As we enter the festive season, a time when we collectively seek refuge from the flaws of our pretentious world and immerse ourselves in the spirit of Christmas, streaming platforms like Netflix become our gateways to feel-good euphoria. 

Among the array of holiday offerings, Christmas as Usual emerges as the third or fourth festive film to grace the giant platform this year.

It hails from Norway and lasts for one and a half hours as a charming rom-com.

Let me just drop a reminder that we are yet to have a memorable Christmas film for 2023. 

Is this Norwegian movie the one? Read on to find out.

Christmas as Usual Synopsis

A couple, hailing from two different parts of the world, plans to celebrate Christmas together with the girl’s Norwegian family.

Though it is the guy’s idea, he hardly has a hint of what he has signed up for. Can his Indian origins find a balance in aversive surroundings?

Image Credits: Netflix

Directed by Petter Holmsen, the movie features Ida Ursin-Holm (Thea), Kanan Gill (Jashan), Marit Adeleide Andreassen, and others.

Officially, the film is based on a real story but the makers have not disclosed specific details as of now.

What Works for Christmas as Usual?

It’s a reunion of cultures. How good or bad is the thing to ponder upon. In this section, I will largely be focusing on the former. 

In essence, Christmas as Usual is a product of colliding traditions. Jashan, an Indian man, is in love with Thea and proposes to her weeks before Christmas. 

They get engaged and he decides to celebrate the festival in Norwegian style at Thea’s house with her family. 

Several surprises and shocks await Jashan at her fiancé’s den when Indian and Norwegian cultures clash during the Christmas celebrations. 

Image Credits: Netflix

Expectedly, he is not perfect and neither is Thea’s Mom ready to mingle with his imperfections. The film relies on humor arising out of Jashan’s failure to grasp Norwegian customs. 

Don’t be surprised if it gets too much to handle at times. An undeniable plus for Christmas as Usual is the film’s focus on real aspects of festivities. 

For example, the makers don’t carelessly throw in the concept of Santa Claus, and make it appear real as most movies do.

There are very few superstitious beliefs propagated by the film, a testament to its grounding reality. 

Another upside is the crisp duration. You can finish it in a rough span of ninety minutes.

How are the Performances?

Ida Ursun-Holm plays Thea in the movie and takes care of the Norwegian side of things. In hindsight, I feel she could have done a lot more with better writing. 

Her character needed that defining moment of sparkle. Nevertheless, Ida doesn’t leave a stone unturned in perfectly presenting what she has been given. 

Her sporadic quirkiness finds flavor in the usually quiet character she portrays.

Image Credits: Netflix

Kanan Gill is Jashan in Christmas as Usual. Hailing from India, he does give his part some indigenous traits. 

Still, he also could have done better with intricate writing. The dialogue and the line of comedy do not do justice to his naturally funny countenance. 

I have seen him perform on stage back home in India and Gill is much better than this.

What Doesn’t Work for Christmas as Usual?

I think such ideas have been explored a million times already. So, the feeling of attachment is not there as such from a viewer’s perspective. 

Moreover, the official line is that it is based on a true story. However, this doesn’t have a bearing on Christmas as Usual’s impact. 

It tries to be everything, from a rom-com to a heartwarming emotional festive affair. But the movie doesn’t have any funny joyrides to offer. 

Image Credits: Netflix

The reliance on situational comedy, without the inclusion of joyous comedic escapades, proves to be a precarious gamble.

One notable elephant in the room is the movie’s elusive storyline, which consistently sidesteps crucial aspects of Thea’s past. 

The lack of exploration into her relationships, whether with the boy next door or the repercussions of her father’s demise, leaves significant gaps in the narrative. 

This missed opportunity to delve into compelling subplots diminishes the film’s potential for deeper emotional resonance.

Lastly, I feel the screenplay had the potential to rise and shine, which, unfortunately, it failed to live up to.

Stream or Skip?

It is watchable for people from Norway and India. Rest can skip is what I think.

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