‘Tis the season to stay indoors and warm up with a festive film or two, right?
As the weather grows frightful and the family gatherings make you long for a bit of quiet time, it’s high time to relax with a movie choice to lift your spirits while you lift a spirit (does eggnog count?) to problematic fave Love Actually or the nicest bear of the bunch, Paddington.
Here’s our pick of the 10 best Christmas movies on Amazon Prime Video to stream this festive season.
Deck the Halls
What’s it about? The rivalry between two neighbouring men, determined to have the best Christmas decorations in town.
Who’s in it? Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito play the two rival blokes with Kristin Davis and Kristin Chenoweth as their wives, and the ace Alia Shawkat is in it too.
Why it’s worth a watch: The days of Ferris Bueller are long gone for Broderick – but this buddy comedy gives a chance for the two main actors to become big kids again. Keep your eye’s open for Danny DeVito’s hilarious turn.
Christmas with the Coopers
What’s it about? Four generations of the Cooper family, honouring their annual Christmas Eve traditions amidst a whirlwind of unexpected guests.
Who’s in it? Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried and Timothée Chalamet.
Why it’s worth a watch: Misfit families pack out the festive genre, but this star-studded cast finds humour in their idiosyncrasies. And with Chalamet starring in this year’s festive pick Little Women, a little bit of homework on his previous roles can’t hurt.
What’s it about? Two fed-up women spending Christmas alone – one in sunny LA, one in a cottage in the English countryside – decide to swap houses over the holiday period.
Who’s in it? Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black, and Jude Law.
Why it’s worth a watch: The amazement of both women at their newfound luck is a Christmas miracle to witness, and the sugar-sweet romance between the couples might be cheesy, but always hits the spot.
What’s it about? A heartbroken school teacher forced to direct the annual Nativity play.
Who’s in it? Martin Freeman, Ashley Jensen, Pam Ferris and Jason Watkins.
Why it’s worth a watch: Everybody remembers their own memories of the school play – whether you were the lead or a sheep. Christmas is always the best when you’re a little kid and Nativity! does a solid job of capturing that playful spirit.
The Night Before
What’s it about? Three best friends looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.
Who’s in it? Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie.
Why it’s worth a watch: With Christmas comes a time for nostalgia and reunion aka adults noticing the passing of time but being allowed to drink enough to forget it. Melancholy and utterly madness don’t often mix, but this is a Seth Rogen comedy, so all bets are off.
What’s it about? Buddy, a human raised among elves in the North Pole who thinks he’s one of them – until he ends up in Manhattan.
Who’s in it? Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, James Caan.
Why it’s worth a watch: Maybe the most Will Ferrell of all Will Ferrell comedies, Elf is unhinged and iconic. Quote-a-long cinema screenings are all the rage, and there’s no shaking the image of Buddy squeezing into his desk like all the other good little elves.
What’s it about? An 1980s take on Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, focusing on a cynical TV executive relearning the meaning of the holidays.
Who’s in it? Bill Murray, Karen Allen, John Forsythe, Carol Kane.
Why it’s worth a watch: Bill Murray might be the best example of a grumpy old man – but also the funniest. Countless remakes of Dickens’ story exist, but this remains one of the best.
What’s it about? A bear from Peru loses his way and ends up in London with the Brown family, while being chased by a taxidermist who wants to add him to her collection.
Who’s in it? Ben Whishaw as Paddington’s voice, alongside Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi.
Why it’s worth a watch: Few movies, festive or otherwise, have captured the warm earnestness of Paddington – the eponymous bear’s catchphrase, “if you’re kind and polite, the world will be right”, remains perfect.
What’s it about? Based on the French play Santa Claus is a Stinker, it focuses on a crisis hotline business over the festive period.
Who’s in it? Steve Martin, Juliette Lewis, Madeleine Kahn, Robert Klein.
Why it’s worth a watch: Nora Ephron, the film’s director and co-writer, always managed to create characters and scenarios you couldn’t help but care deeply for. Pair that with an enthusiastic performance from Steve Martin and it’s enough to save Christmas.
What’s it about? Eight different storylines, all following people working through various relationships in the lead-up to Christmas.
Who’s in it? Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, Laura Linney, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Andrew Lincoln, Bill Nighy. Martine McCutcheon. Martin Freeman. Literally, who isn’t in it?
Why it’s worth a watch: Because it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.