This Christmas

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Product Overview

This year, christmas with the whitfields promises to be one they will never forget. All the siblings have come home for the first time in years and they've brought plenty of baggage with them. As the tree is trimmed and lights are hung, family bonds are tested and they discover the true meaning of family.

Specifications

Studio Sony
SKU 209026831
UPC 043396191617
UPC 14 00043396191617
Format DVD
Release Date 10/25/2011
Rating Rating
Keywords
Christmas
Family Interaction
Holiday
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Like many holiday films, THIS CHRISTMAS mines the ample humor and drama of a family Christmas. Ma'Dere (Loretta Devine) is the matriarch to the large and loving Whitfield family, which consists of her three daughters--Kelli (Sharon Leal), Lisa (Regina King), and Mel (Lauren London)--and her sons--Michael (Chris Brown), Claude (Columbus Short), and Quentin (Idris Elba). They are an extremely attractive and successful bunch, but no sooner have they shared their first meal together than the hidden tensions begin to boil to the surface. Long-kept secrets come tumbling out, and the Whitfields soon engender enough drama to support several spin-off soap operas. There's interracial marriage, infidelity, gambling debts, an AWOL soldier, and repressed dreams of musical stardom, to name just a few of the issues they are forced to tackle in between stuffing the turkey and decorating the tree. Will their many problems and misunderstandings be resolved by Christmas day? Since this is a family holiday flick, the odds are, of course, quite good.^Despite the often heavy subject matter, the film has the glow and sheen of a lighthearted romantic comedy. The characters may be awash in drama, but they contend with their troubles in impeccable wardrobes and settings, so that even the barroom brawls have an almost cozy look to them. While some might feel the packed storyline was in more need of trimming than the tree, the tidy ending makes for perfect feel-good holiday fare. If only all family discord could end with a dance-off to Kool & the Gang!
Reviews
Entertainment Weekly "[The cast is] a powerhouse group, beginning with a blazing Loretta Devine...and the great Regina King..." -- Grade: B 11/30/2007 p.117
Sight and Sound "[W]ith a festive jazz soundtrack and shot in widescreen compositions that invitingly capture the fast-changing groupings of a large family gathering." 02/01/2008 p.83-84
Directors
Preston A. Whitmore
Actors
Loretta Devine
Chris Brown
Idris Elba
Delroy Lindo
Cast & Crew
Laz Alonso - Star
Loretta Devine - Star
Sharon Leal - Star
Mekhi Phifer - Star
Keith Robinson - Star
Chris Brown - Star
Idris Elba - Star
Delroy Lindo - Star
Columbus Short - Star
Lauren London - Star
Regina King - Star
Alexander Gruszynski - Director of Photography
Preston A. Whitmore II - Producer
Preston A. Whitmore II - Screenwriter
William Packer - Producer
Preston A. Whitmore II - Director
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2007
Catalog ID 19161
UPC 00043396191617
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 119 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English, French Dubbed
Aspect Ratio
Anamorphic Widescreen  2.40:1
Awards
MTV Award (2008) Chris Brown, Nominee, Breakthrough Performance
Image Award (2008) Loretta Devine, Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture,Preston A. Whitmore, II, Nominee, Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television)
Reviews
ReviewSource The Onion A.V. Club
Review Preston A. Whitmore II's smooth holiday melodrama revolves around an upper-middle-class African-American family that gathers for Christmas with plenty of emotional baggage in tow. Desperate housewife Regina King grapples with the deceptions of her no-good businessman husband. Wayward musician Idris Elba tries to evade a pair of thugs out to collect a gambling debt, and comes to terms with the new man (Delroy Lindo) in his mother's life. An AWOL soldier tries to find the right time to tell his family about his secret marriage to a white woman...This Christmas isn't a proper musical, but many of its best scenes are musical in nature, from wayward son Elba teasing out a Christmas song on his daddy's piano to two self-indulgent yet fun scenes where pretty much the entire cast takes turns strutting their stuff. Though it travels a predictable path through well-worn Christmas-movie terrain, the film benefits from an attractive, appealing cast: Elba and Lindo, in particular, lend heft and gravity to a garden-variety daddy-issues subplot. Christmas won't wow anyone with its audacity or originality, but it's bound to make plenty of people happy with its slick, crowd-pleasing familiarity.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Nathan Rabin
ReviewRating 7
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review I'm not going to make the mistake of trying to summarize what happens in "This Christmas." If you see it, you'll know what I mean. I'm not even talking about spoilers; I'm talking about all the setups as the Whitfield family gathers for the first time in four years. Everybody walks in the door with a secret, and Ma'Dere (Loretta Devine), the head of the family, has two...That makes "This Christmas" a very busy holiday comedy, where plot points circle and land on an overcrowded schedule. Once I saw what was happening, I started to enjoy it. Writer-director Preston A. Whitmore II must have sat up for long hours into the night in front of hundreds of 3 x 5 cards tacked to a corkboard, to keep all this straight...This is a movie about African Americans, but it's not "an African-American movie." It's an American movie, about a rambunctious family that has no more problems than any other family, but simply happens to discover and grapple with them in about 48 hours. What's surprising is how well Whitmore, the director, manages to direct traffic. He's got one crisis cooling, another problem exploding, a third dilemma gathering steam and people exchanging significant looks about secrets still not introduced. It's sort of a screwball-comedy effect, but with a heart.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 8
Features
DVD, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.40:1, Dolby Digital (5.1), Dolby Surround Sound, English, Spanish, Subtitled, French, Dubbed & Subtitled, No Longer Produced
Product Attributes
Actor Brown,Chris
Label Columbia/tri-Star
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Quotes
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer At the multiplex where so many holiday movies feel regifted, This Christmas is a gift.
G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle ...warm, witty and alive, with a fantastic cast and a belief in its characters that transcends its formulaic tendencies.
Ken Fox, TV Guide Fast paced and engagingly acted.
Lael Loewenstein, Variety A rare holiday treat, a package that's both thoughtfully selected and sure to please its intended recipients.
Michael Sragow, Baltimore Sun ...as funny and dramatic and poignant as any seasonal family get-together should be.

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