Get Santa (PG)
Running time: 102 min
Directed by: Christopher Smith
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Rafe Spall and Warwick Davis
A father and son who team up to save Christmas once they discover Santa Claus sleeping in their garage after crashing his sleigh and finding himself on the run from the police.
Christopher Smith – yes, the writer/director of Severence and Creep – has managed to do something that is very, very difficult with Get Santa and that is, quite honestly, he’s made a truly wonderful Christmas movie that will forever sit with the likes of Scrooged, The Muppets Christmas Carol and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as essential family watching during the festive season.
And he did it by being very, very clever; he has taken the Character of Santa Claus (Broadbent) and put him in a very real world with the very real pair of Steve (Spall) who is just out of prison in time for Christmas and who wants nothing more than to spend time with his son, Tom (newcomer Kit Conor) who he hasn’t seen in two years. And everything is going relatively well until Tom finds that Santa has crashed his new sleigh – which he was breaking in – and is hiding in his garden shed and is asking for Steve.
Get Santa is a real breath of fresh air in the Christmas genre. As weird as it sounds, it’s a very real comedy/drama that, while being very fun and funny, deals with the issues of family estrangement and how we all become jaded as we get older.
Smith, who clearly has a handle for the darker side of comedy, here flexes his muscles and proves that, for a movie to be festive it doesn’t need to have an England covered in snow at Christmas (very rarely happens) or GCI talking animals (em, never happens) but rather simply needs characters who are believable and in a very improbable situation.
Broadbent’s Santa is a man with a job that he loves very dearly and which is to treat everyone in the world equally. He clearly says at two points that all he can give is physical things to those who have none and he regrets that love and acceptance are well out of his abilities and it’s obvious that this is something he would gladly give if he could. People are bad and make mistakes but there is still a magic of sorts in the world. And that’s a good message, we shouldn’t look to Santa for miracles, we should make them ourselves.
Special mention too to Raff Spall who holds the whole movie together as a man torn between what he believes and what he thinks he knows. His wide-eyed awe and disbelieve and eventual acceptance is wonderful and he really brings us along for the trip. And his relationship with Tom is a beautiful thing as he wants nothing more than to be a good dad who soon realises he may not be able to deliver.
I adored this movie. It’s honest (yes, really) but full of wonder and it manages to keep the dream of Santa alive while never pandering or talking down to the audience. It explains that as we grow older we lose touch with the child we all once were and when Tom asks his dad how the whole world could lie to children it makes us look at ourselves and even though it’s talking about something else, the message is very clear.
Filled with great characters and wonderful performances, Get Santa is, I promise, the best Christmas movie you’ll see this year and possibly many more to come. It may be a touch cynical in parts but it keeps the magic alive and will send everyone home with a ‘life can be good’ smile rather than the usual sickly sweet smile that will soon fade.
Go see this – take the kids – but they aren’t necessary for this because it’s simply a wonderful piece of cinema.
Merry Christmas to you all!
4 out of 5 Nerds