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Holiday Streams: The path-breaking Christmas tint in Love the Coopers

The movie features Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Marisa Tomel and Alan Arkin among others

Megha Mukundan
Dec 22, 2021
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It is quite an irony that the 2015 holiday comedy Love the Coopers does not quite fit into the usual holiday category and it received much criticism as well. The reason behind all the buzz regarding the movie was simply due to the way it has approached the theme. While the usual holiday movies portray the warm and joyful mode of the relationships, Love the Coopers did the opposite. It simply brought forward the real raw dynamics and dysfunctions of family and relationships, in the light of Christmas.

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Helmed by Jessie Nelson, the movie takes us through an ambitious Christmas of the Coopers family. Little do we know that it's all about to be a great mess, as soon as the secret of Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and Sam (John Goodman) is out. The couple planning to get a divorce after 40 years of their marriage, and wanting to have a perfect last Christmas with children, grandchildren and others, is the central idea of the plot. As scenes shift back and forth, many inner conflicts within the family and various tints of the relationships are explored. 

The movie has brought forward the exact opposite of what we call a ‘perfect’ family, even through each single character. Charlotte is pictured as a perfectionist, yet she has not done anything for herself, except for her family. Her sister Emma (Marisa Tomel) happens to be broke and failed to make her life significant. Their father Bucky (Alan Arkin) is in an affair with a woman in her 20s, while Charlotte’s son is divorced, and daughter is ashamed of being single, and is in an illicit relationship.

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Thus every single character introduced in the movie has a tragic flaw, where the movie has scored in approaching the raw realities of lives. As the story progresses, the Christmas dinner turns out to be chaotic, with many unfortunate, messy incidents taking place. 

The not-so-lovable Coopers are imperfect, yet a perfect mirror kept against dysfunctional families. By exploring the vulnerable part of relationships, the movie becomes more relatable and lovable, as there is nothing cathartic than seeing our inner conflicts on the screen and relating to them. Besides showing out the colourful side of families, the movie has opened the page to the ugly, hatred, judgemental and egoistic side of a family, which is path-breaking in the list of holiday movies. 

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When holidays are supposed to be fun-filled and warm, the movie takes us on a rough ride with all possible disturbances throughout the way. However, the movie draws its curtains on a peaceful note, and underlines the inevitability of staying back with families despite the ugliness. It represents the change, second chances and importance of togetherness even when you are at the rock bottom. 


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