REVIEW: ‘Christmas Flow’ Is off Beat When It Comes to Crafting a Holiday Romance

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Christmas Flow

Christmas Flow is a French-language Netflix Original series created and written by Henri Debeurme, Marianne Levy, and Victor Rodenbach, with Nadège Loiseau handling directorial duties. Infamous rapper Marcus (Tayc) comes under fire for his misogynist lyrics, which lands him in court and prompts him to try and do a Christmas album to repair his reputation. However, Marcus’ music lands him in the crosshairs of Lila (Shirine Boutella). The latter runs a digital feminist magazine called “The Simones” with her friends Alice (Marion Séclin) and Jeanne (Aloïse Sauvage). Things escalate when Marcus secretly invests in the Simones, which leads to a heated conversation with Lila and sparks of all kinds flying.

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays, and I enjoy films that tackle the holiday, from classics including Home Alone and Die Hard to more unorthodox choices such as Krampus. Christmas Flow, however, is woefully misconceived from the jump, especially when it comes to the writing. Debeurme, Levy, and Rodenbach seem to want to make a romance in the vein of You’ve Got Mail or 10 Things I Hate About You, where two people who couldn’t be more different fall in love. The difference is that they’re also trying to tackle themes about activism, feminism, and misogyny and utterly fail at it.

Through the series, there’s never any evidence that Marcus has learned his lesson; he even tries to discourage his younger sister from pursuing a rap career. It’s only the prospect of a romantic relationship with Lila that convinces him to change his ways, which feels immensely reductive and insulting. There are some funny moments to their credit, including when Marcus’ family mistakes Lila for his influencer girlfriend Mel (Camille Lou), and Lila’s grandmother literally throws Marcus out when she hears his music.

What also falls flat is the chemistry between the two leads. Boutella is appropriately fiery in her performance as Lila. She’s the one good thing about this series. Tayc, on the other hand, feels fairly stilted and boorish even when his character supposedly learns his lesson. Tayc also happens to be a very popular rapper in France, and I hope that his songs are less misogynistic than Marcus’. Most Christmas romances thrive on the chemistry of their leads, no matter how predictable or schmaltzy they might be. Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding made Last Christmas an entertaining watch, and the ending of The Nightmare Before Christmas is pure perfection due to Jack and Sally’s duet. However, watching Christmas Flow made me wish that Lila would stay far, far away from Marcus.

The direction for the series is a major mixed bag. On the one hand, the series is only three 40-50 minute episodes, so it goes by quickly. On the other hand, the timing of the series jumps around more than a rabbit hopped up on caffeine. After the opening of the first episode, time leaps forward six months. Then in the third episode, it leaps forward a year before leaping forward six months after its unearned happy ending. This series rivals Snake Eyes in terms of frantic editing. It’s a miracle I didn’t get whiplash from the constant hopping through time. The editing also explains why Loiseau’s direction feels rather fleeting—the editing simply doesn’t allow the audience to get invested. On top of that, there are some wildly inconsistent musical cues. You know a series is using mixed messaging when its main female character, a self-proclaimed feminist journalist, is getting a makeover to the tune of Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy.”

Christmas Flow is perhaps one of the most baffling Christmas-themed series I’ve ever watched, with horrendously mixed messages when it comes to romance and activism. Some viewers may be drawn to it due to the soap drama elements, but there are plenty of other TV shows and films that will get you into the Christmas spirit and have far better romances.

Christmas Flow is currently available to stream on Netflix.


Christmas Flow
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    Rating - 4/10
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TL;DR

Christmas Flow is perhaps one of the most baffling Christmas-themed series I’ve ever watched, with horrendously mixed messages when it comes to romance and activism. Some viewers may be drawn to it due to the soap drama elements, but there are plenty of other TV shows and films that will get you into the Christmas spirit and have far better romances.