Hello everyone and welcome to another #moviemonday. I hope you all enjoyed Christmas Day.
I know that Christmas is behind us now, but it is still the month of December and so I want to talk about one more Christmas classic. Today I am talking about The Santa Clause so let’s dive into #moviemonday.
Before I dive in, I also want to say that last week I went to see Spider-Man: No Way Home and I really enjoyed the movie. I want to talk about it here on Katelovesliterature.com but I want to let some more time pass so I can discuss the movie’s themes without giving away any spoilers. There is one scene in particular that I felt was extremely poignant, but I can’t discuss it without revealing certain things so I am going to wait a while longer before discussing this movie.
The Santa Clause was released in 1994, and the movie was directed by John Pasquin.
The movie follows salesman Scott Calvin and his young son Charlie after they discover Santa Clause on their roof. Startled, Santa falls to the ground which means that Scott and Charlie must deliver all of the presents. The pair find themselves back at the North Pole, where Scott learns about “the Santa clause” which states that if you put on the suit, you become Santa Clause. At first Scott tries to deny what is happening, but as his belly grows, and his hair turns white, and his beard grows no matter how much he shaves, he must face the fact that he is now Santa Clause, the real Santa, and he must convince his loved ones of this fact too.
Scott Calvin is the movie’s main protagonist, along with his son Charlie. Scott is a salesman who no longer believes in Santa but he wants Charlie to keep believing in the magic. At first he is dismayed by his situation, he does not want to be Santa and he tries to run from it, but over time, he comes to learn that in fact, he might just be the perfect man for the job.
Charlie is Scott’s young son and he is upset after another kid in school tells him that Santa is not real. He believes in the magic of Santa and he is completely in awe of the North Pole. Charlie is a really good kid and he deals with a lot in this movie. I will discuss this further in the themes section but when I was younger, I did not fully understand the heavier topics that this movie touched upon.
Bernard is the no nonsense head elf, and he informs Scott all about his new role as Santa because putting on the suit means that Scott has accepted all of Santa’s responsibilities. He may seem like a stickler for rules but he’s got a good heart and he helps Charlie understand that while his father may be living at the North Pole, he will always be there for him.
This movie does not necessarily have antagonists, although I would argue that for the majority of the movie, Laura and Neil come across as very unlikable. Laura is Charlie’s mother and Neil is his stepfather. Neil is a psychiatrist, and he and Laura stopped believing in Santa at a very young age and so they think it is time that Charlie learns he is not real.
Laura and Neil believe that Scott is deliberately toying with them during his journey to becoming Santa (the hair, the beard, the weight gain), they worry about the impact this will have on Charlie as he and other children believe Scott is the real Santa, so they have his visitation suspended.
I will talk about this more in themes, but after rewatching this movie as an adult, I can appreciate their arc more which is why I have decided that while they are not always likeable, they are not antagonists.
The core theme of this movie is the belief in Santa, which translates further into the idea of believing in magic in general. The other major theme of this movie is family, and family dynamics. As I said above, when I was younger, some of the heavier topics in this movie such as things like visitation, went completely over my head.
I think that it is easy to dislike Laura and Neil, but in reality it was an unbelievable situation. Suddenly her ex-husband has gained loads of weight, his hair has turned completely white, he has a long beard, and her son is adamant that his father is Santa and he is going to live in the North Pole, and he becomes very upset when others tell him this is not true. Laura and Neil are not perfect, but they were trying to do what they thought was best for Charlie, and while I won’t give any more details away, a scene that I really appreciate is a scene where Neil apologizes to Charlie. This is a really important moment, and it is one that I think we should see more of. Adults need to understand that they are not above apologizing to children. An adult should be able to admit when they are wrong, and if they owe a child an apology then they absolutely should say sorry. I don’t like the idea that children should not be given the apology they deserve because it somehow makes the adult weaker, it does nothing but make the adult stronger as it demonstrates compassion, and it shows children that you are willing to lead by example. So I won’t give away what leads up to this moment because no spoilers here, but Neil saying sorry to Charlie is a key scene in my opinion.
The only thing that I cannot justify is Laura and Neil’s belief that Charlie should find out Santa isn’t real, simply because they found out early. I don’t believe they specifically state his age, but the actor was eight when he played the role so I am going to place Charlie at around eight years old, which is far too young to ruin the magic of Santa.
Childhood is such a short time. There are so many things we can never get back. The true wonder and magic of Christmas when you believe in Santa only lasts a few years because when you are a toddler, you don’t fully understand and then from around ten upwards, you start to question it. My Mam said she thinks you only have from about four to nine when your kids really, truly believe, and she says she misses that wonder so much.
I have spoken a lot about the importance of wonder and the absurd, and I think this movie highlights how important that belief in magic is. It is special. It is something that you can’t get back. Laura and Neil were hurt which is what lead to their disbelief, and they don’t think about how important Santa is to Charlie, and how he is not hurting anyone or doing anything wrong by believing for a few more years. They are too ruled by logic, and the movie demonstrates that you have to let kids be kids because when they finally experience true wonder again (again, no spoilers, go watch the movie), they understand how wrong it would have been to take that away from Charlie too early.
The movie also covers some heavier topics such as trying to get along with new partners (Scott and Neil), things such as visitation, and of course, Charlie saying goodbye to his father because he will now be living at the North Pole and he will be at home.
It is a Christmas movie. It is fun, it is cheesy, it is magical, but there are some heavier topics that ground the movie and pull on the heartstrings.
The movie is an hour and a half long, and it operates within a full-circle structure in my opinion. It starts and ends at Christmas with Scott and Charlie delivering presents, so the movie begins and ends the same way, but all of the characters have evolved massively from beginning to end.
I think that you can also see some aspects of the reluctant mentor trope in Scott’s character. I will explain this trope in more detail on an upcoming Theory Thursday, but he goes through a journey of believing it was all a dream, not wanting to become Santa, and then stepping up, and understanding that he is right for this job, he believes again, and he does all of this while also contending with custody battles. Scott Calvin is a great character and I don’t think anyone could have played him like Tim Allen.
The Santa Clause is a Christmas classic. It’s so much fun, it’s magical. It’s a great story in my opinion, it is a really interesting plot that is filled with heart, and it has some heavier moments that ground the movie. It has moments that you appreciate more as an adult I think, and overall I love the appreciation for, and the highlighting of the importance of magic and wonder. They are not silly, they are not useless, wonder, and magic have their place, and we must not lose that sense of wonder entirely.
This has been Movie Monday. I hope you enjoyed it.