Tracking down decent Christmas films on Netflix can be like wading through cold bread sauce. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you and have put together a list of festive favourites for all the family (i.e. the kids while you nurse a Baileys
Christmas movies on Netflix UK: The method
I’ve decided to channel my inner Scrooge and exclude all non-Christmas movies from the list. That means no Shrek, Goonies, Matilda, Shaun the Sheep Movie or original Jumanji (all of which are on British Netflix). If it isn’t full of tinsel and holiday trauma, I don’t want to know.
To accompany the official IMDb ratings, we’ve included our own – where one of our team has watched it. However, as the cliche goes, there’s no accounting for taste: IMDb’s 5.0 might be your 9.0 so take the ratings with a pinch of cinnamon.
So, without further ado, come Dasher! Come
The best Christmas movies on Netflix UK 2018
Jack Frost (IMDb rating: 5.1; BTQ rating 8.0)
When I merrily skipped into the cinema to watch Jack Frost in 1998, I had no idea what lay in store. Without venturing into spoiler territory, a father (played by post-Batman but pre-Birdman Michael Keaton) passes away in a horrendous car accident… and returns as a haunted snowman with one last chance to make things up with his young son. Merry Christmas!
In all seriousness, Jack Frost might not be a showcase for Shakespearian acting, but there are a couple of belly laughs and I challenge you – yes, you – not to be in tears by the closing credits. For me, it’s a Christmas classic.
Christmas with the Coopers (IMDb rating: 5.7)
Known as Love the Coopers in the US, this film has quite the cast: Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Olivia Wilde and Ed Helms. It follows the zany trials and tribulations of the Cooper family before their annual Christmas Eve meetup.
The only problem is that it’s an absolute, wait for it, turkey. In fact, Wendy Ide, film critic at the Guardian, called it a “steaming yule log of a movie”. Ouch. But come Boxing Day, when you’re in the middle of a port and mince pie-induced coma, a turkey might be just what you need. After all, you can always laugh at how bad it is.
Nativity! (IMDb rating: 6.4, BTQ rating: 7.5)
Okay, it might be languishing near the bottom of this list, but it would be difficult to find a more Christmas-y – or British – film than Nativity!. The name alone conjures up memories of having to play a wise man, innkeeper, tree,
Starring comedy stalwarts Martin Freeman, Ashley Jensen, Marc Wootton, Alan Carr and Ricky Tomlinson, it’s a semi-improvised jape centring on a contest to pull off the best nativity play. Again, like Jack Frost, Nativity! was never going to bring home an Oscar, but it’s a silly story with a few decent laughs – perfect for having on in the background.
The Holiday (IMDb rating: 6.9, BTQ rating: 6.5)
The Holiday was a smash-hit when it was released in December 2006, grossing $205 million worldwide. And it’s easy to see why: it’s a romantic comedy starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black. Even better, it follows the classic “life swap” formula as Winslet and Diaz’s characters exchange houses in
Yes, it’s predictable and features fake snow galore, but it’s as warming as large cup of mulled wine. Plus, there’s a scene when Cameron Diaz’s character gets drunk and shouts along to The Killers’ Mr Brightside – which, let’s face it, we’ve all done dozens of times…
The Man Who Invented Christmas (IMDb rating: 7.0)
The new film on the block, The Man Who Invented Christmas was released last year and tells the true story behind the writing of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Featuring Dan Stevens as Dickens, Jonathan Pryce as his father, the evergreen Christopher Plummer as Ebeneezer Scrooge and Miriam Margoyles, the movie divided the critics (Peter Bradshaw wrote that it “feels about as Christmassy as watching England go out of the World Cup at the group stage”. Again, ouch).
However, if you like your Yuletide entertainment to be dour and Victorian, it could be just the ticket – a
Arthur Christmas (IMDb: 7.1; BTQ rating: 9.0)
Okay, confession time: I think Arthur Christmas is great. In fact, if it wasn’t for those pesky IMDb ratings, I’d have put it at the top of this list. Why? Well, first there’s the cast: James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Laurie and Ashley Jensen, among many others.
Then there’s the plot: Arthur, Santa’s clumsy son, has to put his fears behind him in a daredevil mission to deliver a misplaced present to a little girl. Unfortunately, he’s accompanied by the former Father Christmas, Grandsanta (Nighy)… It’s bonkers, but good fun.
Finally, there’s the humour: Arthur Christmas is the most consistently funny film on this list and, best of all, there are plenty of nods to the parents watching (the fact that it was made by Aardman Animations, of Wallace and Gromit fame, won’t come as a surprise). What’s not to like?
The Christmas Chronicles (IMDb rating: 7.6)
All I really know about The Christmas Chronicles is that Kurt Russell makes a very good Santa – although we’d recommend against doing a double-bill with The Thing.
The plot is rather colour-by-numbers – two kids want to take a picture of the real Father Christmas, but end up going on an adventure – but it could be worth watching for Russell alone. Or,
Love Actually (IMDb rating: 7.6; BTQ rating: 6.8)
Everyone’s seen Love Actually – even Amazonian tree frogs and aliens from Alpha Centauri. It’s the Christmas film to end all Christmas films, featuring the right mixture of sappiness and full-on cringe.
And, if you’re not heartily sick of Richard Curtis’ Christmas compendium – which stars, deep breath, Bill Nighy, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andrew Lincoln, Martin Freeman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Billy Bob Thornton and what’s his name? Oh yes, Hugh Grant – it’s now on Netflix in all its glory.
No matter how hard you try, you will end up watching it.
BONUS! Fireplace for your Home
Okay, this isn’t technically a film, but it will get you in a festive mood if you’re not lucky enough to have your own fireplace. The premise is simple: it’s just a single, hour-long shot of a crackling fire (you can choose if you want to accompany it with naff music), but the effect is surprisingly realistic in fullscreen. Welcome to the future.