Just recently, I found out my mother, who got me hooked on movies, never saw “A Christmas Story”. I know we can’t all be perfect, but this is one movie you can’t miss out on.
Everything about this movie is golden. We all know the story: The only gift good enough for young Ralphie is a Red Ryder BB gun, but all the grown ups (including that famous in-store Santa) reminds him “You’ll shoot your eye out!”). The true beauty is that the movie is not about Ralphie just wanting that present, but the setting of the world he is living in.
It is the end of the great depression, just before the second world war (other wise all would be talking about it). It is about 1940 (as we see many “Wizard of Oz” references, and that movie came out in 1939), but it is more than that. The time is long gone when parents left their kids to wait for Santa by themselves, where families went shopping for real Christmas trees (I can’t personally remember having a real one), and kids referring to their dads as “the old man”.
The cast is all great, but the two who carry it are Melinda Dillon and (the late) Darren McGavin as the parents (or as the credits say “Mother” and “the old man”). Dillon plays the mother as a typical house wife but with brains (probably more so than the old man has). She truly holds the family glued together, and knows when punishments should be given and not (as in the famouse “fudge” scene, and then the scene where Ralphie has had enough with the neighborhood bully).
McGavin is wonderful as the old man as well. He seems to get as close to over acting as you can with out actually doing it. Who else could be so excited over a leg lamp? He is also kind and warm-hearted. He and Dillon make up two of the most lovable parents a movie could ask for.
Parents, there is some swearing, and a little drama, but really that is it (No sex or anything, despite the lamp). This is a wonderful flick, one of the best Christmas films made. If a movie is based only on its scenes, then this is a masterpiece. I have not even mentioned the triple dog dare, the theme essay, the Chinese dinner…….you know what? I will let you experience them.
Overall: 5 Stars *****