This article contains major spoilers for The Claus Family’s ending. You can check out our spoiler-free season review by clicking these words.
‘Tis the season, and all that, so it’s hardly surprising that Netflix are already wheeling out the Christmas movies for the festive crowd. Of course, there’s often little to unpack in these sorts of films – the whole point of a Christmas movie is simple good cheer, and you don’t really need thematic or narrative complexity for that. The Claus Family is a good example of what I mean. It’s fine, and sometimes charming, but it’s ultimately a feature-length meditation on a sentiment that could be properly unpacked in about five minutes.
Still, it’s a worthwhile entry into an overstuffed genre thanks mostly to its good intentions, a lovely grandfatherly performance, and its efforts to reduce the magic of the period to a more human scale. Focusing on Jules, a teenage scrooge who is particularly against Christmas after losing his father to a tragic accident during the holiday, The Claus Family is largely a meditation on grief, growing up, and family traditions, all of which seem like worthwhile themes at this time of year.
What Jules doesn’t know about his family is that one of them is always Santa Claus. Currently, his grandfather, Noel, is keeping the tradition alive because the untimely demise of his father meant that he couldn’t inherit the mantle. Noel, though, is old – Jules’s father had already replaced him when he died, so Noel has essentially come out of retirement to keep the business afloat. It’s important that he breaks down Jules’s barriers so that the younger Claus can take on the family’s responsibilities, or all the world’s children stand to suffer for his sulking.
The countdown to Christmas Day provides a useful ticking-clock device as Jules has to realize the value of tradition and become closer to his late father by embodying the role he once occupied. He also spies an opportunity to help out his mother, Suzanne, a biscuit maker whose factory is facing insolvency. This subplot is woven into all the magical Christmas shenanigans and is perhaps a more worthwhile reminder of what truly matters than all the magical snowglobes and traditionally Christmassy production design.
Of course, everything turns out pretty well. Jules manages to deliver all the presents, and also begins to realize that his inheriting the mantle of Santa Claus is exactly what his father would have wanted. He becomes closer to Noel, who is finally able to retire, and is able to solve his mother’s financial crisis by delivering a box of her special Christmas biscuits to the President of the United States. It’s all predictable, granted, but isn’t that what most people want from a film like this?
You can stream The Claus Family exclusively on Netflix. Do you have any thoughts about The Claus Family’s ending? Let us know in the comments.