RT's Top Seasonal Dramas -- Christmas Countdown, Day Two

by | December 19, 2006 | Comments

Welcome to Day Two of RT’s Five Days of Christmas Countdown, where we serve up a different list each day of the best holiday flicks around. Today, we’ve got some heavier seasonal fare — wartime dramas, family heartache, and a touch of yuletide murder.

**The holidays are here, and it’s time to break out the sleds, roast the chestnuts, and watch a movie or five about yuletide magic (or a decided lack thereof). And when in doubt regarding your best viewing for any occasion, as always, we’re here to help; the merry elves at Rotten Tomatoes have listed the Tomatometers, checked them twice, and will be presenting, during the Five Days of Christmas, the best-reviewed holiday films in the following categories: Classics, Comedies, Animated/Children’s, Dramas, and Thrillers. Pour yourself a cup of eggnog and get ready for some fine seasonal viewing!**

Top Five Holiday Dramas

It might be the season to be jolly, but even Santa himself would go a little nuts if he couldn’t mellow out and give all that eye-twinkling a rest once in awhile. Whether the holidays put you in a reflective mood, or you just can’t stomach another 90 minutes of old-fashioned Christmas cheer, here are the five freshest dramas of the season!

5) 8 Women (2002) 77%

If you aren’t well-versed in French comedy murder mysteries, you may be unfamiliar with director Francois Ozon‘s "8 Women" — think of it as sort of like "Clue," only with less Martin Mull and more females. (And musical numbers.) The plot is too intricate to get into here; suffice it to say a house full of women find their holiday preparations interrupted by an unexpected murder mystery, and much singing and dancing ensue. What would the holidays be without a little good-natured Sapphic love and tragicomic family intrigue?

Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert
Directed by: Francois Ozon

4) Joyeux Noël (2006) 78%

Based on the true stories of Christmas ceasefires on the front lines of World War I in 1914, "Joyeux Noël" isn’t what you’re looking for if you’re in the mood for a madcap holiday comedy, but for an extraordinary example of what the season can mean to people from all walks of life — even those on opposite sides of a battlefield — you could hardly make a better choice. With a pan-European cast led by Daniel Bruhl and Diane Kruger, "Joyeux Noel" was also last year’s French-language nominee for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.

Starring: Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl
Directed by: Christian Carion

3) A Midnight Clear (1992) 83%



It’s easily one of the lesser-known films on our list, but no less worth seeking out — just take a look at the cast, which includes Ethan Hawke, John C. McGinley, Peter Berg, and Gary "Lieutenant Dan" Sinise. The plot, which centers around an American platoon in the waning days of World War II, has no shortage of cockles-warming holiday spirit, and Keith Gordon‘s Independent Spirit Awards-nominated screenplay may actually be one of the better ones on this list. Want to add something new to your holiday viewing rotation? Start with "A Midnight Clear."

Starring: Gary Sinise, Ethan Hawke
Directed by: Keith Gordon

2) Little Women (1994) 89%



By our count, director Gillian Armstrong‘s 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott‘s novel marked the story’s 18th trip to the screen, which makes its critical success an incredible exception to the cinematic law of diminishing returns. Of course, having a cast which includes Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Gabriel Byrne, Christian Bale, and Eric Stoltz doesn’t hurt. It goes without saying that the estrogen-impaired among us may be tempted to sneak off and watch a game while it’s on — if only to keep from sniffling at the injustice of scarlet fever.

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder
Directed by: Gillian Armstrong

1) Heidi (1937) 100%

Like many 19th-century stories about children, "Heidi" has its share of mysterious illnesses and ridiculous plot twists, but for cute-as-a-button holiday cheer, you simply cannot beat Shirley Temple as the Alps’ most famous cinematic resident. Brew up some Swiss Miss, pop a few Ricola, and relax in front of the definitive film version of a timeless tale. (For bonus nostalgic kicks, start the movie in the final moments of a tight football game.)

Starring: Shirley Temple, Jean Hersholt
Directed by: Allan Dwan

Check back tomorrow for the Top 5 Christmas Thrillers!

