Klaus

2019 | Animation | 97 minutes | English and Saami with English subtitles

Info

Jesper Johansson is a lazy and spoiled son of a wealthy Postmaster General. When he does poorly at the Postman Training Academy, his father sends him to the desolate town of Smeerensburg with the job of sending six thousand letters within a year. To Jesper’s dismay, he’s told by the bitter ferryman Mogens and the sarcastic teacher-turned-fishmonger Alva, that the town is totally inhabited by two warring families who hardly exchange words, let alone letters. Desperate to begin sending letters, Jesper stumbles across a reclusive woodsman named Klaus living in a cabin filled with handmade toys. Klaus notices a drawing by Jesper of a sad child from Smeerensburg. Klaus convinces Jesper to deliver a toy to the boy depicted in the drawing. Word of the gift spreads to the other children. They believe they too will receive a gift if they send a letter to Jesper. And that starts the ball rolling. The feud eventually is settled and Smeerensburg becomes a happy town. Jesper decides to remain in Smeerensburg and he and Alva marry. Meanwhile, Klaus continues to deliver toys to the children until he disappears, supposedly to join his departed wife. Every Christmas Eve Jesper sits beside the fireplace knowing the spirit of Klaus will continue to deliver toys to the children not only in Smeerensburg but around the world.  

Cast
Voices: Jason Schwartzman (Jesper Johansson) / J.K. Simmons (Klaus) / Rashida Jones (Alva) / Norm MacDonald (Mogens)
Why Stream This Film?
Many of the larger Hollywood studios passed on this film feeling it was too revisionist. Netflix took a chance and picked it up. The result is that the film received nominations from the Academy and film festivals as the Best Animated Film of the Year. Well-deserved. It’s an animated film like no other and a sheer joy to watch.  
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 93%
  • Metacritic Score: 65
Accolades
  • Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Animated Feature
  • British Academy Film Awards: Nominated: Best Animated Film
  • Annie Awards: Won, Best Animated Feature

Now streaming on:

Sergio Pablos’ KLAUS invents its own unexpected and very enjoyable origin story for the big guy who gives out toys every Christmas eve. The movie’s gently revisionist take on the Santa Claus legend is perfectly complemented by its visual style, which combines characters and settings that might’ve been designed a half-century ago with modern techniques.
John Defore

The Hollywood Reporter

Welcome to one of the strangest Santa Claus origins ever. KLAUS is a weird, meandering tale—but it has a distinctive style and a sly sense of humor and features brilliant voice work from the ensemble cast.
Richard Roeper

Chicago Sun-Times

KLAUS concocts original ways to tick off all the boxes of a Santa original story: How the means of transport became a sled. How reindeer got involved. Why the sled flies. How the chimney came to be used. The film is worth a place in a family Christmas-movie library.
Glenn Kenny

The New York Times

It’s a treat to see a modern animated film that isn’t afraid of absurd sight gags and bleakly funny lines of dialogue that have more in common with the works of Roald Dahl or Tex Avery than the typical big-studio animated feature that tries to put sensitivity upfront at all times. The look and sound and personality of KLAUS are the main reasons to watch it. It’s a fairy tale-inflected period piece that has a slightly different look and feel from the usual Pixar-DreamWorks-Blue Sky films.
Matt Zoller Seitz

RogerEbert.com

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