Gaia’s Top 10 Holiday Films

1. Coco Chanel

Director: Christian Duguay

Academy Award-winning actress Shirley MacLaine stars as Coco Chanel in this critically acclaimed film that charts the rise of one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. From her humble childhood and early days as a young dressmaker’s assistant, to her passionate love affair with a dashing Englishman and ultimate success as a pioneering fashion icon, Coco Chanel is the story of a glamorous woman who was hard to love and harder to ignore.

 

2. Healing

Director: Craig Monahan

In a world of mass incarceration and for-profit prisons, Healing shows what alternative treatments can and should be like. In this beautiful two-hour Australian drama, Viktor Kahdem is admitted to a novel program intended to rehabilitate injured birds of prey, giving him responsibility and the opportunity to one day make something of his life. Viktor develops a totemic relationship with his assigned officer Matt Perry (Hugo Weaving), gaining a new perspective on a life he was ready to give up.

3. Jackie

Director: Antoinette Buemer

Acceptance, tolerance and gratitude toward others is what the world needs in this day and age and Jackie reminds us of this. Two Dutch sisters, raised by gay fathers, find out that their surrogate mother is in the hospital. Overcoming their differences on a road trip to take their mother (Holly Hunter) to a rehabilitation center, the film explores the multitude of non-traditional modern family dynamics and the meaning of family in general.

 

4. Matching Jack

Director: Nadia Tass

Marisa and her son, Jack, take on a transformational journey when he is diagnosed with Leukemia and she must follow the trail of her husband’s infidelity for a potential bone marrow donation. Jack develops a symbiotic relationship with his hospital roommate, Finn, who is struggling with cancer as well. Connor’s dad, develops a relationship with Marisa, despite their initial differences.

5. Outsourced

Director: John Jeffcoat

Today there is a lot of xenophobia and fear in the global economy, if it’s not robots taking jobs, its foreigners. But sometimes it takes total immersion in a foreign culture to truly appreciate that everyone faces these struggles, and often more. In Outsourced, Todd Anderson (Josh Hamilton) spends his days managing a customer call center in Seattle until his job, along with those of the entire office, is outsourced to India. Adding insult to injury, Todd must travel to India to train his new replacement. Todd finds a new take on life, seeing his first-world problems in a new light.

 

6. Lifted

Director: Lexi Alexander

Henry Matthews is an exceptionally talented young R&B singer whose happy family life is disrupted when his father, a marine, is re-deployed to Afghanistan. Despite all the obstacles, including losing the family home and being forced to move in with his grandfather who hates his music, Henry is inspired to enter a teen singing competition in the hopes of winning and escaping a world that is falling apart

7. Redwood Highway

Director: Gary Lundgren

Living in a comfortable retirement community in Southern Oregon, estranged from her family, unsatisfied with her surroundings, and generally not happy about life, Marie (Shirley Knight) decides to journey 60 miles on foot to the coast of Oregon to revisit the ocean of her past for the first time in 45 years. Once reluctant to attend her granddaughter’s wedding, she now arrives as an unexpected guest. Along the way, she meets an extraordinary cast of characters and discovers that you’re never too old to learn something about life… and about yourself

8. Forgotten Kingdom

Director: Andrew Mudge

Atang reluctantly leaves the slums of the big city to bury his estranged father in the remote, mountainous village where he was born. Befriended by an orphan herd-boy and stirred by memories of his youth, he falls in love with his childhood friend, Dineo, now a radiant young teacher. Through her, Atang is drawn to the mystical beauty and hardships of the people, and faces his own bittersweet reckoning.

9. Amal

Director: Richie Mehta

With a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Amal tells the story of a righteous rickshaw driver in Delhi, who inherits a fortune from a multi millionaire for his reverent and selfless nature. The one catch: the executor of his estate has to find him in a city of 14 million. With only one month to discover and claim the inheritance, Amal’s struggles with duty and wealth are threatened by all those around him – from a young injured beggar girl and a lovely store merchant, to the danger of the old man’s upper-caste friends and siblings, all seeking to claim their share of the riches.

10. Mother Ghost

Director: Rich Thorne

Keith Bennet’s mother passed away a year ago, and he feels like he has moved on with his life, until one morning his mother’s jewelry shows up on Keith’s bathroom sink – the same jewelry she was buried in. He tells his wife Karen, about the jewelry and that is the last straw. She claims he is distant and has shut her out. Now he thinks he is seeing things that aren’t there and if things don’t improve, she will take their only son and leave. Forced with the ultimatum, Keith launches himself on a day of reclamation. Keith winds up on the phone with a popular radio psychiatrist who guides Keith through what he cannot see on his own. He discovers a new man and a new attitude. Several people are listening to Keith’s plight on the radio and are making changes of their own. Is this dead visitor all in Keith’s head or is she truly a Mother Ghost?

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