Even though its depressing, I still watch “The Family Man” every Christmas

“The Family Man” isn’t an exceptional film. It’s only got a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s formula has been used plenty of times. And despite being a Christmas film, it’s melancholy delivery is a pretty big downer. It’s a sad movie.

I never go a year without watching it.

The 2000 film starring Nicholas Cage as a New York power broker, who runs into a mysterious entity (Don Cheadle) that gives him a “glimpse” of the life he could have had if he had not broken up with the love of his life (Tea Leoni), is usually on cable around the holiday season but I’ll seek it out if I have to.

It’s an important film because it really makes everyone think about the past choices they’ve made that have gotten them to where they are, and how those decisions can effect their lives around the holidays. Cage is at first thrown off after being plunged into an alternate reality where he’s with Leoni, works at a tire shop, and has two kids. But he eventually adapts and starts to thrive. I’m not going to ruin the ending for you, but it’s not a picture perfect one.

What’s amazing is that this wasn’t a blockbuster hit and it didn’t win any awards. So, why is it still played regularly after so many years?

I don’t have a real answer for you.

What I can tell you is how I feel when I watch it.

It’s a depressing experience and while it’s not exciting, it’s a humble movie with a heart and I do feel some hope after watching it. It forces reflection of one’s choices. Some might say it’s not good to stare too long into the past. But once a year, in this light, it can be an educating and occasionally cathartic experience.

Everyone should watch it once. You might love it. You might think it’s boring. But it’s a unique holiday film that looks at Christmas and family in a different way.

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