Klaus ★★★

Klaus: I’m coming, love.

Beautifully animated and gilded with the warmth and crackling spirit of a well stoked fire on a winter’s eve, Sergio Pablos’ Netflix original animation Klaus is nothing if not sincere. 

Klaus tells the tale of a reluctant postmaster (Jason Schwartzman), born into material wealth but devoid of soulful riches, who is sent to an isolated community town built on resentment and rivalry with the seemingly impossible task of getting 6,000 letters posted so that he may prove his worth to his father. 

Like a hybrid of Nightmare Before Christmas and The Grinch, the town of Smeerensburg is an at once enchanting and disconcerting little place, full of odd people placed against odder yet angles of imposing architecture. 

Following a curious encounter with the town’s mysterious woodsman Klaus (a glorious JK Simmons, in which he is forced to give a child a wrapped toy who has asked in earnest for help to escape the sadness of their home, postmaster Jesper helps to create Christmas as we know it today.

The tale told here is one that feels worn like comfy boots and yet breathes comfortingly like loosened leather. There are cliches and obvious contrivances littered throughout as each piece of the iconography of the festive season is given its own micro origin story, but the friendship that blossoms between postie Jesper and the mystical Klaus is touching and heartwarming to behold. The animation is simply gorgeous, and the narrative so effortlessly pieces together so as to render it like a lost piece of timeless folklore.

Simmons and Schwartzman hit a sweet spot with their vocal performances, whilst the litany of strange and quirky characters in the ensemble all combine to create a memorable little ode to the most wonderful time of the year. Whilst it is unremarkable in that it is never narratively as complex or awe-inspiring as its visuals, it is an emphatically easy viewing experience that comes with a sweet sentiment that is sure to stick in the hearts of the younger viewers who find it.

Christmas isn’t about giving them presents, it’s about giving your presence. The two are so similar sounding that they’re easy to confuse, but it’s absolutely true.

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