Our recommendations for Christmas viewing

In light of Sheffield remaining in Tier 3 and cinemas continuing to stay closed, I thought about writing some recommendations for things to watch over Christmas. Programming the cinema at Christmas is easy, we have four screens at our disposal, so we can mix and match something for everyone. Christmas classics, an entertaining blockbuster, something family friendly, theatre, some great indies, a smattering of world cinema and the best bit - our ‘best of’ strand, where we choose our favourite five films of 2020 and give them some more big screen love.

That’s important because Christmas, and therefore Christmas viewing, is different for everyone. For some, it’s all about tradition, the things you do every year. I remember always watching Miracle on 34th Street with my mum (the remake, not the original, because tradition is about comfort not necessarily quality). For those without a taste for sugary Christmas offerings, but still looking to get into the spirit, it’s the alternatives - Die Hard, Eye’s Wide Shut and Gremlins. Others (myself included) prefer to stay away from Christmas films entirely. My Christmas watching is essentially the same as it is year round, but leaning into feel-good rather than feel-all-the-feelings-possible.

With that in mind, there’s only one film that I can hand on heart, recommend to everyone this Christmas, and that film is Soul. It feels controversial to do it, because it will only be available on Disney+, which I think is a travesty. If our cinema was open, I’d love to be screening it, and cinemas that are open really need the custom a major film like this would bring. In a year where streamers, distributors, festivals and cinemas have collaborated like never before, this is a hugely disappointing move from Disney. Even without cinemas, I’d love to see more people able to access this film without yet another subscription service, in a year where many people’s finances have taken a bit of a nose dive.

That said, this film is a joy, and would sing whatever platform it was viewed on. I was glad to see it during London Film Festival (when some LFF films screened at Showroom). Soul feels like the antidote to a terrible year. A film that restores your zest for life: it made me want to run outside and stand on crunchy leaves, lap up all my favourite foods, and go tell everyone I love that I love them. I do not believe a person exists that wouldn’t have their heart completely melted by it - even Scrooge himself.

This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursday 24 December 2020.


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