ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS
US, 1991, 92 minutes, Colour.
Ethan Randall, Thora Birch, Lauren Bacall, Harley Jane Kozak, Jamey Sheridan.
Directed by Robert Lieberman.
All I Want for Christmas is a '90s variation of the Christmas story, Miracle on 34th Street. This time we have two young children, they do go to Macy's - and Leslie Nielsen does a guest spot as Santa Claus. However, the times have certainly changed, the children are much more sophisticated and able, the parents are breaking up and the children contrive to bring them together using all kinds of devices and deceits. Ethan Randall (Dutch) is the young boy and Thora Birch the young girl. Included in the cast is Lauren Bacall as their grandmother - and she and Thora Birch do a star song turn.
Nothing particularly new - variation on a theme with precocious New York children.
1. Family film? For children's audiences? Adults? Children American style?
2. New York locations, wealthy apartments, diners? Macy's? Winter and the Christmas atmosphere? The musical score, songs - Lauren Bacall and Thora Birch doing `Baby, It's Cold Outside'?
3. The parallel with Miracle on 34th Street? Santa Claus, children and Macy's almost 50 years on?
4. Hallie and Ethan, in themselves, their relationship, with their mother, their absent father? The wealthy home? Details of home life? Their mother and her suitor, their dislike of him, the antagonisms? Their going to visit their father at the diner, enjoying his company, the work? Moving between the two worlds? Their grandmother and her support? The visit to Macy's, the discussions with Santa Claus? Their wish to have their parents together again? The party and the socials, the song? Ethan and his meeting Stephanie, the museum, the date? Katherine and her plans to marry, their plot, the ingenious devices, the mice, their mother having to go to her husband, trapped? Tony and the ice cream van? Tony's antagonism towards them? Their change of heart, happiness at having the family reunited?
5. Katherine and her yuppy style, her job, relationship with Tony and his Wall Street background? At home, with her children, her mother? The outings? The visits and the discussions with Michael? The party, the social, the plans for marriage? The mice and her reaction? Going to the diner, with Michael, the memories, the night together, the antagonisms? Tony and his reaction to the children, her change of heart, the compromise?
6. Tony and the spoof of the Wall Street banker, style, wealth, cars? The children's treatment of him? Katherine? The grandmother? In the ice cream van, his anger against the children?
7. Grandmother, her show business background, love for the children, watching over the household? The song and dance routine?
8. Santa Claus, at the city shops, keeping wishes - and Leslie Nielsen and the twinkle at the end?
9. The fairy tale, New York '90s?