Directed by Gil Kenan and based on the 2015 book of the same name by Matt Haig, A Boy Called Christmas is the newest fantasy Christmas film to hit the big screens.
The film begins when widowed father, Matt (Joel Fry) has to leave his three kids when he is called into work on Christmas Eve, arranging for Aunt Ruth (Maggie Smith) to look after them. The kids aren’t too thrilled about having to spend the night with her and are not excited about Christmas due to recently losing their mother, so she decides to tell them a story to help lift their spirits.
Her story takes us to Finals, where we are introduced to Nikolas (Henry Lawfull), a young boy who lives with his widowed lumberjack father Joel (Michiel Husman). The father and son struggle to get by but are given hope when they discover that the King (Jim Broadbent) is promising a reward to anyone who can bring hope to their dejected town. Nikolas’ dad sets off on a trip to prove the existence of a mythical village, leaving Nikolas with his mean Aunt Carlotta (Kristen Wiig). After making an important discovery, however, Nikolas along with his pet mouse Miika, embark on a dangerous but life-changing adventure.
The special effects are visually stunning and help to transcend you into the world director Gil Kenan and writer Matt Haig have created. The use of the costume design and make-up displayed the mean characters as dirty and messy, while the good characters look clean and a lot more pleasant throughout the film, which I found incredibly clever. I also appreciated the subtle Christmas references throughout the film, which I found more enjoyable to watch than the usual Christmas feature.
The film has a lot of positive morals without coming across as ‘too preachy’. I liked how the film provides inspiring messages and encourages you to not only be a better person, but to also use your imagination. Despite this being a Christmas movie, A Boy Called Christmas is also a bit dark as it displays a character dealing with loss and acceptance. We ride every emotion that Nikolas convincingly goes through, whether it be good or bad. These different emotions are displayed brilliantly due to the impressive performance by the talented Henry Lawfull. I also enjoyed the similarities and how there were parallels between Nikolas and the three children that are being told the story, which I found thoroughly unique and entertaining.
A Boy Called Christmas is a charming little fantasy film that could even warm the coldest hearts of those that generally do not like Christmas. I highly recommend this film for families who want to get into the festive spirit and would love a day out at the movies.
A Boy Called Christmas is in Australian cinemas now.