If Christmas Angel and Lost Christmas are any indication, the Brits have a slightly different take on Christmas movies than Americans. They seem to embrace the "everybody dies" school of movie-making and then work their way back to a happy ending from there. There's nothing wrong with this style, per se, but for viewers accustomed to fluffy holiday fare, it can be a bit discombobulating to kick off a movie with a terrible accident and then descend into a vortex of sadness and calamity.
Ten-year-old Goose (Larry Mills) is disappointed when his father, a fireman, is called in to work on Christmas Eve. He's just been given a puppy and wants nothing more than to continue celebrating the holiday with his whole family. Thinking he can prevent his father from leaving, Goose hides the car keys and watches as his parents scramble to find them. Quite unexpectedly, Goose's mother offers to drive his father to work, leaving him home alone. Right from the get-go, his plan has backfired, but things only get worse from there. His mum and dad are killed in an accident, and because Goose's dad never made it to work, he wasn't there to save a small girl caught on the ice. Her rescue is botched, plunging her to an icy death. Merry Christmas, everyone!
A year later, sweet innocent Goose is a jaded kid living with a grandmother who can't distinguish the washing machine from the oven. In order to pick up the slack for her, Goose helps to manage the household and occasionally obtains the things they need through petty theft. Also, he has lost his dog. Did you hear that? He lost the dog! Merry Christmas, everyone!
Having established that life is hell, Lost Christmas then proceeds to get weird. Goose meets a strange man named Anthony (Eddie Izzard) who constantly behaves as though he's just waking up from a blow to the head. He can never really tell you where he's from or who he is, but he has an uncanny ability to recover lost items. Soon, he's piecing together the missing parts of Goose's life, but wha'? Who is this crazy hobo? Is this all a scam? Is he an angel? Or is it Goose himself somehow returning from the future to set everything right?
Admittedly, it is kind of satisfying when the pieces finally all fall into place, but puzzling everything out as the movie unfolds is kind of...taxing. Lost Christmas isn't a happy movie, and wondering where all odd, dreary twists are leading doesn't add to its appeal. I was tempted to turn the movie off or skip ahead many times, and it was only at the very end that I was marginally glad I didn't. If the holidays put you in the mood for gloom and doom, Lost Christmas and its tragic cousin Christmas Angel will be a perfect fit.