With the holiday season in full swing, you may be feeling the stress that can come hand-in-hand with “the most wonderful time of the year.” But thankfully, December 25 comes with the gift of being a popular release date for a number of films this year. So no matter what holiday you’re celebrating, if you find yourself needing an escape to the world of movie magic, take a look at the following films you can see Christmas Day and the performances that make them noteworthy.


Just Mercy

This upcoming drama from Warner Bros. will hit select theaters on December 25. The plot follows the true story of Bryan Stevenson, a defense attorney who fought to save a man sentenced to the death penalty. Michael B. Jordan plays the title character and has said in a recent interview that he felt the responsibility of making an incredibly impactful movie and of portraying such a pivotal player in the civil rights movement. Jordan is widely known for his roles of Adonis Johnson in Creed and Erik Killmonger in Blank Panther. The role of Bryan is a big departure from both of these characters, and Jordan’s portrayal of the real-life hero is undoubtedly a performance to note in the film, but you can also look forward to seeing Jamie Foxx and Brie Larson deliver top-notch work.


Spies in Disguise

If your relatives find a way to join your cinematic escape, this animated film is one that viewers of any age can enjoy. The premise involves a fun spy caper with a twist: Lance Sterling is a suave secret agent who’s at the top of his game until he is accidentally transformed into a pigeon, which forces him to rely on his tech officer, Walter, in order to still save the day. Will Smith voices Lance, and Tom Holland brings the nerdy Walter to life. It’s impossible to choose between the two actors when it comes to suggesting which performance one should especially anticipate from this film. A quick look at the trailer will demonstrate why. Smith and Holland are both exceptionally cast in their roles and they hold an impressive comedic chemistry, which will have the whole family laughing if Spies in Disguise is the group consensus for a December 25 trip to the movies. There are a number of other performances to anticipate as well; Karen Gillan, Rachel Brosnahan and Rashida Jones all bring their voices to the animated flick. 


The Song of Names

The star-studded tearjerker is adapted from Norman Lebrecht’s novel of the same title. It follows Martin Simmonds, played as an adult by Tim Roth, who becomes obsessed with finding Dovidl, the brother figure from his past who mysteriously disappeared. The film deals with events relating to the Holocaust, and it spans decades as well as continents. As the adult version of Martin, Roth brilliantly portrays his character’s fixation with following clues that could lead to finding Dovidl — as well as a lot of answers. This performance is one to especially anticipate, but Roth also stars opposite the talented Clive Owen, and they’re both supported by a strong cast that includes Catherine McCormack and Eddie Izzard. If this film is the one you choose for a Christmas Day trip to the movies, be sure to pack some tissues. 


These films made our list of new releases to see on December 25, but you may not feel they’re the right fit for your specific needs when it comes to escaping heated political debates at the dinner table or avoiding that one crazy uncle at your holiday gathering. If that’s the case, you have some other options: You could see Adam Sandler tackle a meaty dramatic role in Uncut Gems, for example. Or maybe you want to check out the most recent adaptation of Little Women and watch Saoirse Ronan follow in the footsteps of Katharine Hepburn and Winona Ryder in bringing Jo March to life. But regardless of which film you select, we hope it’s just the right cup of cheer you might need this holiday season. 


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