It seems most people in major North American cities can access Kanopy through their public library, evident from user comments made at the Kanopy website. And I imagine similar services around the world should make this film accessible to many beyond the continent.

Kanopy runs a fair amount of Indy, educational, and sleeper films, and not being in the mood for the usual Hallmark syrup, this Xmas film caught my eye.

At first go, I wasn’t blown away by Christmas, Again and clicked it off after a few minutes. Some of the performances seemed a touch rough and overacted. But today I gave it another shot and after settling into the minimalistic vibe, began enjoying it.

From Kanopy:

For a fifth consecutive December, a heartbroken Noel returns to New York City to work the night shift at a sidewalk Christmas tree lot. Devoid of any holiday spirit, he struggles to stay awake during the long, chilly nights in his trailer, while the daytime traffic keeps him from getting any real rest. As he slowly spirals into despair, he comes to the aid of a mysterious young woman in the park. Her warming presence, matched with some colorful customers, help rescue him from self-destruction.

Nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Nominated for Best of Next! at the Sundance Film Festival.

The ‘mysterious woman’ seemed somehow familiar to me. Later, after reading on the web I found that she is a portrayed by a Canadian actor, so maybe that resonated on some level.

On the whole, the cast is fine, except, as I mentioned, sometimes certain gestures are a trifle overdone. For instance, Noel’s eye movements seem a bit too exaggerated, especially in a close-up shot. I always prefer subtlety. But on a more positive note, this film handles intimacy in a beautiful way.

I’m so sick and tired of in-your-face sex scenes (can you say, Game of Thrones?). I mean really, are people’s lives so hollow that they cannot fill in the empty spaces with the imagination?

The preponderance of graphic sex in TV and movies these days arguably reflects just how sad society has become. I don’t see vulgar sexuality as culturally ‘liberating’ but just crass and lacking in sensitivity. And did you ever notice that without a care actors rarely if ever use a condom in those raw, spontaneous sex scenes?

It’s all fantasy for saps.

Other things I liked about this film probably relate to my working for the City of Toronto back in the day. I have ‘picked paper’ off the streets and had a grouchy boss breathing down my neck. I also met a lot of characters not too different from those portrayed in this film.

After all, Toronto is a mini NYC, they say. Quite a few US films are actually shot up here, supposedly set in NYC. The only difference is that movie producers must arrange to have garbage dumped on the streets to make TO look more like New York!

Bottom line?

This is a perfect pandemic Christmas film. If by chance you’re feeling a little blue or just plain bored, this low-key love story should help.