ho ho ho

What to See, Watch, and Stream This Christmas

Left to Right: Jamie Foxx in Soul, Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman, George Clooney in The Midnight Sky. Photo: Disney/Focus Features/Netflix

We’ve made it to the last holidays of 2020. You did it! And here to greet you are the many delayed films that are rushing to theaters or straight to streaming services before December closes out the calendar. Not much has changed in terms of the pandemic plaguing the entertainment industry and world at large, so, like at Thanksgiving, we’re giving those looking for ways to pass the time loads of at-home viewing options — as well as some in-theater opportunities. Whether you’re spending the last gasps of the year solo or with family, cheers to finally rounding the corner into 2021!

Movies (In Theaters or On Demand)

Promising Young Woman

The revenge thriller tackles rape culture head on, all with a quick-witted, candy-laced coating. Carey Mulligan plays Cassandra, the barista/medical school dropout who spends her evenings seeking out self-described “nice guys,” goading them into thinking she’s too intoxicated to fend off their despicable advances before revealing she’s definitely not. Promising Young Woman is directed by Emerald Fennell, who in addition to playing Camila Parker Bowles in The Crown, produced season two of Killing Eve. With appearances from Bo Burnham, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Alison Brie, Adam Brody, Laverne Cox, Max Greenfield, phew, and Jennifer Coolidge, who says revenge can’t be sweet AND entertaining? (In theaters December 25.)

News of the World

Woody gets his live-action film reboot in the Western News of the World, starring Tom Hanks as Civil War veteran Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a storyteller who faces the task of returning a young girl to her family after she’s lived for years with the the Kiowa people. The film follows their journey through the plains of Texas, facing off against foes and natural forces, as they both search for home. (In theaters December 25.)


Gerard Butler swears he’s gonna get his family in that bunker. He says it twice in the trailer for Greenland, so we can take his word for it. Butler plays John Garrity, a loving father who leads his family to safety through an apocalyptic-level disaster as comet fragments, described as “planet killers,” hurdle toward Earth. (Available on demand.)

Another Round

Mads Mikkelsen leads in Another Round, a Danish film about four high school teachers who, when faced with the idea that “humans are born with a blood alcohol content that is 0.05 percent too low,” set up a drinking experiment to maintain a more open, uninhibited social and creative life by constantly drinking throughout the workday. Once they decide to take it up a notch and consume even more alcohol on a daily basis, unintended consequences follow a lack of control over themselves and their own experimentation. (Available on demand.)

Wild Mountain Thyme

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! That’s all you need to know. (Available on demand.)

Movies (Streaming)

The Midnight Sky

The Midnight Sky follows Augustine, a scientist with a mute girl at his side in the post-apocalyptic arctic, and their journey to contact a group of astronauts heading back to the decimated Earth. Directed by and starring George Clooney, as well as Felciity Jones and Caoilinn Springall, The Midnight Sky traverses the loneliest spaces for man — space and frozen lands — and what life means for those who inhabit them. (Available on Netflix.)


Talented jazz musician and middle school band teacher Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) learns what it truly means to have soul when he finds himself in another realm following a near-death experience. Stuck in a coma, Joe’s ghost-like “soul” ends up in what they call The Great Before, a place where souls take on a personality before heading to their bodies on Earth. There, he meets 22 ( voiced by Tina Fey), who’s reluctant to begin a life beyond The Great Before. While Joe searches for a way to get back home, he also teaches 22 the joys and value of living. (Available on Disney+ December 25.)

Wonder Woman 1984

Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman, who is now living among mortals in 1984 and keeping a low profile. Working as an ancient artifacts curator, she’s pulled back into action to not only face off against Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal) but also The Cheetah (Kristen Wiig), Diana’s former friend turned enemy. (Available on HBO Max on December 25.)

excuse me, i love you

Arianators, rise up and force your entire family to watch Ariana Grande’s concert film excuse me, i love you. Instead of matching holiday sweaters, try oversized sweatshirts, long boots and high ponytails for the perfect festive garb. While you’re at it, pop a bottle of champagne in celebration of the pop star’s engagement and blast her Christmas EP, Christmas and Chill. Yuh. (Available on Netflix.)


Hand-drawn animation brings medieval magic to life in Wolfwalkers, which tells the tale of Robyn, the daughter of a revered wolf hunter. When tasked with helping him wipe out the last pack in the Irish countryside, she meets Mebh, a wild child with a deep connection to wolves. Robyn soon discovers her own destiny within the pack and the two set out to save themselves and their families, new and old. (Available on Apple TV+.)

Sylvie’s Love

In the hot New York summer of 1957, Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha) and Sylvie (Tess Thompson) spend the season working together in the record store owned by Sylvie’s father, quickly falling in love. Years after their dreams in music and television take them separate ways, the two cross paths, unable to shake their feelings for each other. (Available on Prime Video.)

