmas, comfort isn’t the only thing I find in this classic romcom. Movies find their place in the canon of pop culture when they capture, so precisely, certain feelings that are experienced around the world. Solitude. Lust. Treason. Feeling that you are not good enough. See the world through the filter of love. Or the scary seed of doubt that makes you wonder if you’re really going to smile again.
It’s both a testament to both Fielding’s writing and Renee Zellweger’s perfect acting that we all feel these things through Bridget. These days, I pretty much know the script by heart (“The sauce needs to be sifted, Pam.” “Certainly not, Una, just stir it”). But I also memorized Bridget’s facial expressions; the shock of wide-eyed when she discovers Daniel Cleaver’s American girlfriend hiding in the bathroom; his sarcastic smiles at Cosmo and Woney’s dinner. I remember them because they genuinely capture what it means to have known love and loss.
Yes, Bridget Jones Diary, imperfect and imperfect as it is, helps me feel seen – and that means something as a person who dates women and is definitely not looking for heteronormative love. But at the end of the day, to quote Mark Darcy, most of us just want to feel seen, for who we are.
Images: Getty; Rex functionalities; Allstar / Working title