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A Boy Called Christmas Is Netflix's Latest Attempt at a Holiday Classic

Directed by Monster House's Gil Kenan, the film stars Jim Broadbent, Maggie Smith, Kristen Wiig, and Sally Hawkins.

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A little boy in a red stocking cap closes his eyes as he meets a reindeer in a scene from Netflix holiday fantasy A Boy Called Christmas.
Screenshot: Netflix

Halloween is over, which means it’s instantly time for Christmas—and not just in shopping malls. Netflix has also manifested a sudden case of the holiday spirit, evidenced by this new trailer for its latest original film, which looks like it’s angling to be a perennial holiday classic. It’s called A Boy Called Christmas.

Co-written and directed by Gil Kenan (he directed Monster House, City of Ember, and 2015's Poltergeist, and co-wrote Ghostbusters: Afterlife), the film follows a young boy named Nikolas (Henry Lawfull) who sets out on a journey to prove magic is real. Along the way, he’ll encounter characters played by an array of award-winning talent (such as Jim Broadbent, Maggie Smith, Kristen Wiig, and Sally Hawkins) and discover a holiday. We bet you can guess which one. Here’s the first trailer.

Because you’re probably wondering, yes, Nikolas’ mouse is voiced by Office co-creator Stephen Merchant—and no, this is not an original story, it’s based on a bestselling book by Matt Haig. With those burning questions out of the way, that A Boy Called Christmas trailer is full of surprises, isn’t it? Every few seconds it felt like a different famous actor pops up in a big role. The creatures just get more and more elaborate too. Flying reindeer are one thing, but with elves and giants, Kenan seems to be swinging for the fences here, hoping to blend some of that 1980s Amblin fantasy feel with modern blockbuster scope and scale.


The trailer also links the movie tangentially to the Chris Columbus-directed, Kurt Russell-led Christmas Chronicle movies, which gives you an idea of what the streamer must be hoping for here: another big, family-pleasing blockbuster people will watch again and again. Co-written by Kenan and Ol Parker, A Boy Called Christmas co-stars Michiel Huisman, Zoe Colletti, Joel Fry, and Rune Temte, and comes to Netflix on November 24.

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