User Reviews (11)

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  • What a lovely, heartfelt film. The reason it works so well is because, as always, not forcing any emotion is the way to go. It's devoid of any silly contrivances and everything because of that feels and sounds realistic. The lead actor is pretty great. I reckon this must have been a difficult role to cast because it's so reliant on silence, and the actor is able to infuse the film with charm and emotion without ever feeling like he is trying. It's probably one of the best Christmas films I have ever seen, and definitely deserves to be seen by a much larger audience. Definitely recommended for anyone who wants something real and very relevant.
  • skoepfer23 November 2015
    Rarely a film come along that captures the grit and nuance of a city's unique personality. "Christmas, Again" presents a touching drama that extends beyond the mainstream glitz and holiday glamor most associate with New York City during the most busy and commercial of holidays. Like its spiritual predecessors "Chop Shop" & "Man, Push, Cart," "Christmas, Again" peeks into one of New York's largely unknown indigenous communities in a near documentary fashion to tell an intimate story of love that viewers will embrace; regardless of their city or origin. There are plenty of films which cheaply capitalize on the Big Apple's Christmas draw; the same draw that brings tourists to the city by the thousands. But, few tourists venture away from Times Square or Rockefeller Center to truly get to know the depth of New York City. Similarly, I encourage viewers to venture into "Christmas, Again" and enjoy an intimate view of Christmas in New York not often seen.
  • pblayman9 December 2016
    The reviews I've read reminded me of a couple of things. While working at a national retail chain I would read books on my breaks in the break room. I was reading a biography and when I told a fellow worker what I was reading she said, "You read non fiction, isn't it boring". Well, it is not. This film is very much like a documentary but it is not and that seems to me that why it is so brilliant. John Lennon once was asked what he thought of people who wrote bad reviews of Beatles music. As I recall, his answer was something like, "I'm just bloody well sorry they don't get it". Watch it and you be the judge...I really hope you "get it". It is a brilliant film and I'll certainly recommend it to people who grow tired of "cookie cutter" Christmas movies.
  • The title says so much about the content and message in this film! "Christmas, again!", don't we all feel this way? Christmas again and again and again with it's perpetual message of peace & joy that we all know doesn't exist. It's a time of year our culture celebrates and 99% of us feel it is something we must do because it is expected of us.

    Director/writer Charles Poekel brings to the screen the story of 'Noel' once again selling Christmas trees, wreaths, lights on a corner in NYC, something he has been doing for years. We see his perfunctory interaction with the customers and his co-worker. He is so bored and frustrated he keeps his pills (pain killers maybe) in an advent calender! Then an incident and act of compassion by Noel brings Lydia into his life. Noel may be bored and frustrated with his life but he is an honest and truly nice person. Lydia is a mysterious character as she is obviously at a period in her life in which focus and direction have been lost. She leaves but returns to thank Noel for his kindness. This turns out to be both good and bad for Noel. He is attracted to her and she is attracted to him but there are reasons for her to keep her distance.

    Noel is a withdrawn and quiet character and he wants more in his life but it's not happening. There is a scene in which he sees what he feels is the ideal Christmas family, and he becomes very upset with himself and his life. Even his brief and intermittent encounters with Lydia feeds his frustration. In the end nothing happens, he sells all his Christmas trees except for one, which is left standing alone. Just like Noel.

    "Christmas, again" is, in my opinion, a story of the false promise of the holiday season and how it is a constant source of frustration to many. No matter how much we try, the Love, Peace, and Joy that so much saturates the Christmas message, is in reality hollow and false as we all stand alone in this world.
  • Just saying the title of Charles Poekel's directorial debut sparks a sadness inside a person, one that they've never experienced perhaps. Imagine getting to the point in life where you look upon a calendar, and due to poor circumstance, a failed relationship, a family death, or some other unforeseen situation, your mood for the holiday season is dour and sad and all you can do is simply sigh and say, yes, "Christmas, again."

