Originally out in cinemas in 2015, the film was called ‘Christmas With The Coopers'. And depending on which country you live in, either name can appear on Netflix. Love The Coopers follows four generations of the Cooper family as they get together for their annual Christmas Eve festivities. As events unfold, we soon realise the motions they are all going through to endure this Yuletide gathering. No doubt, many of us can relate.
The two key characters are Charlotte (played by the wonderful Diane Keaton) and her hubby Sam (John Goodman). They have reached the end of the marriage road and plan to separate after the holidays. Charlotte’s fun factor has diminished. Life’s pressures have got to her but she is absolutely desperate for everyone to have a perfect Christmas.
Her father, Bucky (Alan Arkin of The Kominsky Method) is a quirky chap. He enjoys reciting his tales to the daughter of an alcoholic mother, waitress Ruby (Amanda Seyfried). Ruby’s dream is to run away to another coffee shop.
Charlotte’s comically jealous single sister Emma (Marisa Tomei) has a penchant for pilfery and a less than happy relationship with her mum. Cue lots of flashbacks to when she was a kid and both characters working out where they went wrong with each other.
Also, joining the much sought after ‘perfect Christmas’ is Eleanor. She is Charlotte and Sam’s commitment phobic daughter. She is secretly dating a married man but convinces a guy at an airport to play along with her game of introducing him as her boyfriend at the family Christmas celebration. ‘We just need to figure out how long we’ve been together and what your name is’ she casually briefs him.
Throw into the mix their divorced, jobless and highly strung son and father of three, Hank (Ed Helms) and senile Aunt Fishy (June Squibb) plus a few of the Cooper’s younger darlings and you have the trials and tribulations of a dysfunctional family at Christmas.
With several smatterings of rom-com highlights and chemistry between many of the film’s key characters, it shows a multi-faceted family obliged to toast the season with gritted teeth. Admittedly, it’s not a ground breaking concept and as with many of these types of films, most of it isn’t realistic. In its defence, the emotional distress of the holiday season felt by so many is portrayed cleverly and it satires the Christmas period perfectly. Add it to your festive viewing list and get in the spirit!
Update: Unfortunately, Love The Coopers is no longer available on Netflix. You can watch it on Amazon and it is included with the Prime subscription.