When I first saw advertisements for Almost Christmas, I gotta admit, I was excited, but not for the reasons I think most people were. Mostly, I was ready to see Mo’Nique get back on the silver screen, and I was equally glad that ol’ Danny Glover was still cashing those checks in Hollywood. Those two things alone were enough to spark my interest, but I just wasn’t sure if I was thrilled about seeing what I assumed would be another This Christmas.
I got to the theater and sat by a woman who I would later learn was a touchy laugher. You know the kind that leans into you, touches your arm or leg, and maybe even elbows you as they erupt with laughter? Yea, that’s her.
At one point, my new movie partner looked over to see if like her, I had laughed myself into a crying fit-I had. What I soon discovered is that I actually didn’t mind my uninhibited new neighbor, and in fact, I was enjoying her company. What I also realized very early on, is that this movie was in a league of its own.
This is a “feel good” movie in every sense of the word. A movie about family, love and loss, Almost Christmas delivers just the right amount of goodness before the Holiday Season. We experienced a rollercoaster of emotions, but we hit more highs than lows, and I think that’s what makes the film so endearing.
We saw Gabrielle Union perhaps in way that we’ve never seen her before, a parent who doesn’t quite have it all together. J.B. Smoove was a breath of fresh air, keeping the scenes fun and upbeat. We welcomed Keri Hilson to the screen, (which I think my boyfriend was very excited about), and she actually did a pretty good job. In the movie, she got herself into a little trouble, and lucky for her, she was able to escape without bodily injury or a missing hair piece.
Jessie Usher, the star of the hit show “Survivor’s Remorse” added a boyish flavor to the movie that was much appreciated. And Omar Epps…well, he was there doing what he does best.
What makes Almost Christmas unique and so relateable, are the same things that make Black families all over the world a force to be reckoned with. Of course, we aren’t all the same, we each have our very own set of circumstances- yet, we’re similar in ways that we cherish, ways that we can feel, in ways that only we can understand. That’s what makes this movie so great-it validates us. From loud Auntie May, whose potty mouth could give a sailor pause, to the crazy uncle who can’t stop talking about his days as an all star basketball player, it’s all very familiar. From the random dance parties in the kitchen, to the unspoken cooking competition among sisters, Will Packer came through like Santa and delivered everything we’d hoped for.
He has a way of doing that- bringing our stories to life on the big screen. He’s mastered the art of not only producing movies, but creating feelings that we don’t often forget, always encouraging us to remember to live, laugh and love no matter what kind of crazy curve balls life throws at us.
Almost Christmas is in theaters on November 11th. Go see it. It’ll make your Christmas THAT much merrier.