Just in time for the holiday season, “Almost Christmas” gives us family to look forward to this season. With an all-star cast, “Almost Christmas explores a dysfunctional family that loves to hate each other, but at the same time somehow keep each other grounded. There are sibling rivalries between Gabrielle Union and Kimberly Elise’s characters, meeting at the family home only to please their dad, Walter (Danny Glover). Or you see the friendly boys in the family, Christian (Romany Malco) who is running for Congress and Evan (Jessie T. Usher) who has a bright professional athletic future in front of him, only his family does not see the struggles he is enduring.
“Almost Christmas” gives us a taste of how diverse a family can be even with the relative blood link. Rachel (Union), a single mother who will not let a man do the job she is able to do, is aspiring to be a lawyer, however her student debt has caught up to her and going home for Christmas relieved that stress. Cheryl (Elise) on the other hand is a successful dentist with her own clinic, but has a man who has a wandering eye.
Director David E. Talbert told the story of Walter and his wife in the opening of the film wonderfully, showing a touch of how the children grew up as the years went by. Her passing and spending Christmas without her became the centric theme for the film. Knowing the disfunction between his four kids, Walter was hoping to have them be civil and more like a family for the five days they were visiting the home. Being the first Christmas without his wife’s recipes which she had hidden carefully from the family, Walter strived to make the sweet potato pie the same way she would make it, failing over and over again.
The film is funny and heartwarming, a great Christmas movie to see with your family. It explores similar situations in most films, but also touches on the importance of communication and loss. The film is in theatres now and throughout Christmas.
Universal Pictures Canada releases Almost Christmas on Friday, Nov 11, 2016
[Review by Reem Chahrour]