It’s Christmas Day, and following tradition, the Savage family is all coming together in a sweet home in Australia. It’s no secret that the family has had challenges and past disagreements. Nevertheless, the Savages have decided to come together and celebrate the day as best as possible.
The head of the home is James Savage Senior (David Roberts), an obsessed ex-football icon who can’t escape his glory days on the field. His wife, Brenda Savage (Helen Thomson), does everything she can to keep everything around her at bay but has moments that appear harsh. Plus, she struggles to cook a proper meal and will not accept any assistance. The adult children include Davina (Thea Raveneau), previously known as David, Jimmy and Leia. Davina hasn’t attended a family Christmas in some time, and this year, she is also introducing her new partner, Kane (Max Jahufer), to the entire family. Jimmy (Ryan Morgan) is struggling to pay off a large debt with the wrong kind of people and dreams of becoming a famous rapper one day. Lastly, there is Leia (Rekha Ryan), a mother of two who is currently dealing with a recent separation from her husband due to her addiction to pills and alcohol. Good old Uncle Dick (Darren Gilshenan) can’t be forgotten, and he loves to make a grand entrance in an itchy Santa suit while spraying fake snow around the home. Uncle Dick is quite loud and not the wisest in the family.
A Savage Christmas is best described as a touching drama with many random moments of unexpected comedy. As the family members arrive for lunch, there are plenty of awkward moments to be had, starting with the arrival of Davina and her partner, Kane. The comedy here heavily relies on these awkward moments, and for the most part, plenty of scenes play out unexpectedly. I also found it nearly impossible not to grin while watching the family day unfold. As for the drama, each character in the Savage family is dealing with challenges that impact others in the family.
Thankfully, the film includes a few touching messages, particularly about forgiveness, moving on, and, most importantly, acceptance, which I felt was highly relevant. Directed and co-written by Madeleine Dyer, A Savage Christmas has believable dialogue with different and unique characters. Seeing how these characters differ from each other helps make the film engaging and entertaining, particularly the family interactions. Visually, most of the film looks great, too, and the Director has done a terrific job, given the location and spaces.
Overall, I had a merry time with A Savage Christmas. Right from the start, I found myself grinning like a young child and enjoying the numerous awkward moments shared among the multiple characters. You may have seen an Aussie family Christmas film before, but thankfully, this manages to be fresh and differs from the rest. I admired how relevant this film is to the present day and the positive messages and themes. The film carries entertaining moments of conflict and drama while being playful and slightly wacky, even more so whenever actors Darren Gilshenan and Gary Sweet appear on-screen.
A Savage Christmas (2023) is also Available in Australian Cinemas from November 16th.