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Christmas Story
Christmas Story
Actors: Katherine Borowitz, Kari Väänänen, John Turturro, Noah Emmerich, Minna Haapkyla
Director: Juha Wuolijoki
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
PG     2009     1hr 16min

This Christmas, a great secret will be revealed. Have you ever wonder how Santa Claus came to be Santa? — A long time ago, the world's greatest story was born when a young boy named Nikolas took on a mysterious — mission and...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Katherine Borowitz, Kari Väänänen, John Turturro, Noah Emmerich, Minna Haapkyla
Director: Juha Wuolijoki
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Family Films, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 11/03/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2007
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2007
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 16min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 1
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Jerry S. from OCEANSIDE, CA
Reviewed on 12/13/2010...
Great, Great, Great CHRISTmas Story
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Santa, from boyhood to legend
P. Mann | Los Angeles | 11/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This Finnish film tells the story of Nikolas, who, as a young boy, is orphaned. The villagers, not knowing what else to do, decide that a different family will provide Nikolas his home for a year, and each Christmas, Nikolas will move to the next family. During this process, Nikolas begins carving wooden animals and other toys to repay his friends' kindness, and he leaves these gifts outside the recipients' doors on Christmas.

At one point, a local carpenter, Iisakki (the wonderful Finnish actor Kari Väänänen), discovers Nikolas's ability with carving and convinces the village that he should take Nikolas in. Gruff and bitter at first, Iisakki insists that Nikolas refer to him as "Master" and treats the boy as a servant. Eventually, though, Iisakki warms to the boy, and they develop a caring relationship as Nikolas continues his gift-giving.

The film is wonderful to look at, shot as it was in Finnish Lapland, and there is little to prevent fairly young children from enjoying the film. The film is rated PG because of "mild thematic elements and brief smoking," according to the MPAA. The thematic elements, I presume, are primarily the elements that make Nikolas an orphan (the deaths of his parents and young brother). The smoking refers to pipes that several of the characters have.

DVD extras include a "making of" featurette (in Finnish with English subtitles) and the film's trailer (in English). The film is in English with no option for the original Finnish language, and there are no subtitles available for the feature."
Surprised! The Story of Nicholas....
S. Furr | USA | 11/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I purchased this film on a whim. I was intrigued to see and hear the story of Santa Claus from a Finnish perspective and I was surprised. Surprised in a great way.

This is a wonderful film that takes you from the youth of Nicholas to, for a lack of a better term, his ascension to Santa Claus. From a tragedy in his youth, young Nicholas is tranfered family to family each Christmas for six years. During this time, he crafts gifts for his former family until he is taken in by crazy old Isaac who eventually mentors the young Nicholas to adulthood and expands his gift giving to several villages.

Christmas Story is a story of overcoming tragedy, having hope, friendship and giving. It truly is a wonderful and a great surprise.

The film was filmed in Finnish, but is dubbed into English. I will say the English dub was not done very well, but for me it doesn't detract from a wonderful story.

There is a making of featurette and a trailer on the dvd.

I highly recommend "Christmas Story" to all Christmas lovers."
Tired of the commercial Santa? Share this origin story with
Jared Castle | Roseburg, Oregon United States | 12/16/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Most people will skip this Finnish holiday film, dubbed in English, searching for something more familiar, something less challenging. That's a mistake.

This is an excellent family film about the origin of Santa Claus. This film transcends the commercial image of Santa and grounds him in a loving story that isn't afraid to make you cry.

The word "classic" is used too often to describe holiday films, each of lesser and lesser quality. Hollywood has a lousy record when it comes to holiday films over the past decade. For example, The Santa Clause 3 The Escape Clause (2006), Deck the Halls (2006), Christmas With the Kranks (2004), Surviving Christmas (2004), and, most recently, Santa Baby (2007) and Four Christmases (2008). And that doesn't count other holiday lumps of coal starring Tom Arnold, Kelsey Grammer and Matthew McConaughey.

My point is that this film, with its snowy lush cinematography and original storyline, isn't without its flaws. However, you will come away feeling inspired by the result, rather than feeling cheated once again by another made-for-TV plot, lame acting and sophomoric humor.

Jen Johans' review for Film Intuition does an excellent job of capturing what makes this foreign film so special. The following excerpt nicely sums up why you should give the movie a chance:

"However, despite its melancholic opener and general audience reluctance to foreign films, this uplifting PG-rated movie is one I urge parents to seek out to offer a new alternative to the primarily commercial approach of Santa Claus movies.

"A beautiful work filled with the ingredients that make our classics including A Christmas Carol, Nutcracker and other holiday movies so endearing, director Juha Wuolijoki's Story also garnered prestigious accolades in time for its DVD debut including a seal of approval by The Dove Foundation and an All-Star honor by the well-respected Kids First! Coalition for Quality Children's Media."

Rating: Four stars."