Christmas movies are total bummers. It’s a counterintuitive claim—after all, these movies ostensibly reinforce the holiday spirit—but the truth is many of our most cherished Christmas films actively resist yuletide cheer. In their thoughtful video essay for Criterion, Michael Koresky and Casey Moore ponder why this is the case, and their answers are well worth your time.
The duo reference a huge swath of films, but focus on three in particular—Mon Oncle Antoine, My Night at Maud’s, and A Christmas Tale. Their analysis is deft and thought-provoking, and a timely reminder that “holiday spirit” may be defined more by melancholy than by merriment.