Hollywood has a serious case of the festive bug, churning out Christmas-themed films every year. While this accurately reflects the population’s boundless enthusiasm for Santa, presents and chomping on mince pies, it can be hard to decipher which of films are worth dedicating your Christmas Eve to - and those which are underrated for good reason.
From the original seasonal chick flicks When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, to Jim Carrey’s interpretation of Dr Seuss’s The Grinch.
Brian Henson’s The Muppet Christmas Carol, is perfect if you fancy an uplifting musical with the children, or opt for Bad Santa if you want a slightly more adult-friendly comedy with a unique twist.
12 Underrated Christmas films
12 Underrated Christmas films
1/12 While You Were Sleeping
One of Sandra Bullock’s earliest and most endearing performances, it is easy to forget this is a solid option for the Christmas holidays. Do not make the mistake of dismissing this as a run-of-the-mill, soppy festive romcom; it has some dark influences, coupled with several laugh-out-loud moments. Slipping on ice is always a winner.
Elf is one of those movies that is intended for kids but is enjoyed by adults in equal measure. The laughs keep on coming as does the yuletide cheer, making for extremely easy viewing. Will Ferrell captures innocence without being grating and it results in a fun, light comedy for the whole family to get lost in.
3/12 The Muppet Christmas Carol
This is one of those undeniably feel-good features and it’s always good to have a Christmas musical up your sleeve for the holidays. While it may not be to everyone’s taste, it certainly captures the essence of Christmas in a child’s eyes and is a great option to watch with the whole family when a rom-com doesn’t appeal. Besides, it is Dickens. Well, Brian Henson's version, anyway.
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4/12 Sleepless in Seattle
As far as guaranteed feel-good chick flicks go, this has to be top of the list. Everything you could want from a romcom is covered by this film - undeniable chemistry between the protagonists, attention-holding dialogue, classic fairy-tale ending - yet the tried and tested formula doesn’t feel stale. Like a modern day take on Cary Grant’s classic An Affair to Remember, with references throughout to prove it.
5/12 When Harry Met Sally
The joys of When Harry Met Sally should not go forgotten amongst the influx of newer, shinier romcoms. While it may not immediately spring to mind as a typical ‘Christmas film’ it includes enough festive spirit to earn its place. Not to mention it provided one of the most infamous scenes in film history teaching men the realities of ‘faking it’. A talking point over Christmas dinner if ever the conversation runs dry.
This chronically underrated movie is capable of melting even the iciest of hearts. John Cusack delivers a predictably sincere performance and can’t fail to warm to his character. The thrill of the Christmas season in New York is palpable, making the good feelings contagious. Why go out on New Year’s Eve when you could stay in with this classic?
7/12 Trading Places
Often considered a modern version of Mark Twain’s novel, The Prince and the Pauper, this is a light-hearted comedy which deals with surprisingly deep themes. A gentle reminder that this is the season to be blessed, this highly comedic vehicle highlights prejudice and discrimination. It’s cultural, too – parallels have been made to Mozart's 18th century comic opera The Marriage of Figaro due to the subtle inclusion of its overture and the similarity in storylines. It’s a fun one for the kids, and a thought-provoking number for the grownups.
8/12 Love Actually
You might sneer, but it’s rare a film that appeals to so many and is so watchable. Again and again and again... Look beyond the all-star cast and usual festive romcom tropes and this film still has underappreciated value lying with the pithy dialogue and quick plot guaranteeing you won’t be bored. It may not set the film world alight with originality, but it does what it sets out to do, and does it well.
9/12 The Holiday
This feel-good film chronicling the ups and downs of two young couples thrown together during the Christmas holidays due to a house swap is sure to bring a smile to any grinch’s face. The genuine chemistry between the actors and just the right amount of charm prevents it from being yet another saccharine and ultimately disappointing chick flick.
10/12 The Grinch
Jim Carrey wholly embodies the unique character dreamt up by Dr Seuss. He is both entertaining and horrifying in equal measure. Contrasting with the usual merriment rife this time of year, The Grinch offers a weird and captivating alternative that subverts Christmas ideals. This formula can’t fail to entice and impress the younger audience and if all else fails you get to see Jenny from Gossip Girl before she was famous.
Yet another dark and misunderstood Christmas classic, Joe Dante's self-aware horror comedy features some surprisingly violent scenes. It is definitely not a childhood Christmas animation. It also appears to parody various film genres, ranging from fairy-tale to horror, all unified by a haunting musical score throughout.
12/12 Bad Santa
Bad Santa provides a ruder, cruder and all round more debauched alternative to the usual Santas and sleighs. Packed full of laughs, this is one (slightly rough) diamond that is often criminally missed off the Christmas list.
Here is your definitive guide to the Christmas movies that should be back on your radar this festive season.
Which of your favourites should we have included? Please leave suggestions in the comments field below.Reuse content