In this remake of the holiday classic, Dorey Walker and young daughter Susan befriend a department store Santa Claus who claims he is the real deal.
Director: Les Mayfield
Starring: Richard Attenborough, Les Mayfield, Dylan McDermott, Elizabeth Perkins, James Remar, J.T. Walsh, Robert Prosky, Mara Wilson, William Windom, Simon Jones, Jane Leeves
Information Page: https://uk.newonnetflix.info/info/60002444
“Miracle on 34th Street” is a remake of the classic movie of the same name from 1947 and one which has become a bit of a classic itself. An elderly, bearded old man (Richard Attenborough) is seen walking through New York and gets asked by a young child if he’s Santa to which he replies “I am!”. Later on during the Cole’s Department Store Thanksgiving Parade the same old man is arguing with a drunk Santa and he ends up taking over his job in the parade. The department store, now missing a Santa, needs to find a replacement and they hire the elderly man and learn that his name is Kris Kringle. Soon after, we are introduced to Susan (Mara Wilson) a 6 year old girl who doesn’t believe in Santa and you can probably guess where the film will be heading…
For a film that is over two decades old, “Miracle on 34th Street” actually doesn’t look or feel that dated. I guess because it is a classic story that doesn’t rely on being set in any particular date in time, other than at Christmas of course! Attenborough plays a likeable Santa/Kringle and Wilson, who you may recognise from “Matilda”, pulls off the cheeky, young girl quite well.
As the story moves on Kringle tries to coax out of Susan why she doesn’t believe in Santa and asks if she would believe if she got her Christmas wish. The fact that her wish is a dad, a house and a baby brother doesn’t seem to faze him.
As Kringle brings the department store huge fortunes for his highly realistic Santa work a rival store sets him up and he ends up being arrested and being put into an insane asylum. Along comes a young lawyer who believes Kringle really is Santa and he sets about setting him freed from the asylum. The film then moves to a ‘courtroom drama’ feel where Santa is, essentially, on trial. It’s an odd move seems to shift the style of the film dramatically but it is still enjoyable.
“Miracle on 34th Street” is a nice family film and one I would recommend you watch while the kids are still off school. It can be a bit predictable at times and may lead to some awkward questions about Santa from younger children, but all in all it is a pleasant watch. The only question remaining is will Susan get her Christmas wish and will Santa be freed so he can deliver gifts around the world?
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