    Such is life for our lead character Noel, played by independent writer/director/actor Kentucker Audley, who has also worked with Joe Swanberg in the past, a Christmas tree salesman who is currently spending the holidays working through fond memories of a woman with whom he has just broken up. Now, Christmas is just an irritating force begging him to be happy and cheerful when he feels anything but. Through all this pain, Noel finds some sort of evident solace and comfort in schlepping Christmas trees to set up, deliver, cut down, or decorate, to the point where he seems to try and find every little thing wrong with his employees' actions because he would like to do what they're doing again.

    Noel fights through the hurt, and is elevated by the people that come to his Christmas tree farm, the kind of quirky people that are just quirky enough to be believable, doing things like talking to their significant others on the phone whilst purchasing a tree, demanding that the salesman pose next to the tree for a picture to try and give an estimate on the height, and so forth. One day, Noel winds up finding Lydia (Hannah Gross) asleep on a park bench, missing her purse, a shoe, and clearly worn from a night of drunken escapades. She works to add some sporadic spice into his life upon leaving him rather abruptly the night after he finds her sleeping on a park bench. In the meantime, Noel slaves away at his job, working the tireless night shifts, guided and uplifted by the optimism brought upon him by lottery tickets and energy shots in order to maintain some semblance of sanity.

    Noel is a fascinating character just by the way Poekel chooses to define and show him. In a screen writing sense, Poekel doesn't set up these compromising or very revealing scenarios that allow us to see Noel in a way that over-personalizes him or makes his motivations and emotions all too clear to us. Instead, Poekel prefers to have Christmas, Again function as a very meditative film, focused on intimate closeups of Noel's bearded face, wide eyes, and constantly overworked face. These traits alone personalize him more than most screen writing tactics could, and Poekel keeps Christmas, Again very observant in this manner. In seventy-seven minutes, rarely does a frame exist that Noel isn't in, so the result is a film that's focused on this sole subject to the point where his world becomes fairly clear, or at least extractable, without the need of overly obvious storytelling.

    But, let's not forget, Noel wouldn't be the character he is without Kentucker Audley, an uncommonly natural performer with a gift at understated acting. Audley is a gifted performer thanks to his ability to take any character and, regardless of he or someone else is the writer, work with such a character to at least give him some kind of thesis or idea for with the audience can concern themselves. As stated, Audley's face says more than any writing Poekel could do, and his naturalism recalls the early days of mumblecore, where lowlit settings, naturalistic acting, and low budgets were as normal as believably eccentric, last-minute visitors to a Christmas tree farm.

    Admittedly slight but a quietly observant look at functional loneliness and how sadness doesn't have to be a thoroughly exhausted theme in a film by way of orchestration and mawkish circumstance, Poekel's Christmas, Again hits all the right notes for a delightful anti-Christmas film. In a more cynical, but broader, dissection of the film, I find that the film looks at the lie of the season of Christmas; is it really the happiest time of the year, or a season that forces those lonely, unsatisfied, or hurting to look at themselves and only feel more of an outsider or a downer in the world. Personal empathy and just an understanding of human condition allows me to laud the film more on that level than any other one I can conceive, and that's a real accomplishment for a holiday film in and of itself.

    Starring: Kentucker Audley and Hannah Gross. Directed by: Charles Poekel.
  • Where do I begin?! This movie transformed my life. It really did. I'm not one for much dialogue so this movie had an AMAZINGLY impressive amount of silence! Why can't all movies be like this? It's been 5 years since I last watched it but it comes to mind quite frequently and brings me peace when I do yoga.
  • While there is value in creating cinema that captures the everyday human experience, Christmas, Again overshoots that mark by being so real that it's boring. I'm not saying that every film needs to fill their spare moments with car chases, drug use, and automatic weapons, but at the very least, films should tell stories about interesting characters. It's too bad, considering the idea of a disaffected Christmas tree salesman named Noel (Kentucker Audley) who slowly recovers his holiday spirit could make a great story. I suppose what makes this film aggravating to watch is the fact that there were so many opportunities to expand the narrative beyond the many extensive close-ups of Noel looking angsty or wistful. For example, the unconscious mystery woman (Hannah Gross) whom Noel rescues from freezing to death on a park bench would have been a good avenue to explore. Instead, the film shows us a series of fractured scenes that hint at the vague possibility of a love story between them. It's possible that the film is ambiguous in order to encourage the audience to form their own conclusions, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but that sort of thing requires effort from an audience—and we don't like spending effort figuring out characters that we don't really care about. –Alex Springer
  • I get the documentary-style indie concept. Focus a camera on scenarios that are so real that they border on reality t.v., but with actors playing roles. But if nothing is happening, the sociological slide show gets old quickly.

