Throughout my childhood my idea of a Christmas movie was first of all set in New York, and it involved Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in some ways, not to mention Home Alone (1 and 2 mostly, let’s forget there ever was a 3rd one…) which has become a tradition alone on Christmas. But 2012 brought a whole new idea of a season film, with The Oranges which is like a disappointing present at first but then turns out to be the funniest and most surprising gift you could’ve received.
First of all, it is set across the Hudson, somewhere in New Jersey and revolves around 2 families (The Ostroffs and the Wallings) – the parents are best friends, all the holidays are spent together, the children have known each other since forever – perfect suburban life. However, as any other normal families they all have their own inside troubles.
Vanessa Ostroff is the daughter who cannot fit it, who wants to escape this picturesque routine and achieve her dreams. Nina Walling on the other hand is a true rebel who has travelled the world and has no intention of coming back home, in spite of her mothers persistence. An unfortunate situation, however, brings her back home for the holidays. She has obviously been changed by her lengthy departure so she clearly sees the world through different eyes – in which anything is permitted. So, one night she engages in a risky encounter with Mr. Ostroff, David (Hugh Laurie), which they think they can successfully keep secret, but they seem to have underestimated Nina’s mother powers who eventually finds out about the strange affair between her young daughter and the much older David. And so, with the burden of a guilt for breaking up two families, Nina takes turns the affair into a serious relationship that brings the two families to a Christmas dinner like no other.
…happiness may come in various ways…
However wrong the idea of the film is, I have to say it is wonderfully entertaining. The way the story is brought to the screen cannot make you cringe in any way. Because no matter how conservative you might be, by the end of the film, it convinces you to stop being judgemental and accept the fact that happiness may come in various ways and there are essentially “no rules”. Nina and David accept the consequences of their little adventure and embrace their brief happiness even if it makes their entire community a bit uncomfortable and suspicious about the nature of their relationship.
The Oranges is definitely a change to the classic Holiday film for all ages and approaches the new generation filled with awkward situations set in the perfect little life of nowadays families. It teaches a valuable lesson though – not that of getting involved with your father’s best buddy – but that of accepting the fact that in the 21st century there are no rules for happiness, there are no boundaries just as long as you can face each other’s at the Christmas dinner with a smile on your faces, everything will be alright.