If you have had your flll of “Home Alone,” Sleepless in Seattle” or “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on television and you don’t feel like trudging out in the snow to see the latest movie at the cineplex, I have a surprise holiday movie treat for you. “Christmas Story” is a movie I stumbled upon in my search for a new Christmas movie I might not have seen and while I don’t know if if qualifies as a true Christmas classic, it is worth a watch and is my Christmas DVD pick of the week.
Let me make it clear right away that I am not talking about “A Christmas Story,” that modern Christmas classic you can see all day on cable TV again this Christmas season. “Christmas Story” is actually a foreign movie -dubbed in English though, so don’t worry- that tells the story of an orphan named Nikolas. Nikolas is literally raised by an entire village, each family taking a turn giving him a home for exactly a year. Nikolas grows up to be a fine young man with skills in woodworking and the life that seems like a Christmas fairytale is upended when famine hits the town and the village can no longer help him.
Nikolas is sent away with a man who treats Nikolas cruelly,but the abuse never hardens Nikolas but only shapes his character to be more compassionate and generous. Every year Nikolas returns to his village and gives toys his has made to all the boys and girls there. It is a tradition that eventually changes the heart of his caretaker and the hearts of the villagers while giving us one version of how the great St. Nicholas came into being.
What commends this movie the most is some amazing landscapes and some superb acting. It also artfully weaves the themes of forgivness and hope.”Christmas Story” moves a little slowly, has a few intense moments and is probably not for very young children. But for most family members this is a satisfying , heartwarming story that you all can enjoy together for a new holiday tradition..