For real-estate agent Suzanne Barrington Christmas is by far the best time of the year. This Christmas in particular is looking up too, she just closed on a house and her husband scored a great new job in Hawaii. All that changes after a sudden tragedy takes Jeff from life, leaving Suzanne lost and incredibly lonely. Zach Clark's White Reindeer is an effective dramedy that blends the elements of comedy and drama well, creating an impressive portrait of a woman suffering from grief. Suzanne is a character of general pathos as we watch her go through serious attempts to cope by dance parties, shop lifting, drugs and even a swingers' party encounter. Suzanne is trying to feel alive again and the joy and happiness associated with Christmas provides a great juxtaposition to her struggle. White Reindeer may sound somewhat generic in structure but it's anything but that, with Clark and company doing a great job at subverting expectations at every turn with lots of bizarre surprises that only help the film work as both a comedy and drama. While the film is definitely a character study I found the idea that Suzanne would spend extravagant amounts of money on Christmas as a coping mechanism to be an interesting choice. I think it feeds into one of the bigger points Zach Clark is trying to make - the consumerism aspect of Christmas, the trees, the presents, etc. has reached the point where it completely dwarfs the true meaning of the holiday in the first place.
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