Arts, Features

REVIEW: Netflix’s ‘Angela’s Christmas’ provides sweet holiday story, broadens Netflix content

Netflix’s wide variety of content can be seen as both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, there is a practically endless amount of material for any and all demographics to enjoy. Whether it be a television show or a movie, Netflix is willing to produce just about any genre these days. If you are scrolling through the streaming service on a rainy day, you are bound to find at least one thing that is interesting to you.

That being said, many have complained that so much content is released by the streaming service that it is simply impossible to find the shows and movies that might appeal to individuals. This is where “Angela’s Christmas” comes in. It is a perfectly entertaining and cute film that would appeal to very young audiences, but it has been buried under the mountain of new releases.

The premise of “Angela’s Christmas” is as straightforward as it gets: young Angela lives in early 20th century Ireland, and on a trip to church on Christmas Eve, she comes up with an idea to ensure that the holidays are happy for everyone.

This animated film is only 30 minutes long and is therefore perfect for a very young age group to digest.

It’s hard to imagine anyone above the age of six getting much out of this film, but that doesn’t matter, as it was clearly produced for young children.

The story, animation and voice acting all reach the level of serviceable. This means this film will certainly not be remembered as a holiday classic, but it will at least be an entertaining watch for families.

What “Angela’s Christmas” truly represents is Netflix’s shift in image that has been occurring over the past few years.

When “House of Cards” aired as the network’s first major, critically-acclaimed original drama, Netflix quickly became known as a place for creators to produce high-quality content on the level of acclaimed networks, such as HBO and Showtime. Shows such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “Stranger Things” only served to increase the reputation of the company.

But over time, Netflix has continued to throw money at practically any project that comes their way, regardless of whether or not it fits the “prestigious” reputation that they possessed at the start.

Whereas in comparison to the early years, when every new Netflix show and movie was an event, there is simply so much being released every week now that it is now impossible to keep up.

Essentially, Netflix has become the new On Demand. People scroll through it while bored and casually select something that seems mildly interesting to them. This is a far cry from the network’s original prospects of being a haven for top-tier television.

So when harmless, acceptable products, such as “Angela’s Christmas,” are released, it’s inevitable that they will be immediately forgotten by the public. Netflix itself did not even seem to really care about this movie — it received next to no marketing, even on the upcoming releases section of their website.

Will Netflix continue this trend of producing whatever comes their way and seeing what sticks, or will they dial things back and return to a “quality over quantity” approach? It’s hard to say. The fact of the matter is that the sheer volume of their content means they will always be making a profit off of something, so it is hard to blame them for their new approach.

That is not to say that films like “Angela’s Christmas” should be immediately written off. There will always be a market for safe, wholesome movies for children. And this film is as wholesome as it can be. It has a very positive message, which means that parents should be supporting it.

If you are a parent of a very young child, “Angela’s Christmas” will be an enjoyable watch. If you are anyone else, this probably isn’t for you, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

It is just overall interesting to compare 2018 Netflix to 2013 Netflix, when the first season of “House of Cards” was released. That was only a few years ago, but back then, people would have scoffed at the idea of something like “Angela’s Christmas” being released on such a critically acclaimed service.

Now, this feels like no surprise.

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