Movie Details
Recommendation

The Christmas Wife (1988)

 
 

Lonely This Christmas

Jason Robards in The Christmas Wife (1988)

It's been 10 months since his wife died and retired architect John Tanner (Jason Robards) is expecting his son and daughter-in-law along with their kids to meet up at his cabin in the woods like they have always done. But John is left disappointed and feeling alone when his son suggests that this year John should go to their home in California which is why after seeing an advert for social arrangement he pays a social arranger to find him a woman to spend a purely social Christmas weekend with him. The woman in question is Iris (Julie Harris) a quiet, nervous woman who would rather not answer too many questions about her life. When they reach the cabin which John designed and built for his wife Iris' quietness and reluctance to talk about herself intrigue's John whilst John's clinching on to tradition makes Iris realise just how much he was in love with and misses his wife. But as they talk they soon start to get on.

"The Christmas Wife" is most definitely not your typical sort of Christmas movie, there is no sugar coating, no great comedy or over the top romance and there are no overly dressed Christmassy sets. But whilst "The Christmas Wife" is not going to be everyone's idea of a Christmas movie it has a very important story to tell, that of what Christmas is like for those getting on in years who have to face up to Christmas without a loved one. For some that will mean clinging on to the past, trying to keep traditions going whilst for others it is trying to battle the sense that life is over. But we also see how moments of closeness can lead to a sense of betrayal and it does a really nice and sensitive job of exploring this situation.

Julie Harris in The Christmas Wife (1988)

But then on top of this we have the mystery surrounding Iris and her reluctance to divulge too much about herself. To be honest you can pretty much predict what her secret is but it gives "The Christmas Wife" an extra angle and one which it definitely needs.

The key though to "The Christmas Wife" is simply down to the performances of Jason Robards and Julie Harris who fill the screen with charm and character. By the time the movie is over you feel like you have really got to know them both and to be honest have grown quite fond of them.

What this all boils down to is that "The Christmas Wife" is a different sort of Christmas movie and a surprisingly engaging one at that. Because it isn't a typical Christmas movie I have to say that it is a movie which I am sure you only begin to appreciate when the procession of typical Christmas movies no longer excites like it once did.

Tags: TV Christmas Movies, Christmas Movies

close

Movie Recommendations

One Special Night

One Special Night (1999)

Having gone to visit his ailing wife at the hospice on Thanksgiving Robert ...

Christmas Snow

Christmas Snow (1986)

The widow Mutterance (Katherine Helmond) runs the family Candy shop, which ...

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve (1986)

Having grown old and wealthy with a thriving business empire thanks to her ...

Home for Christmas

Home for Christmas (1990)

When friendly tramp Elmer (Mickey Rooney - Breakfast at Tiffany's) meets yo ...

Christmas on Division Street

Christmas on Division Street (1991)

Unimpressed by having to move home Trevor Atwood (Fred Savage - Vice Versa) ...

Mr. Krueger

Mr. Krueger's Christmas (1980)

Now the story is simple as we follow Willy Krueger (James Stewart - The Sho ...

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story

The Homecoming: A Christmas Story (1971)

It's Christmas Eve and the Walton family are looking forward to the return ...

Holiday Affair

Holiday Affair (1949)

Comparison shopper Connie Ennis (Janet Leigh - Master of Lassie) accidental ...

A Hobo

A Hobo's Christmas (1987)

It's been 25 years since Chance (Barnard Hughes - The Lost Boys) walked out ...

A Mom for Christmas

A Mom for Christmas (1990)

Little Jessica Slocum (Juliet Sorci) misses her mum, especially at Christma ...

It

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

George Bailey (James Stewart - Pot o' Gold) is a man who gave up on his dre ...

The Bishop

The Bishop's Wife (1947)

With the building of a new cathedral demanding more and more of his time Bi ...

A Dream for Christmas

A Dream for Christmas (1973)

It will soon be Christmas and the Rev. Will Douglas (Hari Rhodes) along wit ...

A Smoky Mountain Christmas

A Smoky Mountain Christmas (1986)

Having grown tired of having her career as a singer and movie star messed a ...

The Christmas Gift

The Christmas Gift (1986)

Since his wife passed away big city architect George Billings (John Denver) ...

Follow The Movie Scene

Follow The Movie Scene on Twitter Like The Movie Scene on facebook Join The Movie Scene on Gplus Subscribe to The Movie Scene's RSS