I Believe in Santa Parent Guide
Instead of being a sweet, feel-good movie, this is an annoying, clumsy waste of time.
Parent Movie Review
After a meet-cute at a July 4th fair, writer Lisa (Christina Moore) and lawyer Tom (John Ducey) find themselves spending more and more time together. Soon they are enjoying Instagram-worthy dates and touching moments with Lisa’s daughter, Ella (Violet McGraw). Burned by a divorce, Lisa is afraid that her relationship with Tom is too good to be true. As she says to her best friend, “He can’t be this perfect, so what am I missing?” No one is more surprised than Lisa when she discovers the weak spot in their relationship.
Lisa is agnostic about Christmas. She doesn’t reach Grinch levels, but unhappy childhood memories keep her doing only the bare minimum for Ella’s sake. Tom, on the other hand, is completely obsessed with the festive season. He bakes Christmas goodies, adores singing carols, and has a heavily decorated apartment, complete with a train circling his tree, an almost-life-sized Santa, and a Christmas photo booth. Lisa is taken aback to discover this aspect to her boyfriend’s personality but what really gives her pause is that Tom believes in Santa Claus. This middle-aged attorney truly, deeply believes that Father Christmas is a real man who lives at the North Pole and delivers toys to kids and adults who have faith in him.
I Believe in Santa tries to be a feel-good movie about reconciling different opinions, loving people for who they are, and taking leaps of faith. Instead, it’s a clumsy film, filled with bad dialogue, unsettling Christmas décor, and wincingly awkward moments. Tom’s belief in Santa is supposed to be touching and sweet but he often comes across as creepy, conspiracist, and cult-y. Frankly, I think John Ducey should be cast as a serial killer in a horror flick – he has that gentle-on-top-crazy-underneath vibe down pat.
I can’t think of any reason to recommend this tedious film, but it you have a fervent desire to watch adults argue about the existence of Santa Claus, you can be assured that negative content is minimal. There are limited scenes of social drinking, three terms of deity, some kissing, and some implied, off-screen sex. Religious viewers might be unhappy with attempts to draw parallels between belief in Santa and belief in religion; more by elevating the former than by trying to denigrate Christianity. Characters make the careful distinction that they are focusing on “Santa’s Christmas”; not a religious holiday.
If this movie doesn’t have you face-palming or falling asleep on the couch, it might make you think about your Christmas priorities. Personally, I enjoy baking, trimming the tree, listening to music, and religious observance. I loathe excessive décor, Christmas parties, commercialism, and Elf on a Shelf (don’t get me started). Whatever your interests and priorities are for surviving and thriving at Christmas, let me make one suggestion – don’t add this time-wasting, annoying film to your already busy schedule. Consider skipping it to be good holiday self-care.Directed by Alex Ranarivelo. Starring Christina Moore, John Ducey, Violet McGraw. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release December 14, 2022. Updated January 20, 2024
Watch the trailer for I Believe in Santa
I Believe in Santa
Rating & Content Info
Why is I Believe in Santa rated PG? I Believe in Santa is rated PG by the MPAA for mild language.
Violence: Kids throw snowballs at passersby.
Sexual Content: There are scenes of a man and woman kissing. There is a suggestion that an unmarried couple are going to bed together but there is no detail.
Profanity: There are three terms of deity in the script
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults have wine with meals.
Page last updated January 20, 2024
I Believe in Santa Parents' Guide
Why does Tom believe in Santa Claus? What do you think of his arguments? How would you react if you were Lisa?
What Christmas traditions are important to you? Why? Do you have compromise or hybrid traditions that come from different sides of your family?
Related home video titles:
Elf features a human raised at the North Pole who tries to reintegrate into the human world of New York City His passion for all things Christmas soon spills over to the world around him.
The overall extravagance of decorations for a Christmas ball is the primary plot point of A Match Made in Mistletoe (also released as Christmas in Washington).