    I love the idea of a day in the life of a Christmas tree salesman facing some kind of personal conflict. But there just wasn't enough happening here, nor much background information on the characters.

    Indies seem fond of nicely framed shots of depressed people staring at a view or pondering something. They also seem fond of portraying life as depressing and pointless. It's almost as if that's an official point of view of the indie filmmaker community. Or maybe it's because they are of a certain generation and genuinely feel that way.

    Having said that, depression does often go hand in hand with personal conflicts in a film, so I'll allow it.

    The two main actors did a nice job of portraying real people with understated sadness and anomie. Unfortunately, like other reviewers have noted, the makers failed to develop potential plot lines to their potential. I kept checking the clock on netflix to see how much more time was left. That's not a good sign.

    There is only one song, and that's at the end. So they didn't try to manipulate us with music. I suppose that is partly responsible for the documentary vibe.

    Nice try. It has redeeming qualities,and something mildly interesting to say about the frailty of the human condition. But I was bored.
  • joythirstpop18 July 2018
    This deserves to get much more attention than it has gotten. Well worth the watch (and I can't say that of many modern movies)
  • shoppe-9709625 December 2015
    Although I typically like movies that have a deeper meaning, this movie tries to be extremely artsy and show raw human emotion. If you are coming in thinking this will be an enjoyable holiday film, you will be disappointed to find out that there is absolutely zero plot in this entire movie. The acting is fine, but there is nothing going on for the entire movie. Even the potential romance plot line in the movie is completely destroyed, because the woman is completely unlikeable. Although many have found this movie enjoyable, I found myself bored and kept expecting for some storyline to eventually emerge. I was hoping to give this movie higher than a 1, but I could not bring myself to do it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This movie may have high aspirations of showing real insight into the sadness of the Christmas season, but in reality it is so boring that you may miss the point or even give up after you realize that nothing is going to change in the drab, action-less examination of the moment by moment life of an itinerant Christmas tree salesman in the big city. It may be that the constant focus on Noel's time sitting in his trailer doing basically nothing is supposed to show us something about the difficult time many have at Christmas, but it is also boring and hard to watch all the way through. And the story had a chance to do so much more. For starters, there is a very brief hint of a tragedy in Noel's past, but no explanation of it. We know there was a girlfriend last year, so what happened? Don't tease us and then drop it. Much of the screen time spent staring at Noel just sitting could have been spent expanding on this past. Likewise, we know nothing about Lydia. It may be a honest portrayal of how so many people just miss clicking with each other during the holidays when there is so much opportunity, but it is boring to watch and disappointing and depressing. The scene where she falls asleep on his shoulder is sweet, but is that all we get? We deserve more of a story. I know that lack of dialogue was the artsy choice of the writer and/or director, but we also deserved more dialogue. Once again the result was boring - agonizingly so. The soundtrack is horrible. My system is decent enough and I doubt that the poor quality was the fault of one of the world's top movie streaming services. The poor quality combined with the type of music made the result seem like fingernails on a chalkboard. For a minute I thought I was listening to a poor rendition of the Doctor Who theme. Obviously some people loved this movie because it is artsy, but if you are looking for any amount of entertainment at all, this movie is not for you.