A Christmas Story (1983)

Christmas

RATING: 3.5/5

SPOILERS

Directed by Bob Clark, taking place in an average American setting in the 40s, the movie details the events of little Raphie. Who all he wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder Air Rifle.

Argued by some to be one of the best, if not the best, Christmas movie of all time. While I don’t necessarily see it as such, I still think this is a fun and pretty good movie.

The whole movie is narrated by an adult Ralphie as he details this one particular holiday season when he was a small child. Him detailing these experiences from the point of view of his younger self was pretty funny and one can definitely relate to some of the things that happened to him.

The first thing from this movie that comes to mind is when Ralphie says his curse word for the first time. He gets all nervous and frozen from saying such a naughty word in front of his dad. When the word is out of what he has said, he gets more ashamed of the horrible act he has done. The parents are really freaked by this and try to figure out exactly where he learned such foul language. I can relate to that.

The next thing, which ties into the curse word scene, was when Ralphie gets into a fight. While I’ve never been involved in a fight, the feeling someone has when they have done something wrong is there. I can relate to this as well. As a kid, you are always dreading the worst kind of punishment that your parents will do if they found out.

Ralphie’s big and immense imagination as a kid is something that I too had. As a kid, you wanted the best to come for you and if you liked anything cool, you would do anything to replicate that. But of course, the harshness of reality will try to bury all those good dreams to the ground. But sometimes, you can persist in order to get what you want no matter what.

Another little funny scene was when Ralphie’s mom was bundling up his little brother to make sure he doesn’t get too cold. One has to wrap in so much clothing that they can hardly move a limb.

Ralphie’s scenes in this movie were definitely the best parts. The actor, Peter Billingsley, did a really good job behaving like a real kid. In fact, all of the child actors did a pretty good job, as there wasn’t one kid that I thought was annoying or sounded out of place like he/she was speaking like an adult. They all talked like real children which were nicely done.

The parents in the movie did well in their performances and stayed true in acting out their mom/dad type quirks. The mom is the most caring and wants to make sure she has a smile for the holidays while trying to go through with the normal, busy house life. The dad seems the least concern about anything for the most part and just wants to spend Christmas the way he wants to. The two are stereotypical mother/father figures but are still fun to watch on screen.

Now while I feel the scenes with Ralphie were the best parts, I do feel that this is the biggest flaw for the film. It seems, to me at least, that the film focuses primarily on him. I kind of wish that some focus would be garnered to some other characters like his school friends, who don’t really contribute much. They have some good scenes in the first half, but in the second half, they are dropped off completely. It would be really nice for this movie to not solely focus on Ralphie and maybe focus on other characters to see how they are handling the holiday season. Not just for Ralphie, but his family in general. It would have at least shown character development which is what this movie needed more of.

There were scenes that I felt seemed to drag just a bit. For example, the scene right after one of Ralphie’s friends gets his tongue stuck to a pole. I feel like the classroom scene could have been shortened easily. Another scene is when Ralphie gets his revenge on that bully and keeps beating him to the ground. There are scenes where the dad buys the leg lamp. Which is fun, again at showing the quirks of fathers, but it didn’t add anything substantial in the long run. That subplot was dealt with very quickly and forgotten about. This maybe nitpicking but its something that I noticed with this and it bothered me to some degree.

Also, I feel like this movie needed to do more. Though I can’t describe it, I feel like it didn’t fully go all the way in what a kid is going through around Christmas time. There are so many things a kid is either doing or thinking of while its this time of year. So yes this is another thing that I had an issue of is that this film didn’t execute its plot to the fullest extent.

While this a movie I don’t particularly agree with people about how great this is, I do feel that this is still without a doubt a fun Christmas movie with fun characters delivering enough joy and excitement to keep one entertained for the holiday season. So with that said, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!