All I Want for Christmas is a 1991 film about a young boy, Ethan, and his sister, Hallie. Their parents divorced one year ago right around Christmas, leaving the kids longing for their family to get back together. It isn’t until Hallie goes to see Santa (“the real one. At Macy’s.”) that Ethan sees how much his sister really wants their parents back together. The two hatch a scheme to get their parents alone together on Christmas Eve through Christmas morning. Will it work, or will it drive their parents even further apart?
Why it is a fantastic adventure: For some reason, a young Thora Birch keeps coming up in my movie reviews. I guess it’s because she was such a great child actress. Once again, she turns in an adorable performance as the innocent, yet intelligent, little sister. Ethan Embry plays a convincing and caring older brother.
This film deals with two major issues. The first is the big brother, little sister bond. Your kids will certainly learn a thing or two about how to take care of their younger siblings. Ethan is constantly watching over Hallie and making sure that she is safe. In one scene, he distracts her from hearing another argument between their parents. He watches over her and makes sure that she does not run off alone in New York city. When she inevitably does, he drops everything he does, puts himself at risk, and runs to go find her. It is a great lesson for all of the little ones in your home.
The second issue is divorce. In 1991, divorce was still a sticking point that rarely got attention in family films. Today it is more accepted and commonplace to see the topic discussed openly in family entertainment. If you have yet to discuss the topic with your kids, this is a great place to start. It portrays the kids as content and still being kids, goofing off and enjoying life, but it also shows the private side of the kids’ lives and how the each deal with grief. Ethan watches old family videos and cries, while Hallie takes the more naïve approach of asking Santa to get them back together.
Finally, this film is not all sad stuff. There is a lot of action and adventure. When the kids try to get their parents back together, the hatch a fun plan full of pranks and little white lies. There are runaway mice, towed cars, diverted cabs and a late night dinner at the family diner. All in all, it is a grand scheme worthy of The Parent Trap and it will have your kids laughing and on the edge of their seats.
The film also provides some great Christmas scenery: a white, wintry Christmas tree, falling snow and trips to Macy’s.
All I Want for Christmas is available to own on DVD, or rent it from Amazon.