Release Date: November 11, 2016
Running Time: 1 hour and 52 minutes
Directed By: David E. Talbert
If I close my eyes, I can see Mom in here like it was yesterday.
Walter, the patriarch of the Meyers family, lost his wife 10 months before this Christmas. For the first time since he lost his beloved Grace, his family is gathering together five days before the holiday. Unfortunately, his family does not get along. His eldest daughter, Cheryl, is a mother of two and is married to a former basketball player who has a roving eye. His eldest son, Christian, is a straight laced politician whose campaign threatens the dearest institution that holds many fond memories for his father. His youngest daughter, Rachel, is a single parent who is overly independent and struggling to pay for law school. His youngest son, Evan, is a professional football player who is recovering from a shoulder injury. Walter’s sister-in-law, May, is the first to arrive and she heads straight to the liquor cabinet. As the rest of the family arrives, tension mounts especially since Cheryl and Rachel have had a life long rivalry. Christian tries to balance his family with his career while Evan discovers that his father is planning to sell the family home. While Walter plays referee to his battling brood, he also desperately attempts to make the sweet potato pie that Grace made for him all throughout their marriage. It will truly be a Christmas miracle if Walter can get everyone to act like a family while everyone feels the loss of Grace in their own way.
All I’m asking is for five days for you all to act like a family.
Written and directed by David E. Talbert, Almost Christmas is an endearing story about a patriarch of a family who has lost the love of his life and has to experience his first family holiday without her. The LA Times has heralded Talbert for his heartfelt depictions of life and love mixed with humor amongst chaos. Talbert lives up to his legacy with this screenplay and his direction of an ensemble cast. Even though the extremely well-known and seasoned actor, Danny Glover, should be the center of attention, Mo’Nique, J.B. Smoove, and Gabrielle Union steal every scene that they are in. Mo’Nique and J.B. Smoove provide the humor amongst chaos while Union brilliantly shines with every line that she utters.
However, it was a nice nostalgic holiday treat to see Danny Glover speak his famous line, “I’m to old for this s#!t”. While the story lacks character development, the skills of the cast make up for it by delivering honest and sincere performances. The soundtrack also helped keep me engaged and chair dancing in my seat during the 112 minute running time. One of the best scenes is where Mo’Nique leads the family in a dance to “Let It Whip”. Feel the spirit, feel the fire, feel the sass, feel the cheer, feel the naughty, feel the funny but most of all feel the love by seeing Almost Christmas during this pre-holiday season! ~Movie Buffette