Poetry and Holiday Movies: 5 Festive Pairings
Watching holiday movies stands out as one of the best activities of the season. Whether you prefer a sentimental romance or a raunchy comedy, there’s a poetry pairing for nearly every winter classic. Snuggle up with a collection sure to get you in the spirit.
1. The Princess Switch and shine your icy crown by Amanda Lovelace
Amanda Lovelace’s “you are your own fairytale” series puts a modern and empowering feminist spin on fairytale tropes. Lovelace celebrates the strength of princesses and queens, asserting that they don’t need a male love interest. Though romance does play a role in the series, so does independence, defining your own goals, and finding your own voice. Netflix’s The Princess Switch takes a similar look at royal romance. The main character, Stacy, does find love in the end—but along the way she wins a prestigious baking competition and further establishes her small business.
2. Bad Santa and The Pleasures of the Damned by Charles Bukowski
Fans of Charles Bukowski appreciate his unabashed gruffness and gritty authenticity. Within his work, Bukowski often spotlights themes that other people would shy away from. Similarly, Bad Santa, an R-rated Christmas comedy starring Billy Bob Thorton, revels in drunkenness and thievery, making it a holiday movie for people who—like Bukowski—reject sentimentality.
3. Love Actually and The 100 Best Love Poems of All Time edited by Leslie Pockell
“It seems to me that love is everywhere.” This quote opens the quintessential Christmas rom-com Love Actually. The movie explores all different types of love, including an elementary school crush, a long-time marriage, and a blossoming flirtation between coworkers. The feel-good message shines through—love is for everyone, and is at once specific and universal. The anthology The 100 Best Love Poems of All Time, which features influential voices from Sappho and Shakespeare to Gertrude Stein, imparts a like-minded lesson. Each poem addresses the common, uplifting subject matter in its own unique way.
4. Love Hard and The Tinder Sonnets by Jennifer Lovegrove
Though Love Hard just came out this year, it’s already one of the most-streamed titles on Netflix. The movie, titled after Die Hard, delves into the world of app-based dating: ghosting, catfishing, and the awkwardness of meeting up for the first time IRL. It also heightens the stakes: The main character, portrayed by Nina Dobrev, surprises her most promising match on Christmas. As its title suggests, The Tinder Sonnets also takes its inspiration from dating apps, using them as a lens through which to explore the complex topics of female aging, sexuality, betrayal, and pleasure.
5. A Bad Moms Christmas and The Wellspring by Sharon Olds
A Bad Moms Christmas confronts the impossible standards of modern motherhood, helping to normalize imperfection and lessen “mom guilt.” It takes on sexism in a hilarious and outrageous way, and it also explores its role in marriage and dating. The honest and subversive comedy peers into the inner lives of women, looking past airbrushed social narratives and expectations. Sharon Olds, one of the most beloved confessional poets, also writes about motherhood, marriage, and female sexuality without shame, most prominently in her collection The Wellspring.
Looking for more ways to incorporate poetry into your celebration? Check out our writing prompts inspired by holiday songs.