The Prom

What else is a group of rag-tag Broadway stars supposed to do but travel to a small town in Indiana to save prom for one girl facing homophobia? Starring James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Andrew Rannells as the group in question, The Prom follows our stars as they try to teach the Midwest a thing or two about acceptance, love, and a good musical dance number. Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story, Pose) has given us many projects to chew on this year (911: Lone Star, Hollywood, Boys in the Band, Ratched), but he has only now given us Meryl Streep rapping about Michelle Obama. (Available on Netflix.)

Let Them All Talk

America’s Paddington, a.k.a. Lucas Hedges, plays Tyler Hughes, the nephew of famous writer Alice Hughes (Meryl Streep), in Let Them All Talk, in which he must wrangle her and her two friends on a trip where she’s supposed to be finishing her next book. Her literary agent (Gemma Chan) joins them on the trip to keep tabs on Hughes’s manuscript, and along the way finds herself getting closer and closer to Tyler. (Available on HBO Max.)


David Fincher offers another look at 1930s Hollywood and all of the social and economic forces working within it through the lens of alcoholic and gambling screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, nicknamed Mank, as he works to finish penning Citizen Kane. Starring Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, and Lily Collins, Mank introduces audiences to one of the minds behind the cinema classic. (Available on Netflix.)

I’m Your Woman

In the aftermath of her husband’s latest criminal misdeed, Jean (Rachel Brosnahan) must go on the lam with a baby in the 1970s-set drama I’m Your Woman. With the help of a man named Cal and his family, she learns how to navigate her husband’s mess alive. (Available on Prime Video.)

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Viola Davis emodies Ma Rainey, one of the first Black professional blues singers, in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Considered the “Mother of Blues,” the film follows her career as a musician, dealing with white management and her ambitious horn player, played by the late Chadwick Boseman. (Available on Netflix.)

Movies (Throwbacks)

Sleepless in Seattle

Nora Ephron sure knew how to write a rom-com nestled in the holidays. Sleepless in Seattle’s story starts on Christmas Eve, with Meg Ryan’s character, Annie Reed, engaged and on her way to her fiancé’s family’s celebration. Listening to the radio on the way over, however, she finds herself in tears listening to Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks) speaking about his wife who died the year earlier. From there, fate works even harder than Sam’s 8-year-old son Jonah to get them together. (Available on Prime Video.)

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

For all that is holy, cleanse your eyes from the horror that was Dr. Suess’ The Grinch Musical Live! (which is still available for streaming) and dive back into the original (and best) live-action version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), starring Jim Carrey and Taylor Momsen. It’s got Jeffrey Tambor playing the evil mayor, Christine Baranksi ringing in Christmas slayage, and not a single Matthew Morrison in sight. (Available on Netflix.)


In the naughtiest of all almost-Christmas films, horror and comedy find harmony in the adorable-until-they-tear-your-town-apart Gremlins. The scene where the transformed monsters sit in a movie theater singing along to Snow White and the Seven Dwarves on Christmas Eve, reveling in their own destruction? Comedic genius. (Available on Prime Video.)

The Holiday

One of the greats in the Nancy Meyers Cinematic Universe, The Holiday stars Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet, two unlucky-in-love women who decide to swaps homes for the Christmas holiday. It’s got a dreamboat Jude Law, Cameron Diaz running through the snow in heels, and a hot (hot?) Jack Black. (Available on Freeform.)

The Family Stone

Think of it as the heterosexual predecessor to this year’s Happiest Season, but if Kristen Stewart’s character did end up running away with Aubrey Plaza’s. (Available on HBO Max.)

A Bit of Television


The Upper East Side gets antiquated in Bridgerton, which follows the Bridgerton family in frivolous, whimsical and undeniably horny 1700s London high society. Julie Andrews narrates under the moniker Lady Whistledown, who also runs a gossip column that spills all of the tea on their sexual ongoings well before tea time, ruining Miss Daphne Bridgerton’s chances at finding a suitor. Straight from Shondaland comes a diverse, romantic romp perfect for some period-era escapism. (Available on Netflix December 25.)

The Repair Shop (Netflix)

Season three of BBC’s The Repair Shop made its arrival to Netflix on December 1, as a show that’s somehow even calmer than the Great British Baking Show. People bring in their family heirlooms, antiques and other treasured items to the team of restoration experts and without an ounce of tension, they work their skillful magic. With no winners or losers in the show, the only prize is seeing the objects returned to their former glory. (Available on Netflix.)

Dash and Lily (Netflix)

You could watch a few movies to pass the holiday, or watch a few Christmas episodes from an entire television show, or you could hunker down and watch the first season of Dash and Lily, a romantic comedy series filled to the brim with Christmas cheer. A whirlwind of dares, secrets and love, Dash and Lily is the feel-good show of Christmas. (Available on Netflix.)

What to See, Watch, and Stream This Christmas