Looking to navigate this year’s avalanche of straight to streaming Christmas movies? We’ve watched them all – and here’s our guide…
Struggling for a new festive favourite this year? Worry ye not, Christmas elves, for we’re on hand with our (mostly) comprehensive ranking of every Christmas film new to streaming in 2022, along with where you can find them — don’t say we never get you anything…
9. Scrooge: A Christmas Carol – Netflix
There’ve been plenty of A Christmas Carol adaptations on stage and screen through the ages, so it’s about time we got one which rather misses the point of Dickens’ festive classic entirely. Uninspired 3D animation and a script which makes Scrooge less a satire of money-grabbing misers and more cruel for the sake of it combine to make a by-the-numbers adaptation which is, at best, pretty inessential. It doesn’t help that of the two musical Carol interpretations out this year, this one is lumbered with some truly dreadful songs. For a kids’ first introduction to Scrooge’s story, throw on A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Give this one a miss.
For more on A Christmas Carol and its many adaptations, check out Sarah Cook’s piece here.
8. Christmas in the Caribbean – Video on Demand
With Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water stealing most of the sequel-spotlight in 2022, it’s easy to forget that Elizabeth Hurley is also starring in her second consecutive festive flick from director Philippe Martinez this year. Sadly, Christmas in the Caribbean struggles to capture the acerbic wit of the pair’s previous outing, and the result is a pretty conventional slog through a tropical island that not even Caroline Quentin and Nathalie Cox’s charming best friends can save. It is one of the few ‘Christmas in a sunny place’ films out this year, though, so if you’re deathly allergic to fake snow, this might be the one for you.
Check out our definitive ranking of Elizabeth Hurley’s Christmas career here.
7. Falling for Christmas – Netflix
Oh, Lindsay. It’s hard to find someone who wasn’t rooting for the Mean Girls star on her heavily publicised return to the big (well, as big as Netflix gets) screen. But while she puts in a perfectly adequate performance as the spoiled daughter of a ski-resort magnate, the rest of the film is, well… not the biggest success. The plot feels like an AI-written Christmas flick with the interesting bits filed down, while George Young gives a teeth-grindingly misjudged turn as Lohan’s influencer fiancé. It even misses the pretty essential naughty-to-nice Christmas movie pipeline by making its most despicable characters not all that bad from the get-go. Come for the Lindsay Lohan renaissance; apart from that, there’s not much reason to stay.
6. Christmas with You – Netflix
For fans of a certain age, Christmas with You is worth tracking down for a choice bit of Freddie Prinze Jr. (Fred from Scooby Doo and its sequel). He’s the music teacher love interest to Aimee Garcia’s global popstar Angelina, you see, and after a sudden snowstorm leaves her stranded in a nowhere town in upstate New York… You get the idea. The rest of the film is perfectly serviceable, even if it does wind up being about as memorable as its name suggests, but if you’re after a sort of vaguely Christmassy feeling or something to put on after a few glasses of mulled wine, this’ll just about do.
Check out our review here.
5. I Believe in Santa – Netflix
Is this film about God? Shot like some pretty standard Hallmark-level fare, it’s frankly astonishing to discover that this is one of the few Christmas films to have things like ‘themes’ and ‘thoughts about the existence of the almighty.’ Throw in some pretty good jokes, perfectly decent performances and a classic Christmas movie plot (woman falls for a lawyer who still believes in Santa and is inexplicably dressed like an elf) and you’ve got yourself a genuinely entertaining romp. The final sledding set piece lets it down a little, but the ride to the top of the hill is a good ‘un. One of the biggest cinematic surprises of 2022.
4. The Noel Diary – Netflix
What is it that we want out of a Christmas film? The Noel Diary might take the ‘com’ out of ‘rom-com,’ but this deceptively Christmassy road trip flick will have you reaching for the tissues and smelling strongly of cinnamon (that’s festive, right?). It’s impressive what two charismatic leads with great chemistry (Justin Hartley and Barrett Doss) can manage on their own, and the duo bring a lot to a script which at times borders on overly sentimental. In a genre filled with out-of-copyright Christmas songs, it’s also refreshing to see something with a decent soundtrack for a change — and those Nina Simone drops are a welcome addition as always.
3. Spirited – Apple TV+
An original musical, you say? A retelling of A Christmas Carol with an interesting twist? A star vehicle for Will Ferrell, Ryan Reynolds and Octavia Spencer, with a Broadway sensibility and a penchant for tap? If that doesn’t sound appealing, then begone, Scrooge, this list is not for thee! Sure, the script might not be the sharpest, and the whole thing feels a little manufactured at times, but there’s enough smart ideas here to keep the well-worn story trotting along at a merry pace.
2. Your Christmas or Mine? – Amazon Prime Video
Now this is more like it. When two young lovers attempt to romantically join each other’s families for the festive season, they both end up on the wrong train and are stuck spending the holidays alone with the in-laws. An all-time great setup is backed by a wonderfully sharp script that hits all the right Christmassy notes, and while the cast of great British character actors are universally excellent, newcomer Cora Kirk is the real stand-out as one half of the rail-crossed central couple. Not just one of the best traditional Christmas movies, but one of the best rom-coms of 2022, Your Christmas or Mine is the perfect level of festive schmaltz to see you through to the New Year.
Check out our review here.
1. This is Christmas – Sky Cinema/NOW
A really understated, slow-burn gem of a Christmas film, This is Christmas is marred by a genuinely painful tragedy. It should, by all rights, become a bit of a British Christmas classic. Like all the best festive flicks it’s not got all that much to do with Christmas at all, and Potter-alum Alfred Enoch gives a ludicrously charismatic, star-making performance as a cheery ad executive throwing a party for the familiar faces on his morning commute. It’s just the sort of feel-good crowd-pleaser that should, by all rights, be making a killing.
Sadly, it’s lumbered with a name so forgettable, so boring, and so nothing-to-do-with-the-actual-film that after this year the world will almost certainly forget it exists until space-archaeologists discover a USB with Sky Cinema’s back catalogue on it a thousand years from now. Rectify that by sticking This is Christmas on this weekend. And, Hollywood, if you’re listening, cast Alfred Enoch in more things.
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