It might not officially be The 12 Days of Christmas, but FILM IN WORDS will still fill your festive viewing schedule with cheer. From beloved movies that have become an irreplaceable holiday tradition to cult and lesser known Xmas cuts that promise to subvert and haunt your holidays, there’s something for everyone all the way up to Christmas Eve. Next up, check out one of Netflix’s finest seasonal offerings, The Fitzgerald Family Christmas.
Words: Brody Rossiter
Hopefully you’re spending this Christmas with family. Whether bound by blood or extended by circumstance, the holidays offer a perfect opportunity to draw together those of us who may have become somewhat estranged throughout the past twelve months – but what if that period of estrangement had lasted through several decades of ill will and bad parenting?
Edward Burns’ The Fitzgerald Family Christmas serves up such a scenario alongside the turkey and tinsel. The film follows a group of Long Island siblings throughout their tumultuous daily lives as they come to terms with the resurfacing of their father twenty years after he first walked out on them and their mother – and his wish to join them for Christmas dinner.
Once again Burns – who directs, stars, and is responsible for writing the script – returns to the fertile, creative ground of Long Island NY, and its largely American-Irish inhabitants. Reuniting many familiar faces from his festival darling and cult indie flick, The Brothers McMullen, the director and leading man once again exhibits his talent for penning naturalistic dialogue that consistently remains immersive and full of heart as opposed to forced and mundane. With such a large ensemble cast on display the fact that every face and personality remains unique and endearing is another glowing attribute of Burns and company.
They jump from the melancholic to the comedic as various life issues and emotional quandaries punctuate the siblings’ struggle to once again accept a man whose only fatherly act was one biological in nature. Sharon’s daddy issues have led her to date an older man; Gerry still mourns a lost love while romancing a charming nurse; Dottie is in the midst of a passionate affair with a younger man; Connie’s unemployed husband grows more disillusioned and angry every day; and Quinn has found his own twentysomething with her very own daddy issues.
Fans of small, talky and charismatic American independent cinema could do far worse than spending a couple of hours with The Fitzgerald Family this Christmas time. Regardless of whether your family consists of just the two of you, or your very own clan full relatives, Burns’ poignant and charming storytelling promises to strike a meaningful chord – if you feel like forgiving the mistakes of the past or not.