‘Father Christmas Is Back’ Review: The Prodigal Dad Returns

The Prodigal Dad Returns is a heartwarming Christmas movie that has been written and directed by John David Washington. The film tells the story of three estranged siblings who reunite for their father’s funeral only to find out he had lied about his death, leaving them to believe he could still be alive if they found him this Christmas season.

“Father Christmas is Back” is a movie that follows the story of an estranged father who returns home to reconnect with his children. The film’s trailer, which you can watch below, shows off some of the most heartwarming scenes from the movie.

As the holiday season approaches, broadcasters and streaming platforms are trying to meet the growing demand for content by releasing new holiday-themed titles. ‘Father Christmas Is Back,’ the newest Netflix original film, will be available for viewing on November 7th.

Philippe Martinez and Mick Davis collaborated on this British comedy, which is based on a screenplay written by Martinez in cooperation with David Connoly and Hannah Davis.

Ania Marson, April Bowlby, Caroline Quentin, Elizabeth Hurley, John Cleese, Kelsey Grammer, Kris Marshall, Nathalie Cox, Ray Fearon, and Talulah Riley star in ‘Father Christmas Is Back,’ which has a mix of seasoned and novices.

Caroline Christmas-Hope, portrayed by Nathalie Cox, is a tense woman, a control freak if you will, who is looking forward to spending the ideal Christmas with her enormous family, which is regrettably problematic.

To say her family is difficult to manage is an understatement, since they are as different as they come. Caroline’s dopey husband Peter (Kris Marshall), her sisters, high-end fashion journalist Joanna, bag lady Vicky, and Paulina, a graduate fascinated with the Beatles (Elizabeth Burly, Talulah Riley, and Naomi Frederick, respectively), are just a few of the characters. 


Thankfully, her mother Elizabeth, played by Caroline Quentin, is laid-back and is now hooking up with Uncle John, portrayed by John Cleese, since her father James, played by Kelsey Grammer, abandoned the family 27 years ago and never returned.

Caroline is determined to recover this legendary holiday, and suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Father Christmas reappears and throws everything off course, as if there was ever anything on the track. He comes trailed by his American lover Jackie, played by April Bowlby, and puts in motion a series of accidents, inconveniences, and misinterpreted misunderstandings that lead to the revelation of the long-buried truth that tore their family apart so many years ago.

Every character in this Christmas feature ranges from dislikeable to outright startling, as seen in Joanna’s character, who despises children, including her sister’s children. Paulina’s character, from the way she dresses to her speaking mannerisms, is overflowing with Beatles’ references, which is a little bit of an overkill, to be honest. 

‘Father Christmas Is Back’ lacks the character arcs, apologies, and heart-to-heart moments that make up the bulk of this genre’s elements. In certain cases, the characters nearly make their wrongdoings seem amusing.

The screenplay, which utilized every single Christmas movie cliché without delivering fans any meaningful plot, brought the potential star-studded cast down. Character development was lacking, the comedy was dry, and the finale was both predictable and syrupy. ‘Father Christmas Is Back’ tried so hard to be emotional, but it failed miserably since there was no justification given for its over-the-top sentimentality.

The soundtrack seems to be misplaced at moments, making it feel strange and out of place. For example, Hurley, whose Joanna enters the picture dressed in a high couture Elvis appearance, seems to be having the time of her life with this part; but, the ludicrous soundtrack drains the energy out of this sequence, turning it toothless and meaningless.

The cast in this Christmas film is fairly good, but they are let down by a weak writing and bad lighting, which degrades the quality and deprives the film of its visual attractiveness.

As the family’s matriarch, Quentin is consistently warm and humorous, while as the misunderstood father, Grammer shockingly emanates more warmth than comedy.

One especially beautiful moment with his granddaughter exemplifies this warmth, bringing the much-needed fuzzy sensations. 

Hurley does a great job at making fun of herself while portraying a version of herself in the media. Years of experience as the angsty country gent are brought to the fore by Cleese, while Cox’s key part is an incarnation of a cartoon character, resulting in a few hit-or-miss moments within the overall tone of the film.

Within this enormous family, stereotypes are an evident achievement. The Christmas setting is unoriginal and conveys a sensation that moviegoers have previously had many times before the release of this film. 

Interestingly, the audience’s sympathies changes to deadbeat dad Grammer and his prospective trophy wife Jackie as soon as they arrive, despite the fact that they are plainly supposed to be the film’s villains.

The screenplay makes no effort at a misdirection since there is no reason why Grammer’s character isn’t shown as an open baddie from the start. A larger portion of this film plays out as though this decent American couple is being abused by England’s worst family.


Due to innuendo, suggested sexual material, frequent ingesting of alcohol, and the use of some harsh language, ‘Father Christmas Is Back’ is classified PG 13. As a result, it is not recommended for individuals under the age of 18. So it’s probably not the best choice for a family movie night unless you like covering the small ones’ ears and eyes every now and then, which can be exhausting.

‘Father Christmas Is Back’ illustrates the anguish that comes with spending the holidays with a group of relatives who won’t stop expressing their unasked-for views, culminating in hurtful remarks that can’t be taken back. 

Though there are a few scenes that are inappropriate for young audiences, this film isn’t objectionable, and it isn’t one of the finest Christmas films ever made, but watch it if you have a lot of free time or nothing better to do. Simply said, it was a complete squandering of enormous potential that might have otherwise been mind-blowing.

RATING: 4.5/10

“The Prodigal Dad Returns” is an interesting movie that takes place in the future. It tells the story of a father who has been away for 20 years, and comes back to find his son is now a man. The movie’s plot is complicated, but it does have a happy ending. Reference: apex movie.

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