Lost At Christmas Review

"Directed by BAFTA nominee Ryan Hendrick, the film is based on the acclaimed short film Perfect Strangers and is Scotland's first traditional Christmas movie. Featuring an incredible cast, including, Sylvester McCoy (Dr Who / The Hobbit), Natalie Clark (The Last Bus), Kenny Boyle, Sanjeev Kohli (Still Game) & Clare Grogan (Gregory's Girl) to name a few.

Lost in Christmas is set in the remote Scottish town of Fort William, on Christmas Eve, when life is turned upside down for Jen (Natalie Clark) and Rob (Kenny Boyle). Suddenly finding themselves heartbroken, single and stranded, they team up to try and reach home 100 miles away to be with their families. "Borrowing" Jen’s now ex-boyfriend’s classic car, the pair hit the road, but it’s not long before the weather turns for the worse forcing them to continue their journey on foot.

Bickering and bonding across the snowy Moors of Glencoe, they eventually arrive at a remote inn where they meet other guests dead set on avoiding the traditional Christmas joy. However, as Christmas Day draws closer, will happiness emerge and draw Jen and Rob together?" From Press Release

REVIEW BY ESTHER AUSTIN: Lost in Christmas was interesting film from the perspective of what it was trying to emulate. The tactic of taking the audience on a nostalgic and poignant journey around this special festive time of the year worked to a certain degree. The film was infused with poignant moments which were supposed to pull at the heart strings, but I felt that there was something missing which allowed me to fully engage in that nostalgia.

I felt the film in part was to allow people the space to continue to believe and indulge in the spirit of Christmas, holding onto its sentiments, especially after the year we've had. Christmas is often a time when relationships are tested and this film touched on all of them i.e new relationships, partner/friendships and family relationships. I felt that the message was that of, coming together to celebrate, to see Christmas Day as a day when everyone would try to put their problems and issues aside in order to come together to celebrate in the moment. That in itself was a very poignant message.

Lost At Christmas was not only about two separate individuals, Rob and Jen, thrown together at a special time of year because their individual relationships had recently ended, leaving them with a sense of 'emptyness' and feeling 'lost.' They were both trying to get home in time for Christmas but transport had come to a stop and they were thrown together to work out how they would find a way to get home.

Jen's character played by Natalie Clark, was the thread who constantly weaved the sentimentally of Christmas and all its wonderful trimmings throughout the film. Her bright red attire, with stripy socks, santa hat showed her playful, childlike essence and belief in the power of Christmas. However, she also proved quite irritating at times because she was not always of mindful of how her jovilaty was affecting other peoples processes because hers was being driven by needing to dull her own pain.

However, even when Jen was feeling despondent, and had to deal with the often miserable character of Rob as they trudged through the snow to find accommodation, her hope of holding onto the notion of celebrating and enjoying Christmas was constantly at play, and maybe for Jen this particular year had a more significant meaning. She had turned up at her 'partners' home laden with presents and good cheer only to find out that he had a wife and son. Therefore, the notion of holding onto Christmas became more poignant for her as a way to deal with her pain of betrayal. She needed to continue to believe in something and what better way than to believe in Santa, turkey, stuffing and presents. After all Santa Claus isn't just the dream of the child.

The film was good at unravelling the intricacies of pain and separation even in the midst of 'celebration' and then steering the audience into a place where they had to stop and think in the midst of all that was going on. The power of memories and reminiscence through the eyes of Jen and Rob where the truth actually revealed itself. Their lives had to be interrupted in order for them to take time to reflect and think.

Jen and Rob were two strangers, put together after being stranded, was also another relationship building situation, showing us once again, the threads that hold us together when life takes a downturn. We can either try to go with the punches or sit down and let the punches take us. However, Rob, played by Kenny Boyle, who was often quite miserable spending time in his man cave processing and bickering, because he had been rejected by his girlfriend after asking her to marry him bought to the film the sense of "What is life really about?" Yet towards the end he found he could let go and truly be himself because he was able to buy into the mantra of Jen about living in the moment because that was where the magic lay.

Rob and Jen ended up at a hotel meeting other people who would venture to this particular place every year because they didn't want to celebrate Christmas. This place was a place where they could sit with their worries, sorrows however, the arrival of Jen and Rob interrupted that. Jen was able to reach people on their level and inspire the spirt of Christmas into their lives, so that they eventually ended up celebrating Christmas with all its trimmings able to lay aside their pain and challenges for just that day.

Lost At Christmas had many good sentiments, interspersed with humour along the way. However, I felt it lacked that edge to keep me on my toes. I could see where the Director wanted to go, drawing us into a place of nostalgia - a white Christmas, Family, Food, Togetherness, Memories - however, but it didn't quite work for me and I found myself drifting off often. The acting was a little dull at times, and the sentiments that were being used to pull the audience into the spirit of Christmas have been used so many times, and there was a sense of 'here we go again.' The film didn't have that originality, that to me, could give it its spark.

However, I believe Jen was the lovable Santa Claus. Someone who carries that affable spirit of hope, fun, love and togetherness, being home - which can mean many things - despite what they are going through. There is a saying 'The Show Must Go On' - the same with Christmas.

Lost at Christmas will be released in UK cinemas from 4th December and on Digital from 7th December

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