I wanted to see a film about Christmas. Not just any film – as most of the seasonal themed films are so alike: a bit of silliness, a touch of comedy, a lot of clichés and commercialism. No. None of that. The film I was looking for had to be one with a Coming-of-Age theme, and not just feature young actors – but with an inspirational storyline of growth and discovery. Finding a film that was up to the task was challenging, but then I discovered the Christmas Story (Joulutarina).
This Finnish film tells the story of Nicolas – the boy that grew up to become St. Nick, or “Santa Claus” by the name that most people know him. The film exceeded my expectations. Not only did it feature a captivating story, but it was shot in such a professional manner and in the very same place St.Nick comes from – Lapland. As a result of the beautiful settings (a fairy tale world of snow), authentic costumes, and good acting performances the movie feels much more real than any other seasonal film – and all of that without sacrificing the magic of Christmas.
“…You all know who I am. We meet once a year,on Christmas Eve.
But children and adults, young and old: I, too, have been a child….”
I hesitate to relate more details of the story so as not to spoil the film for those who may decide to watch it. But I will mention that some of you may recognize motifs from Charles Dickens‘s Oliver Twist – especially in relation to the early childhood days of the little Nicolas. Yet the story develops in a distinct manner. Casting different actors to play in a film that follows a character through many years of his life can be a challenging task. In Chrismas Story, three artists play in the role of Nicolas: Hannu-Pekka Björkman, Otto Gustavsson and Jonas Rinne — and all manage to deliver a credible performance.
An engaging heart-warming family film, Chrismas Story is perfect for your holiday viewing. I also believe the film will be extremely beneficial to parents whose kids are curious about Santa. Instead of showing them some sugar-coated film filled with stereotypes, show them Christmas Story.
Christmas Story (2007) Official Trailer
Film title: Joulutarina
Also known as: Christmas Story
Release year: 2007, Scarpe Diem Productions
Director: Juha Wuolijoki
Cast: Hannu-Pekka Björkman, Otto Gustavsson, Jonas Rinne, Kari Väänänen, Minna Haapkylä and others