Christmas story (Joulutarina) is a Finnish Christmas film from 2007 telling the legend of the man we call Santa Claus. There are many films made with the same plot, but this little quiet beautiful film is very different from the rest.
The story is about little Nikolas who become an orphan after his parents and baby sister are killed in an accident. The people in the village are poor and none of the families can afford to take Nikolas in permanently, so they decide to let him stay for a year with each family in the village. After each year is over Nikolas, on Christmas Eve, gives a gift he has made him self for the family he has stayed with. One year the village has so little food that none can afford to take Nikolas in, so he is apprenticed to the stern and gloomy carpenter who lives outside the village. Nikolas is made to work hard, but he enjoys the work and has soon warmed the cold heart of the carpenter. Nikolas continues the tradition of giving gifts to the village children, and to his surprise, the old carpenter decides to help him.
This movie is the most esthetically beautiful film I have ever seen in my life. The gorgeous Finnish landscape is breathtaking, and consequently the elegant cinematography unfolds like a dream. The film was shot on the tundra in Utsjoki in Lapland on the border to Norway, and most of the film is showing fairy-like winter scenes. The movie is a declaration of Love to the Finnish-Sami landscape, a true, pure, natural winter wonderland.
What I love the most about this amazing film is how uncommercial and non-materialistic it is. I feel so many of the more popular Christmas movies, especially about Santa Claus, is just one big sentimental materialistic bonanza, more about the magic of toys and presents than that of Christmas. In “Christmas Story” you will find wax candles instead of flashing LED lights, snow-clad evergreens instead of lavishly decorated Christmas trees, little wooden horses instead of store-bought robots and Legoes. The movie is not only about Christmas, it is about healing from loss, finding new meaning in giving love to gain it, it is about finding hope in unexpected places, and kindness and generosity as a cure for loneliness.
This movie is definitely on my top five list of my all-time favorite movies.
It is not only a celebration of the Northern landscape, but also of the Nordic cultural heritage.
I will say, if you will only see one Christmas film this year, then it should be this!