Grief is the price we pay for love, and it’s worth it a million times over.
As I was watching Netflix’s new Christmas movie, A Boy Called Christmas, I immediately thought back to Peter Falk reading Fred Savage the story of Princess Buttercup, and her true love Westley. And while there are few other similarities to the classic The Princess Bride, it is the film’s narrative style of storytelling that makes A Boy Called Christmas so poignant. Now streaming on Netflix, A Boy Called Christmas is a heartwarming origin story about Saint Nicholas (Santa Clause).
A Boy Called Christmas
Inspired by author Matt Haig’s book by the same name, A Boy Called Christmas is a British fantasy film about an ordinary young boy named Nikolas who sets out on an extraordinary adventure in search of his father. The cinematography is lush and immersive, with plenty of scenes to remind audiences why this is the most wonderful time of the year.
As the film opens, Aunt Ruth (Maggie Smith) is called to care for her niece and nephews on Christmas Eve as their father has been called into work. The three siblings have recently lost their mother and their father has decided to forego the holiday altogether, setting the film up for a Christmas story.
Aunt Ruth begins to tell the story of Nikolas, and as an origin story, the irony is not lost. Nikolas and his father live in the remote woods of Finland and are likewise grieving the death of his mother, who was eaten by a bear. Each night, his father tells Nikolas the story of a young girl who stumbles upon Elfhelm, a community of elves who kept her safe until she was able to return home.
In an effort to bring back hope to the kingdom, the king challenges his subjects to find some magic with the promise of a reward. Nikolas’ father joins a group in search of the fabled elves, leaving him under the care of his bitter, selfish aunt Charlotte (brilliantly played by Kristen Wiig). Under the brutal treatment of Aunt Charlotte, Nikolas endures hunger, cold, and loneliness before finding hope in a hidden map that confirms the existence of Elfhelm. Thus begins Nikolas’ journey to finding his father, Elfhelm, and his true destiny.
A Boy Called Christmas is a beautiful, whimsical film that will inspire hope in families this season. The film does not shy away from the reality of grief, but there are no trite messages. Rather, grief is an expression of love and remembrance. The story is thoughtful and poignant, weaving in those things we love about the holidays. A reindeer named Blitzen, a talking mouse, and a city of elves all lay the foundation for this Santa Claus origin story. Through snow-filled scenes and intricate elf villages, A Boy Called Christmas fuses tradition and magic in a film that is certain to inspire hope this holiday season.
A Boy Called Christmas Printables and Activity Sheets
Celebrate the joy of the season with A Boy Called Christmas. Download our free printables and activity sheets inspired by the film for a Christmas family movie night.