I absolutely promise that I had planned to watch something sensible this week. At least, as sensible as a Christmas film is ever likely to get. Then I discovered that Netflix had released a film called I Believe in Santa about a grown man who still believes in Father Christmas. How could I not watch that? It sounded so stupid. Even more ridiculous than any of their previous festive offerings. Could this possibly be a new low for the streaming service or would it end up being the best thing they’d ever done? I suspected it would be the former but I had to find out for myself.
I guess I never expected this to be any good really but I was quite shocked with just how weird it was. This is a film that tries so hard to convince us that Christmas is a magical time. It pushes the idea of joy, warmth and heart while also being kind of creepy and strange. At least that’s how I saw it. After all, we’re dealing with a film that introduces us to a grown man who believes in Santa Claus despite there being any evidence. Oh, and to make it even more ridiculous, the guy is a lawyer. A man who believes in the power of evidence. Really, the only way this film could make less sense would have been if he’d been a scientist.
I suspect that whoever came up with this idea thought it would be a really cute idea one man teaching us about the magic of Christmas. Like in that scene in Elf when Zooey Deschanel gets everyone in New York to believe in Santa by singing. Of course, the big difference between Elf and I Believe in Santa is that Santa definitely exists in Elf. In Netflix’s latest film, there is a throwaway moment at the end that tries to convince us that the figure is real but, for the most part, we’re dealing with a realistic world. A fact that makes the film slightly disturbing.
It’s not heartwarming to watch a film about a grown man having more faith in the existence of a magical being than a literal child. Yep, there is nothing more disconcerting about a lawyer telling a child that Santa exists with absolute integrity. Then going into a long speech about faith. Oh, and then there’s the fantastically tone-deaf moment when believing in Santa is compared to being Muslim. I’d like to know just how many people read the script before it was approved.
Since watching the film, I’ve found out that the two leading actors are married in real life. Something that makes the whole thing even weirder because they have zero chemistry on screen. Not only do you have to accept that this man believes in Santa but you have to accept that these people want to be together. It’s just such an unintentionally strange film and I wish I’d never watched it.