Steve (Rafe Spall) has just been released from prison and is determined to turn his life around. He plans to see his ex-wife (Jodie Whittaker) and their son Tom (Kit Connor), whilst keeping his nose clean and regularly attending his parole meetings. But one evening, he gets a phone call from Tom asking for his help. Santa (Jim Broadbent) has crashed into his back garden and he needs both their help to save Christmas.
Christopher Smith, a director known for such horror fare as Creep, Triangle, Severance and Black Death, may seem like an unlikely choice to deliver a feel-good family movie but that’s just what he has done with Get Santa. It’s a very funny and affectionate story about a man reconnecting with his son and saving Santa Claus in the process.
The film mainly works thanks to its stellar cast. Rafe Spall continues to shine and really is perfectly cast as a loveable former getaway driver who is looking to put his past behind him. The dynamic he shares with onscreen son Kit Connor is also wonderful and gives the film a strong emotional backbone. Any film with Jim Broadbent in it is gold – this is a fact – but having him play Santa Claus is just perfect casting. Broadbent is sensational here, with a performance of sincerity, warmth and plenty of belly-laugh humour.
Elsewhere, there is strong support from the likes of Nonso Anozie, Matt King, Jodie Whittaker, Ewen Bremner and Joanna Scanlan. Warwick Davis delights as a prisoner with a chip on his shoulder and Joshua McGuire manages to avoid all of the cliché trappings usually associated with playing ‘the new boyfriend’. It’s also great to see hard-man Stephen Graham out of his comfort zone and he does a solid job as the prison hairdresser. His initial conversation with Broadbent’s Santa is a true highlight of the film.
Like all timeless family films, Get Santa never really talks down to its audience. The only downside to this is that very young children may not understand everything that’s going on in the film. At times the story does go around in needless circles too and this disrupts the flow after a strong opening. But there’s still enough comedy and mayhem to win kids over towards the end. Grownups on the other hand will enjoy this film right from the offset, with gags and comedy that always hit their mark.
Get Santa is a lot of fun and certainly one of the most entertaining festive films in years. With a collective cast all doing great work and a sweet story at its core, Get Santa spreads plenty of Christmas cheer this holiday season.