Netflix’s Christmas With You is the flip side to the streamer’s Falling For Christmas. It’s more serious, identity-based and it deals with the heavy subject matter of grief — and how to navigate loss during an outwardly joyous time. But, as per the norm, Christmas Without You is anything but truly dramatic, instead it’s a lighthearted look at all of those things that manages to showcase an unequivocally latine family, while also making us swoon for Freddie Prinze Jr.
Who else is feeling like a teenager once more? I feel like I’ve been here before.
The movie is also a beautiful showcase for Aimee Garcia that has seamlessly transitioned from a lovable sidekick to a leading lady, while still being very much herself. There’s something relatable about Angelina the pop star that can only be attributed to an actress that knows how to exude warmth and it makes her journey in this film not just easy to follow, but easy to root for, which is even more important.
That Garcia and Prinze Jr. work well together isn’t a surprise, but the fact that the movie risks being about something other than their easy connection feels like one. Sometimes you swing and miss, but in this case, the movie actually manages the tricky balance of saying something about grief while never becoming maudlin in a way that makes the movie unwatchable. For those of us who know the grief of losing a loved one, there’s a fine line between cathartic and painful, and Christmas Without You never goes too far as it tries to remind you to hang onto the good things.
But the movie isn’t just about grief, it’s about keeping the people you’ve loved and lost close to your heart, even as you go on and allow yourself to experience new things. One of the hardest things to process, from a grief perspective, is the idea that you can go on. That you should. That the person you love you much would have wanted to, precisely because love isn’t selfish. And in finding love again and family once more, Angelina and Miguel provide a little bit of hope and joy in a season that, for some, can be very hard indeed.
Plus, that green dress? Look, we want specific things about Christmas movies. And this movie checks the feelings boxes (both familial and romantic), and the Christmas vibes ones, but that dress? That dress is an asset. I’d watch the movie again just to be able to see Aimee Garcia in that outfit once again. She should wear it to bed every night, that’s how good it looked.
All jokes aside, Christmas With You isn’t actually your typical Netflix Christmas movie. No royalty, no over-the-top characters and no magical Santa figure who winks and makes things happen. But, perhaps because of it, Christmas With You is the realistic, emotional alternative for people who just want to feel like the holidays can still be a magical time, even in the very real world we live in. And yes, there is romance, snow, Christmas trees and family shenanigans (latine family shenanigans, which is its own brand of crazy), but the movie has two feet firmly planted on the ground at all times — even when the characters don’t know what they’re doing.
The only magic in Christmas With You is seeing a latine family, tamales and a quince (though who leaves the dress to the last minute, but is all up on the dances, that is the most unbelievable part of this, I swear) treated like normal things because that is what they are for so many of us. Perhaps not the normal magic we expect for the holidays, but if you ask me, very important magic nonetheless.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Christmas WithYou? Share with us in the comments below!
Christmas With You is now available to stream on Netflix.
You are correct about that dress! I’m searching for it just after watching the movie! She’s just stunning