Christmas Movie Recommendations


Some Recommendations:


Beautiful Christmas imagery and a touching, amusing story make Fred Claus a magical, hilarious and romantic family film.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote is a delightful time-capsule about the human condition, starring Patty Duke, Piper Laurie and Jeffrey de Munn.

Music of the Heart is based upon the true story of a violin teacher in Harlem. Starring Meryl Streep, it is one of those New York movies that realistically portrays the plight of talented people living there, and ends with a stunning, triumphant scene. The extremely talented Meryl Streep learned to play violin for her part in Music of the Heart.


Timely Movie: a Cry in the Dark

A Cry in the Dark, Starring the Great Meryl Streep and Sam Neill
Convicted in the Court of Public Opinion

I saw A Cry in the Dark  when it was released in 1988, at Carnegie Theater in in Manhattan. The film made an indelible impression on me. Here is a brief synopsis by Marshall Fine, from

Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s Elaine on Seinfeld once offered a non sequitur at a party just to relieve her own boredom: “The dingo ate your baby,” she blurted in a bad Australian accent. It was a reference to this harrowing film by director Fred Schepisi, based on a true story. Meryl Streep and Sam Neill play a married couple on a camping trip whose baby disappears. Streep maintains that the baby was carried off by a dingo–a wild dog–but she winds up as the victim of a hard-hearted prosecutor and the target of a nationwide hate campaign, in part because she was a religious fundamentalist who seemed unsympathetic and, thus, became an easy target for the tabloid press. Streep and Neill are both outstanding in this fierce, realistic drama about the ways faith can bolster even in the face of outrageous persecution. –Marshall Fine

I thought of the movie two weeks ago, and we bought it for our home film collection. Then two things happened last week that prompted me to mention A Cry in the Dark on Elegant Survivalist: the not-guilty verdict in Casey Anthony’s child-murder trial and the intense public attention to the entire matter; and, the fatal mauling of our good friend Sandra’s great-nephew Salvador by a dog last weekend. The Anthony story caused non-stop public outrage, while the death of a six-month-old baby at the teeth and claws of a dog has been completely ignored by the press. Irony and hypocrisy abound more than ever in the new world order, but not much has changed since the heart-wrenching true story of A Cry in the Dark.
©M-J de Mesterton

New Elegant Survivalist Posts

Elegant Movie: Roberta

This 1935 musical film featuring the music of Jerome Kern is still relevant today. The elegant Irene Dunn sings “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and, as a Russian princess who is part of the post-Bolshevik revolution diaspora,  performs, in her angelic style,  a Russian ballad with her brother, a prince who is working as an elevator-operator in Paris. There are complications galore in this tragic-comic story, as well as some remarkable dance-numbers by Fred Astaire and the hilarious Ginger Rogers. Elegant Survival readers are likely to appreciate the fashion-critiques by the two main male characters, played by Randolph Scott and the ever-natty Fred Astaire. 
©M-J de Mesterton