Nicholas lives with his father in a log cabin, somewhere in a dark, Scandi forest where social distancing is not really a concern, but being eaten by a bear very much is. His only friends are a mouse and a doll made from a turnip (who soon comes to an unpleasant, if delicious end). Given a quest by the sulky king (Jim Broadbent), Dad sets off to find a legendary elf village and when he doesn’t come back, Nicholas and mouse set off in search of him.
Based on the first in a trilogy of bestselling kids’ novels by Matt Haig, this delightful adventure fills in Father Christmas’s backstory, from lonely boy to children’s hero. Cut from the same timeless cloth as the Paddington films (with a similar clutch of top-notch British thesps), it’s the sort of family film likely to appeal to parents as much as their offspring.
Clever, inventive and occasionally moving without being sentimental, it’s that rare thing – a Christmas treat that won’t leave you with sugar shock.