“You must love this—living in a camper on the streets of New York spreading Christmas cheer.”
In Christmas, Again Noel (Kentucker Audley) works the night shift at a New York City Christmas tree lot. He has worked here for the last few Christmases. But this year he is doing it without the woman who has been part of his life. He is still heartbroken. One night he finds Lydia (Hannah Gross) passed out on a park bench and brings her to his trailer to recover. Perhaps you see the possibilities for a little romantic comedy or for Noel to rekindle the spark of Christmas cheer that seems to have died out for him. Yes, those possibilities exist, but those are not the roads writer/director Charles Poekel chose to follow. Instead we have a story with all the trappings of Christmas, but without any sense of what we think of as holiday spirit.
Noel’s life is flat and depressing. There is a sense of emptiness that fills his days and Lydia add a bit of life, but in the end they are all fleeting. That gives the film a very morose air. That is what makes the quote above so painful. What seems like a wonderful situation that fits with our hopes for Christmas stories really is the antithesis of those hopes. Perhaps in years past Noel has loved doing this (hence, he has returned year after year). This year, however, is filled with his grief of a lost relationship.
This story is a reminder that it is easy to be involved with the season without actually connecting with any of the joys or meaning that the season represents. Even going around on Christmas Eve delivering trees, is really just more work that Noel must do. He enters into places where Christmas is being celebrated, but he never is part of the celebration. Those coming to this film hoping for a happy Christmas story will be very disappointed. But for those who want to see some of the emptiness that Christmas holds for others, Christmas, Again could fill the bill.