REVIEW | Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

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Journey (Madalen Mills) and her grandfather Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) in Netflix’s new Christmas film, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.
Journey (Madalen Mills) and her grandfather Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker) in Netflix’s new Christmas film, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.

Cast: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Madalen Mills, Rashad, Ricky Martin

Director: David E. Talbert

Age restriction: Family

Our rating: 4.8 out of 5

Where to watch: Netflix

Read more | We spoke to Forest Whitaker about his new Netflix film – this is why you should add it to add it to your watch list movie

What it’s about

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a 2020 American Christmas musical fantasy film.

It’s the story of old toymaker Jeronicus Jangle, played by Forest Whittaker who lives in a town called Cobbleton.

An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of the eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever.

What we thought

Jeronicus Jangle (portrayed by Forest Whittaker) is a young husband and father who also happens to be the greatest inventor of all time. It’s through him that the themes of love, hope and grief are explored in the film.

The film brilliantly blends live action, CGI animation and stop-action puppetry to tell the story and has all the makings of a classic festive tale - a grinch and the Christmas miracle.  

Gustafson (portrayed by Keegan-Michael Key) is the Grinch who’s villain origin story is shared in the early parts of the film. It’s his betrayal of Jeronicus’ trust that signals the start of the tale. This betrayal sets him on several stages of grieving, and we see what was once a man who had it all – a supportive partner and child, lose not only them but himself too.

The arrival of his granddaughter, Journey (portrayed by Madalen Mills) signals the start of his very own journey to healing and finding his light again. Through her playfulness and inquisitive mind, her grandfather thaws upon her arrival and is able to open up again.

I particularly enjoyed the character of Ms. Johnston (Lisa Davina Phillip), a postwoman who sympathized and shared in the grief Jeronicus was facing but was somewhat livelier and full of song – this for me showed that there was hope on the other side of Jeronicus’ despair and Ms. Johnston being a widow herself and someone who suffered some form of loss too, was a representation of that.

It’s also a deeply sentimental film. It will transport you along through the lows and lift your spirit in the ascension to the highs and you will carry every moment of hope as your very own. It is truly beautiful in every sense.

I’ve mentioned the Grinch, but was the miracle? All Christmas movies need a miracle and I believe Jingle Jangle had more than that. Through Journey’s reignition of his belief in himself and making it a full-circle moment where not only Jeronicus re-discovered himself but one of his great-grandchildren to whom the story is being told was made a believer of the fantasy that exists in the family. His efforts at reinventing, something he swore to never do again are successful and through his rediscovery he manages to reconcile with his estranged daughter and mother to Journey, Jessica (portrayed by Anika Noni Rose).

The production of this movie is marvelous, the music selection so fitting and with it’s necessary representation of people of colour in a holiday movie, it’s certainly bound to become a Christmas classic.

The rating would be higher if I were a lover of musicals – the random bursts into song really aren’t my cup of tea, but outside of that, I really can’t fault it. It’s a feel-good that will leave you with a positive outlook on the new year ahead regardless of the losses, grief and misfortunes you might have had to deal with in the past year.

It’s an interesting fantasy about reconciliation, forgiveness, tragedy and hope told through the eyes of a bright-eyed young girl and a perfect addition to your movie list to watch with your family after the Christmas dinner.

See a trailer for the movie below:

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