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

social media crossover Valentine's Day Turner Star Wars dceu elevated horror RT21 sequel comic Holidays FOX south america Polls and Games President facebook Disney Channel Country YA TCA Marathons Winners Anna Paquin romantic comedy ABC robots Marvel Studios LGBT binge Sneak Peek reboot Spectrum Originals Amazon Prime spain mockumentary Teen Grammys Year in Review Television Academy CBS Crunchyroll nature Shondaland Set visit Bravo HBO Max cancelled television TLC Podcast cops Tubi foreign YouTube Red Tumblr SXSW Mudbound Peacock cats Syfy science fiction Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Apple TV+ Chernobyl Netflix Christmas movies comiccon OneApp teaser Interview The Witch DC streaming service Pirates miniseries movies Turner Classic Movies IFC LGBTQ serial killer 2015 Walt Disney Pictures Creative Arts Emmys Holiday MTV RT History Pop Marvel justice league dramedy TruTV Esquire Mystery Sci-Fi Superheroe spanish language Heroines Ovation Marvel Television Tomatazos Musical Ghostbusters screenings CNN diversity independent TV renewals Tarantino Watching Series VH1 revenge SDCC Nat Geo transformers cartoon tv talk festivals FXX Trivia The Purge ESPN Awards Tour screen actors guild FX X-Men American Society of Cinematographers game show HBO Premiere Dates Captain marvel TNT latino Calendar Comedy Central Star Trek ghosts SundanceTV Crackle AMC Cartoon Network cooking psycho Character Guide Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pixar GoT Rocky Paramount political drama Masterpiece Warner Bros. Food Network Sundance TV Pride Month USA National Geographic richard e. Grant Sony Pictures zombies TCA 2017 award winner Film Festival Showtime TCM Mary poppins spinoff technology natural history Box Office Emmy Nominations Toys slashers Hallmark CW Seed DC Universe kids TIFF Nickelodeon 2017 ITV directors Trailer police drama werewolf cancelled unscripted doctor who Best and Worst spy thriller animated The Walking Dead video renewed TV shows aliens supernatural BET Brie Larson Summer period drama Film comics NBC Lucasfilm DC Comics hispanic Disney Plus Quiz 21st Century Fox First Look Fantasy crime Comic Book Reality Martial Arts true crime Ellie Kemper E3 casting blockbuster Musicals Countdown Stephen King biography Baby Yoda talk show 2019 Photos indie Dark Horse Comics A&E BBC America crime thriller Awards See It Skip It Lifetime Christmas movies Nominations Disney streaming service 24 frames Britbox Biopics Academy Awards green book Animation rotten movies we love Freeform Columbia Pictures Black Mirror PaleyFest Fox News Lionsgate Rocketman 20th Century Fox vampires YouTube Cosplay zero dark thirty adventure spider-man E! cancelled TV shows thriller Mindy Kaling space Acorn TV El Rey book Certified Fresh strong female leads DirecTV batman Thanksgiving medical drama Women's History Month Apple boxoffice The Arrangement TCA Winter 2020 stand-up comedy Music Writers Guild of America PBS Western Hulu toy story canceled cancelled TV series Disney war mutant Oscars children's TV jamie lee curtis breaking bad Amazon Prime Video series 45 Netflix CBS All Access Pet Sematary travel Election WarnerMedia Elton John Sundance Now Video Games YouTube Premium hist Sundance Action Spring TV finale composers MSNBC The CW cars Rock Spike Song of Ice and Fire singing competition sag awards Avengers game of thrones Arrowverse Emmys based on movie A24 OWN Schedule Lifetime psychological thriller joker USA Network TV Land witnail First Reviews versus DGA ABC Family what to watch Winter TV NYCC Endgame Mary Poppins Returns streaming TBS canceled TV shows History Superheroes quibi ratings GLAAD MCU zombie Mary Tyler Moore Discovery Channel 007 romance cinemax Shudder GIFs Vudu Comics on TV Universal anthology golden globes Amazon politics Fall TV APB Christmas sports Family Binge Guide theme song christmas movies dc Paramount Network WGN documentary Cannes dragons discovery 71st Emmy Awards Drama Extras harry potter name the review Infographic Opinion Epix Reality Competition television disaster CMT Adult Swim crime drama Red Carpet Starz 2020 Apple TV Plus Super Bowl anime Disney+ Disney Plus cults Rom-Com IFC Films sitcom Trophy Talk adaptation New York Comic Con Horror blaxploitation Hallmark Christmas movies Comedy halloween VICE TV historical drama Classic Film Kids & Family San Diego Comic-Con Logo docudrama free movies 2018 2016 BBC