THE BEST MOVIES THIS CRITIC EVER SAW!!
Christmas

THE BISHOP’S WIFE (1947)
Cary Grant and Loretta Young. An angel aids a struggling minister. I marveled at the ending sermon given by the Bishop, played by David Niven. Standing behind his pulpit, the Reverend reminded his parishioners to focus attention on Christ. “All the stockings are filled, except one. We’ve even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the Child born in a manger. It’s his birthday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that. Let us each ask what He would wish for most. And then, let each put in his share.” Characters in 1947 movies were allowed to talk like that.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL (1951)
Alastair Sim stars in this, the best of the Scrooge movies.  Unrated. The box set includes both B&W and colorized versions.

THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY (2007)
Tom Berenger, Joely Richardson.  A mysterious recluse also happens to be the best wood carver in the valley.  Slowly the woodcutter finds his world transformed by a young boy and his mother, who have asked him to carve a yuletide scene.  It includes positive messages, including a respect for God and Christ (prayers are spoken, church is attended and the main characters acknowledge the birth of Christ). Unrated. PREVIEW REVIEW

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)
James Stewart’s George Bailey is given the opportunity to see what his community would have been like if he had never been born.  Director Frank Capra reminds us that our compassion and responsibility make a difference in the lives of those with whom we come in contact.  Unrated.

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947)
Edmund Gwenn is Santa Claus!

ELF (2003)
Having accidentally snuck into Santa's sleigh, a human baby is raised at the North Pole as an elf.  After wreaking havoc in the elf community due to his 6’2”size, Buddy (Will Ferrell) heads to New York City to find his place in the world and track down his father.  Absolutely hysterical. PG. PREVIEW REVIEW

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1994)
Richard Attenborough, Mara Wilson.  The manager of a New York department store hires Kris Kringle to be the store Santa.  Soon the old fellow has to convince the woman and her precocious daughter that he truly is Father Christmas.  A delight and a rarity, as it is one of the few worthwhile remakes.  Full of laughter, poignancy and charm, it is noteworthy for containing both visual and verbal Christian metaphors and points out that Santa is a symbol.  The scene where Santa communicates with a little deaf girl is worth the rental price. PG, PREVIEW REVIEW

THE NATIVITY STORY (2006)
Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac star as Mary and Joseph in the retelling of the birth of Christ.  The filmmakers worked hard to ensure that The Nativity Story was both historically and biblically accurate: There were several Christians involved, such as screenwriter Mike Rich and producer Wyck Godfrey, and a wide spectrum of Christian New Testament scholars and historians were involved in the pre-production process.  PG. PREVIEW REVIEW

SCROOGE (1970)
Albert Finney is terrific in this musical version of the Dickens’ classic. Warning:  there are a couple of scary moments, which may be unsuitable for little ones.  But this is a powerful and most entertaining parable about a man finding redemption. G.

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