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‘Dear Santa’ review: The documentary we need right now

The most important film of the year?

In a year filled with the most awful news, there recently was a change of pace. It was announced by various news outlets that Santa Claus will be able to make his annual trip. There are plenty of movies that are marketed as the perfect story for the times. This has never been more accurate than with the documentary Dear Santa.

The documentary focuses on the over century old Operation Santa program. Run by the United States Postal Service, the program utilizes volunteers from around the country. In many cases, the requested gifts are delivered. Unsurprisingly, Dear Santa will tug at the heartstrings. In any year, the operation is a cute one that will bring joy to people. In this year of worldwide pandemics, racial unrest, and political nonsense, it is an especially important film.

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There are a number of moments that will bring smiles to faces. A person only needs to be on the internet about three seconds before seeing a hateful comment. When a person comments most of the letters to Santa are polite, it is enough to reaffirm a person’s belief in humanity. There is another powerful moment when a child just asks to be loved for being gay. Through no fault of its own, Dear Santa comes close to being emotionally manipulative.

The documentary does not just focus on the kids who write the letters. There are plenty of interviews and footage with the “elves” that help make the Christmas dreams become possible. These moments are just as touching as the rest of Dear Santa. It has been a tough year for the USPS and listening to the tales of what they do to help children continue to believe is borderline inspiring.

Director Dana Nachman does an excellent job of telling a story filled with Christmas joy. Based on the subject, it may seem like this is easy. As Dear Santa shows it would be easier to become overly sentimental. (To be fair, there are moments, where things will be too saccharine from some.) Instead, it is the perfect movie for these painful times.

Dear Santa comes to theaters and VOD December 4


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