Directed by Charles Poekel
Christmas, Again tells the story of Noel, a young man who travels from upstate NY every year to sell Christmas trees in New York City. Returning without the help of his long-time girlfriend, this year Noel finds it impossible to do the one thing he knows so well---sell Christmas trees. As Noel begins to spiral downwards, alienating co-workers and customers in the process, it turns out this same community of people may be the only ones capable of saving Noel from self-destruction.
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★★★★ review by drmorbius79 on Letterboxd
Wonderful throwback of a film that perfectly captures the melancholy and depression many of us feel around the holidays. I stumbled onto it a few years ago and it has really stuck with me.
The story is pretty simple but poignant as a Christmas tree salesman (played by Charlie Day lookalike Kentucker Audley) returns to his usual spot in NYC except this time without his longtime girlfriend.
Eventually he has a run-in with a troubled woman (Hannah Gross from Netflix's Mindhunter) and there is a spark of a relationship.
I love the interactions with all of the strange customers which seem all too true to real life.
The ending is heartbreaking but there is a small glimmer of hope as well if that makes any sense.
High recommend for those looking for a lowkey Christmas movie that is schmaltzy but in a subtle way.
★★★½ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
A.V. Club review. Still haven't seen any of Kentucker Audley's films as writer-director, but if his performance here is typical, he's a hell of an actor. (Just realized you can't use "helluva" in front of a noun beginning with a vowel.)
★★★★½ review by Lucinda on Letterboxd
Christmas, Again. Even the title makes me feel sad. But there's more emotional truth in this film than a hundred other feel-good Christmas movies. The ultra-specificity of the setting and characters here (writer-director Charles Poekel worked as a Christmas-tree seller himself for several years and based this screenplay on his own experiences) bring the story to life in a way that’s completely captivating. Kentucker Audley's understated performance feels heartbreakingly real, and everything's lit by blinking jewel-coloured fairy lights. I cried (and now I'm crying again). Could be my new favourite melancholy Christmas movie.
(Worth noting that the film's description on Letterboxd makes the plot sound much more dramatic than it actually is. This is really a classic mumblecore non-story story, but the best kind.)
★★★★ review by JasiParkko on Letterboxd
L: Listen… It’s Noel, right?
L: Who sells Christmas trees?
This film deserves a Criterion Release.
★★★★ review by preston on Letterboxd
I'm starting a Kickstarter campaign to go through Luke Wilson's entire filmography and digitally replace Luke Wilson with Kentucker Audley in this movie; same hangdog face, so much more soulful. The film itself is determinedly small-scale but compelling, with the emphasis on heartbreak, a crisp wintry New York, an Olmi-like eye for everyday detail and a gallery of sharp urban types offering counterpoint (I like the woman who wants "the Obama tree", esp. since she's still quite excited after being told that her tree doesn't come from Ohio, like the Obama family's: "Oh ... A local tree"). Last 10 minutes seems to flounder slightly but I guess that's the problem with a Christmas setting, it helps with the theatrical release but you really have to twist and turn to avoid ending sappy.
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