Film

Romcoms, elves... and Batman: Here's the best Christmas movies to stream in 2023

Get the mince pies on, it's time stream the festive cheer on Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+. These are the best Christmas movies of 2023

A selection of the best Christmas movies to stream 2023

You’ve got to do a bit of poking around to find the best Christmas movies of 2023. In the pre-streaming era it was just down to what was on telly and available in the local Blockbuster. Bonus if you could afford Sky. Now, of course, we’ve got the biggest entertainment companies in the world competing for the tinsel pound. Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and more are gift-wrapping their biggest stars and blandest plots for your yuletide streaming pleasure. But, good grief, you’ve got to feel a lot of presents before you find one that’s not an itchy jumper or a pair of socks.

Ranking the best Christmas movies to stream 2023

Best. Christmas. Ever! (L to R) Brandy Norwood as Jackie, Madison Validum as Beatrix, Heather Graham as Charlotte in Best. Christmas. Ever! Photo: Scott Everett White/Netflix © 2023.
Best. Christmas. Ever! Photo: Scott Everett White/Netflix

Best. Christmas. Ever! – Netflix

Netflix is comfortably the worst offender. Best. Christmas. Ever!, possibly the least appropriately named Christmas movie ever, has Heather Graham trying to find the chinks in the perfect life of an old friend played by ’90s R&B superstar Brandy (who’s doing the double with a Christmas album and movie this year). It’s awful. Revolting, sentimental, not at all funny. Early hints of secrets and Stepford wife perfection mean you keep expecting it to turn into a horror – but when the twists come they all head to the Hallmark Channel. Weirdly uncharming and completely unsatisfying.
Christmas movie rating: 0/5

Family Switch – Netflix

Better and yet, simultaneously, somehow, worse is body swap comedy Family Switch which gains points for Jennifer Garner and Emma Myers’ on-screen likeability as a supernaturally switched mother and daughter, but loses them for having absolutely no Christmas DNA whatsoever. Someone bolted Christmas on, and it’s hanging there, awkwardly, like a weird, out-of-place bauble. At least Best. Christmas. Ever! puts the season at the centre.
Christmas movie rating: 2/5

Eddie Murphy in Candy Cane Lane
Candy Cane Lane. Photo: Claudette Barius / Amazon

Candy Cane Lane – Prime Video

Equally weird is Candy Cane Lane, in which Christmas-mad Eddie Murphy literally sells his soul to a disgruntled elf to win a decorating competition, and is cursed with the animals from The 12 Days of Christmas like they’re the plagues of Egypt. Again, it sounds like a horror film, and maybe it would be better if it was. It works when it leans into its weird (Jillian Bell’s sadistic elf, Pepper, snacking on a bauble like an apple, Nick Offerman as a tiny Victorian china doll. No, really), though less so when it goes broad. It’s fine.
Christmas movie rating: 3/5

Genie – Now / Sky Cinema

Playing it way safer is Genie, Richard Curtis’s update of his 1991 TV movie Bernard & The Genie, which replaces Lenny Henry with Melissa McCarthy and Alan Cumming with Paapa Essiedu (though Cumming gets to play a hissable baddie, which he does with obvious aplomb) and transplants the action to a picture-perfect New York City. McCarthy and Essiedu are charm personified, and there are some lovely jokes, though a huge lack of depth. Curtis has done Christmas way better.
Christmas movie rating: 3/5

Your Christmas or Mine 2 – Prime Video

More fun is Your Christmas or Mine 2, the sequel to last year’s double-fish-out-of-water Christmas romcom. This time Asa Butterfield’s buttoned-up poshos and Cora Kirk’s common-as-muck-and-reet-proud-of-it Macclesfieldians go skiing — There are predictable mix-ups and mishaps a-plenty, but it’s genuinely funny and smacks you nicely in the warm and fuzzies. Plus, guest star Jane Krakowski is, as ever, a hoot. Kirk deserves to be huge.
Christmas movie rating: 4/5

It’s A Wonderful Knife – Shudder

Those looking for a little seasonal nastiness could do a lot worse than the brilliantly-titled slasher It’s A Wonderful Knife, in which one-time Yellowjacket Jane Widdop knocks-off masked serial killer Justin Long (whose doing a great line in grotesques these days) on Christmas Eve, only to find that a year later her life is bloody awful and she wishes she’d never existed. As the title suggests, she gets her wish. The cast are great, though an elegant premise is slightly hamstrung by too many ideas. Still, nice problem to have, huh?
Christmas movie rating: 4/5

The Naughty Nine – Disney+

The most fun to be found this year is over in kids corner, which is only right and proper. The Naughty Nine is a riot. This pint sized Ocean’s 11 sees Winslow Fegley’s absurdly charismatic middle-school menace put together a crack team of kids from Santa’s “naughty list” to pull off a heist at the North Pole and retrieve the presents they have been so cruelly denied… for being rampant little shits. Danny Glover is Santa. Honestly, it’s a blast.
Christmas movie rating: 4.5/5

Merry Little Batman - Batman's son looks surprised in front of a snowy scene in the best Christmas movie to stream 2023
Merry Little Batman. Photo: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Merry Little Batman – Prime Video

Best of all – and the winner of Best Christmas Movie 2023 – is Merry Little Batman, in which Batman’s eight-year-old son Damian takes on classic villains from the rogues’ gallery. Animated in the style of early ’00s Cartoon Network, with gags a-plenty and a proper Christmassy glow, this is a genuine treat that totally nails its tone and subject. Luke Wilson is excellent as Bats himself, now a comically overprotective parent, and Always Sunny’s David Hornsby makes a great Joker. There’s real visual pizazz here, and some genuine festive heart. A surprising treat that flicks bogies at the po-faced romcoms and family dramas we’re enduring elsewhere. A Merry Christmas to all, and to all… a Dark Knight.
Christmas movie rating: 5/5

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Civil War director Alex Garland on ChatGPT, 28 Years Later and why Britain is like a 'pet cat'
Civil War, Alex Garland
Film

Civil War director Alex Garland on ChatGPT, 28 Years Later and why Britain is like a 'pet cat'

From The Iron Claw to Opponent: How wrestling films began grappling with real issues
Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson and Zac Efron as the tragic Van Erich wrestling family in The Iron Claw
Film

From The Iron Claw to Opponent: How wrestling films began grappling with real issues

Gillian Anderson, Billie Piper and Rufus Sewell on recreating Prince Andrew's car-crash interview in Scoop
Rufus Sewell as Prince Andrew and Gillian Anderson as Emily Maitlis
Film

Gillian Anderson, Billie Piper and Rufus Sewell on recreating Prince Andrew's car-crash interview in Scoop

Io Capitano director Matteo Garrone on why a refugee's journey is so much more than small boats
Film

Io Capitano director Matteo Garrone on why a refugee's journey is so much more than small boats

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know