Click here for Day One: Top 5 Yuletide Comedies

Tag Cloud

biography A24 New York Comic Con zombie crossover book WarnerMedia WGN sequel Spectrum Originals LGBTQ breaking bad hispanic period drama USA RT History Teen vampires Food Network latino Music space SundanceTV Country serial killer witnail Action Vudu miniseries Comics on TV binge canceled Apple TV Plus Epix Character Guide richard e. Grant psycho Rock GoT Women's History Month harry potter canceled TV shows Infographic Drama travel HBO Ovation Universal Shondaland Oscars toy story Writers Guild of America Warner Bros. NBC GIFs CW Seed dramedy Tumblr DC Universe ghosts Freeform cancelled Lucasfilm justice league Rocky Shudder stand-up comedy Syfy what to watch TV renewals Lifetime 007 crime drama HBO Max police drama ITV diversity composers Pixar boxoffice Box Office Reality Marvel Television Turner The Purge Adult Swim Cartoon Network SXSW comiccon 2015 foreign based on movie Ellie Kemper Calendar romance festivals Winners cinemax quibi cancelled TV series aliens Year in Review cats cancelled television indie Disney Channel natural history DirecTV finale comic Trailer PBS CMT Star Trek Martial Arts Toys kids Crunchyroll adventure Pirates 21st Century Fox Captain marvel Kids & Family Creative Arts Emmys Chernobyl werewolf batman adaptation TCA Watching Series PaleyFest politics award winner Amazon Prime Video medical drama movies Opinion Film game of thrones Emmys cooking 24 frames talk show TLC renewed TV shows spain Apple Brie Larson halloween psychological thriller Emmy Nominations FXX Spring TV The CW tv talk Sci-Fi Tomatazos DC streaming service sports singing competition Fall TV Fantasy spinoff Turner Classic Movies BBC Arrowverse ratings Spike Valentine's Day Christmas FX ABC USA Network cars Starz Schedule Paramount Network Marvel Studios Extras The Walking Dead Musicals TV Land 2016 Countdown Reality Competition First Look Ghostbusters supernatural Acorn TV dceu Masterpiece TNT YouTube crime Fox News Superheroes MSNBC crime thriller BBC America Musical discovery Television Academy Sundance Now RT21 TIFF free movies Song of Ice and Fire Winter TV CBS All Access television APB social media AMC Video Games Showtime true crime cults IFC Films 71st Emmy Awards Black Mirror OWN DC Comics unscripted transformers American Society of Cinematographers Horror Biopics dc zombies Sundance Disney streaming service X-Men CBS Rom-Com El Rey Amazon Prime strong female leads Apple TV+ slashers LGBT Lionsgate Paramount game show science fiction Disney Plus Logo Amazon spanish language Mary poppins San Diego Comic-Con dragons Pet Sematary E! Mary Poppins Returns Certified Fresh Summer spy thriller zero dark thirty romantic comedy Super Bowl YouTube Premium Nominations doctor who DGA Pride Month anime Comedy Central south america golden globes Comedy VH1 E3 thriller robots TV Stephen King A&E Heroines Elton John FOX Tarantino Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Photos Binge Guide NYCC mockumentary Mystery Cannes First Reviews disaster revenge facebook Esquire Quiz SDCC Crackle Awards Tour TBS TruTV Nat Geo Family theme song Election series Polls and Games anthology VICE IFC Peacock 2019 Disney green book Holidays Superheroe elevated horror Hulu Thanksgiving Mindy Kaling Grammys Trophy Talk versus Marathons Set visit YouTube Red ESPN MTV TCA 2017 Britbox mutant The Arrangement joker Columbia Pictures See It Skip It streaming blaxploitation GLAAD Anna Paquin Pop Red Carpet Nickelodeon Film Festival cancelled TV shows Netflix History Comic Book ABC Family National Geographic Star Wars Awards Western hist historical drama MCU President YA docudrama Sony Pictures 45 Animation cops 2017 CNN Best and Worst Trivia Walt Disney Pictures Classic Film Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Bravo children's TV Interview sitcom casting teaser Cosplay video Mudbound Rocketman independent Premiere Dates Sneak Peek TCM nature war Podcast animated Marvel technology The Witch jamie lee curtis BET Dark Horse Comics 2018 spider-man 20th Century Fox political drama Mary Tyler Moore