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

crossover Tarantino zero dark thirty witnail TIFF DGA Kids & Family Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Spectrum Originals Freeform justice league E3 Anna Paquin spinoff Pirates twilight festivals Lionsgate universal monsters facebook Drama Awards miniseries hollywood Awards Tour theme song MTV harry potter sag awards Vudu FOX The Witch Premiere Dates Baby Yoda teaser Lucasfilm aliens The Arrangement Endgame Binge Guide Schedule National Geographic Calendar period drama laika elevated horror cartoon Mary Poppins Returns ABC directors children's TV Action Interview MCU Western spider-man Disney Channel Song of Ice and Fire Cartoon Network anthology IFC Photos Creative Arts Emmys Apple TV+ technology critics Writers Guild of America Funimation spanish language HBO Black Mirror rotten movie Superheroe GoT Fall TV Walt Disney Pictures DirecTV independent APB Emmy Nominations BBC werewolf indiana jones Disney+ Disney Plus X-Men classics Amazon Box Office natural history crime sports Video Games CW Seed Trophy Talk Martial Arts doctor who Elton John DC Comics joker richard e. Grant Character Guide Brie Larson award winner nbcuniversal films Ovation Warner Bros. social media Horror Comics on TV Spike 4/20 Mudbound E! documentary Rock Country mission: impossible Columbia Pictures adventure AMC canceled TV shows Mindy Kaling 2020 First Look Hallmark Christmas movies Logo kids TCA Winter 2020 comic slashers Rocky Superheroes TV Land Sony Pictures Sci-Fi Disney WarnerMedia Comedy Central parents satire cats binge dragons Reality Competition romance USA Network revenge war TV Set visit Syfy tv talk Esquire Netflix Apple TV Plus IFC Films Summer Marvel game show PBS cults Nickelodeon Food Network Stephen King mockumentary franchise Tomatazos Opinion spain crime drama Arrowverse Pride Month comiccon Television Critics Association Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Marathons golden globes Film Festival 21st Century Fox all-time Amazon Studios psycho dogs renewed TV shows cancelled television what to watch Captain marvel RT History diversity cancelled die hard Christmas dc foreign Musical Tumblr Dark Horse Comics cars PlayStation Heroines rotten movies we love Amazon Prime DC Universe adaptation TruTV Election Sundance Bravo Crackle Winter TV Best and Worst 71st Emmy Awards Discovery Channel crime thriller Paramount Lifetime Christmas movies best Pop Acorn TV fast and furious 2018 dramedy Watching Series nature Universal Mary Tyler Moore 2016 SXSW Grammys 24 frames thriller Red Carpet Pixar robots talk show south america New York Comic Con concert First Reviews blaxploitation Avengers strong female leads Comedy Marvel Television cops FX 2017 latino serial killer Valentine's Day Women's History Month CNN Holiday halloween Countdown jamie lee curtis Classic Film Turner historical drama medical drama singing competition Paramount Network Trailer Television Academy politics Britbox canceled Hulu batman LGBTQ Apple Shudder science fiction biography TCA Awards superhero breaking bad toy story OneApp video Fox News A&E Hallmark Family hispanic discovery casting Mystery TBS comedies emmy awards Trivia Hear Us Out a nightmare on elm street ABC Family quibi news based on movie 007 christmas movies zombies unscripted Epix cinemax docudrama BET SDCC SundanceTV See It Skip It stop motion BBC One History OWN scary movies Travel Channel Chernobyl asian-american true crime A24 Mary poppins Shondaland Nat Geo FXX game of thrones ghosts Holidays green book sitcom HBO Max Reality sequel ratings Pop TV versus DC streaming service blockbuster stoner HBO Go CBS Cannes criterion Biopics space obituary Cosplay CMT Sundance Now Quiz screen actors guild reboot Disney Plus YouTube Premium Sundance TV Black History Month composers Disney streaming service USA Star Wars child's play Year in Review worst Lifetime Thanksgiving YouTube Teen Showtime indie Star Trek TV renewals series disaster finale NBC Nominations TNT name the review hist Toys Infographic Extras YA Amazon Prime Video spy thriller romantic comedy Ghostbusters The Walking Dead chucky Oscars NYCC TCA 2017 boxoffice animated ESPN Spring TV President BBC America book CBS All Access YouTube Red American Society of Cinematographers Masterpiece cancelled TV series stand-up comedy Academy Awards zombie documentaries Certified Fresh VOD BAFTA comics psychological thriller Winners 2015 MSNBC VICE ITV WGN dark transformers San Diego Comic-Con 45 Musicals police drama Crunchyroll Starz 20th Century Fox Super Bowl LGBT political drama 2019 TLC TCA travel Comic Book dceu 72 Emmy Awards free movies anime PaleyFest Tubi Emmys Rom-Com Podcast cancelled TV shows vampires mutant Film GIFs movies Music The Purge Rocketman Polls and Games The CW streaming RT21 GLAAD Turner Classic Movies El Rey TCM Adult Swim Animation screenings Netflix Christmas movies VH1 Ellie Kemper Fantasy video on demand Marvel Studios supernatural Sneak Peek BET Awards Pet Sematary Peacock FX on Hulu reviews cooking television