Christmas As Usual (2023)

Christmas As Usual (2023)

A misguided Christmas take on multicultural romance

3.0

Movie

Norway
English, Norwegian
Comedy, Drama, Romance
2023
PETTER HOLMSEN
Ida Ursin-Holm, Jonas Strand Gravli, Kanan Gill
89 min

TLDR

Kanan Gill… You deserve better.

What it's about

To celebrate their engagement, Thea brings her fiance Jashan home with her for the holidays, but his Indian sensibilities clash with her Norwegian mother’s preconceived notions in this chaotic Christmas.

The take

Christmas is a common setting for romance stories, because it’s obviously the best time to warm up… if you know what we mean. (Warm drinks, sweet treats, and snuggling with loved ones, of course.) Christmas as Usual seems to go along that vein, as Thea brings home her fiancé Jashan to meet the parents, and he tries to impress her family, as these family Christmas romances tend to go. This obviously brings about the relatable romantic troubles that anyone can empathize with, so it’s a bit of a shock when Thea’s Norwegian family treats Jashan so badly that it seems more insidious than good ol’ concern over their daughter. Had the story been approached with more sensitivity, Christmas as Usual would have been outstanding, but its current version never really questions the racism of the Norwegian family, or the passive way Thea just lets it all happen.

What stands out

At the start, Christmas as Usual seems like the cutesy multicultural Christmas romance that seems to mirror the plot of Saudi Arabia’s Crashing Eid. Kanan Gill is so charming as Jashan, especially during his swoonworthy proposal, that it’s no wonder Thea fell for him. However, the way Thea’s family treats Jashan feels less like reasonable concern over cultural differences and feels more like racism. It actually feels a bit like a Christmas version for Get Out, with an added Norwegian language barrier, without the sci-fi twists. But even without considering the casually flung microaggressions, Thea doesn’t do anything to prepare her boyfriend or her family for each other. It could have been an intriguing romance if Thea is genuinely concerned about her family’s treatment of Jashan, but as it stands, Thea is a terrible fiancée, even without the racism.

Comments

Add a comment

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

Oslo, August 31st (2011)

The cry of a generation reckoning with aging in today's world

8.6

What Will People Say

An upsetting but important story of double identity and conservative family pressures

7.4

Utøya: July 22 (2019)

An Excruciatingly Realistic Account of A Terrorist Attack

7.1

TINA (2021)

A stirring tribute to Tina Turner's music and inner strength in the face of trauma

7.5

My Name Is Loh Kiwan (2024)

Love enables survival in this moving drama about the refugee experience

7.0

Forgotten Love (2023)

The stunning third take of the classic Polish pre-war melodrama

7.7

The Guilty (2018)

A minimalist, razor-sharp thriller that will have you gasping for air.

9.0

End of the Century (2019)

A quietly devastating queer romance that does everything with softness and sensitivity

8.5

The Parades (2024)

Michihito Fujii reimagines a peaceful, communal afterlife in this slice-of-life supernatural drama

7.2

The Zone of Interest (2023)

A chilling and masterful display of the banality of evil

9.5

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2024 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.