Let’s share a little of the older generation’s infatuation with the sentimental memoir about the hard life an Irish mother, “Angela’s Ashes,” by showing the wee ones “Angela’s Christmas,” a witty and warm bit of Frank McCourt in holiday animated form.
It’s about his mother Angela’s childhood in 1914 Limerick, and it’s introduced by Malachy McCourt, Frank’s brother, in whimsical and nostalgic voice-over narration.
Angela (voiced by Lucy O’Connell) tustles with her brother as she joins the family for Christmas Eve Mass.
It’s St. Joseph’s, as Malachy recalls, “a church so cold if you didn’t go in with a cough, you certainly came out with one.”
Angela is concerned that Baby Jesus, the doll in the church’s creche, will freeze and catch his death all under-dressed in swaddling clothes as he is. She kidnaps him to “warm him up.”
“This is where myself and Aggie (her little sister) sleep. But be careful,. She ripped the head off my last doll.”
There are dull sermon jokes, a “miracle” that involves a Baby Jesus sneeze, an outhouse gag, Angela’s version of warming the doll — “wrap you up like a little holy sausage” — a song, some impoverished sadness, and a lot of irreverent wit.
“Mother of GOD! Is that the Baby Jesus from St. Joseph’s? Oh…JEEsus!”
Ruth Negga (“Loving”), as the long suffering mother (Frank and Malachy’s grandmother) is the other stand-out in the voice cast.
“His mummy will be sick with worry!”
If you’re watching a McCourt Christmas animation this holiday, make it this one, as there’s nothing remotely as warm and fun in the sequel, “Angela’s Christmas Wish.”
MPA Rating: TV-Y
Cast: The voices of Lucy O’Connell, Ruth Negga and Malachy McCourt
Credits: Written and directed by Damien O’Connor. A Netflix release.
Running time: :30