A simple act of kindness can spark another, or so that’s what Netflix’s newest original film Klaus says. Since I was younger, I’ve always loved everything to do with Christmas, so I absolutely agree with that statement. However, I began to notice that people would start to get into the holiday spirit a bit too early as I got older. By the time I was in college, it became a bit overwhelming for me when friends and family would start putting up holiday decorations as early as November 1st. I’m aware that may make me sound like a Grinch but getting ready for Christmas festivities so far in advance is just something I thought I’d never understood. Luckily, Klaus is yet another movie that serves as a reminder as to why people tend to get into the holiday spirit so early.
Klaus, which is directed by Sergio Pablos, follows Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) on his journey to becoming a postman. Though he comes from a wealthy and successful family, his father notices that his son has no real ambition. With his dad being the postmaster general, Jesper is sent to Smeerensburg to become a postman.
Upon his arrival, Jesper finds the town completely silent until he discovers a feud between two families that’s been going on for many years. He tries to form a connection with the local school teacher, Alva (Rashida Jones), but realizes that she too is bitter. It isn’t until Jesper meets Klaus (J.K. Simmons), a local toymaker, where he forms a connection with someone. The two begin to deliver toys to the unhappy children in Smeerensburg, but Jesper has hidden intentions in doing this.
Watching Jesper’s character progression throughout the film was incredible. His life before being sent to Smeerensburg was quite luxurious. However, it seemed obvious that all this luxury wasn’t as fulfilling as Jesper made it out to be. Though he hated being sent away to a place that was out of his comfort zone, it made sense as to why it happened. Being away from everything made Jesper realize what was truly important. That sort of character progression could be difficult to pull off in a 96-minute film, but it was done in such a way that made it relatable. I could imagine myself as Jesper throughout the film, experiencing the same difficulties and epiphanies about the holiday spirit.
Alva’s character development was also quite interesting to see. Once an aspiring school teacher, her time in Smeerensburg and being around constant fighting from the two families made her give up. It isn’t until Jesper and Klaus begin to hand out toys that Alva has a moment of clarity. She connects with the children in the village by teaching them how to write letters asking Klaus for toys. It’s great to see that this sudden change wasn’t brought on by Jesper but instead it’s brought on because of the selfless actions he does. Her teaching the children brings upon the necessary change that the town needed to get itself out of the constant chaos and endless state of unhappiness.
Though Klaus revolves around Jesper’s journey, a major component of the film is Klaus and what he represents. Having kept to himself until Jesper’s arrival, not much is revealed about who Klaus is until the film is deep into its plot. The backstory that he’s given perfectly captures his belief that acts of kindness inspire other acts of kindness. However, this version of Santa is quite unique since he isn’t depicted as being jolly. There’s sadness rooted in his character, which is touched on halfway through the film, but he turns it into inspiration for helping others. This portrayal of Santa is quite possibly my personal favorite that I’ve seen in any film or tv show.
I have to take a moment and talk about how phenomenal I think the animation is. The animation is hand-drawn and it felt like I was looking at a children’s book, which fits into the aspect of the holiday spirit. Klaus is aesthetically pleasing to look at, especially the scenes which show much of the surrounding area and landscapes.
Overall, I really enjoyed watching Klaus. Given that it’s Netflix’s first animated feature film, it’s exciting to see the possibilities that can come from this. After watching the film, it definitely put me into the holiday spirit. It reminded me to realize that there’s much more to the meaning of Christmas besides the decorations and the actual celebrations. The acts of kindness that the film talks about are just as important as everything else. I’ll surely make it a tradition to watch this film on Christmas Day.
Klaus is available to stream exclusively on Netflix.
I’ll surely make it a tradition to watch this film on Christmas Day.