25 Christmas Things: Day 11 – The Lion in Winter

The Lion in Winter (a top 100 movie of all time for me) is a fantastically literate work of familial fighting with royal implications. The film takes place on Christmas, of course, as King Henry II fights with his usually-exiled wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, over which of their sons should take over for the aging king. It deftly blends matters of state with feelings of brotherly jealousy and whatever the opposite of filial piety is. There are a few scenes during which Christmas-y things happen, including some gift giving and decoration admiration, but mostly the Christmas spirit contained within this adaptation is the kind of stuff we generally try to avoid at the holiday season. Families aren’t perfect and feuds often break out during the time we’re supposed to be at our hap-happiest. The Lion in Winter lets us indulge in other people’s misery and in-fighting so we can avoid it in our own celebrations.

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