captures the essence of childhood vis a vis christmas better than any film in history. the writing and diction are amazingly good and rich and colorful and effective. the film takes a child’s point of view and does so to great effect. everything is bigger, more important, greater, more disappointing, more haunting, etc. than it is as an adult. consequently, when you watch this film as a child you relate to it and are drawn in to the story, and when you watch it as an adult you recall with fondness the simpler times when your world revolved around christmas or getting THE gift, rather than paying your rent, shitty bosses, traffic, politics, a failing marriage, war, health problems, etc. time is completely different as a child, as well. some parts seem to last forever and some not long enough. some memories are vivid and detailed, others are frayed and fragmented. the film captures these experiences well.
unlike films like goonies, as good as that film is, this film doesn’t glamorize the relationships that kids have. personally, i always wish i had the friendships that are portrayed in films like the sandlot or goonies, but those never occurred and i suspect that the reality is that very few people have had those kinds of experiences. the truth is that kids rat each other out and abandon each other with ease. ralphie and friends leave flick out in the cold with his tongue stuck to a frozen pole. when the bullies confront them later in the film they leave another of their friends to fend for himself. these are the realities of childhood and it’s neither inglorious nor profound, it’s just how it is.
the music is great, as it is in any great film. stuff like excerpts from peter the wolf is used well.
i never noticed before that the chinese restaurant was an old bowling alley. the “w” on the sign is out and they apparently ran with it, calling the restaurant “bo ling.” nice touch.
the film also depicts the reality of breaking your xmas gift on xmas. while ralphie doesn’t technically break the rifle the day he gets it, there is a bit of a minor disaster caused by the new toy. this certainly resonates with me as i seemed to always have some problem on christmas with one of my toys.
great film for all ages, certainly one of the best christmas movies ever. die hard and it’s a wonderful life are also in the running, though those aren’t strictly xmas films.