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Issue 17 Out Now

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

An imaginative, Victorian Christmas musical starring Forest Whitaker and Phylicia Rashad.

"Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey" Picture by Gareth Gatrell/Netflix via Deadline

If there is one common theme to take away from the latest Davide E. Talbert project, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is the power to believe in oneself. The story centers around Jeronicus Jangle, an optimistic, joyful toymaker, and inventor who was betrayed by his apprentice, Gustafson. After decades of despair and self-doubt, it takes his granddaughter, Journey, his assistant, Edison, and Ms. Johnston, a postwoman in love with Mr. Jangle. This Christmas musical fantasy stars Forest Whitaker, Madalen Mills, Keegan-Micheal Key, Hugh Bonneville, Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Lisa Davina Phillip, and Ricky Martin.

The story starts with a young girl seeing images dancing in the fire, which her brother berates her saying there is nothing there. Their grandmother (Phylicia Rashad) comes in and notices the disappointed look on her granddaughter’s face. Instead of the usual Christmas tale, she tells them a story that she never told anyone until now. From there, we entered a world filled with dancing, singing, and unique inventions.

In all the wonder and sounds of machinery in Jangle and Things, a younger Jeronicus Jangle (Justin Cornwell) anxiously awaits the final component for his greatest invention yet. That invention being Don Juan Diego (Ricky Martin), a self-absorbed, living doll. He tells his apprentice, Gustafson, to tend to Diego and the store as he rushes out to celebrate with his wife and daughter, Jessica. Fear of not being one-of-a-kind and mass-produced, Diego convinces Gustafson to “borrow indefinitely” Jangle’s book of inventions. This deceitful act leads to the destruction of everything Jangle holds dear, including the death of his wife, an estranged daughter, and the lost faith in himself.

Three decades of grief turns the greatest inventor of all time into a shell of himself. He scolds his young assistant, Edison (Kieron L. Dyer), for his forgetfulness in calling the once-proud toystore as a “pawn shop.” He avails the love advances from the postwoman, Ms. Johnston (Lisa Davina Phillip). On top of everything, he is giving notice by the banker, Mr. Delacroix (Hugh Bonneville), to either pay back the loan or lose the shop. On the brink of losing everything, a spark of hope comes in his granddaughter, Journey (Madalen Mills), who inherited Jangle’s curious and imaginative spirit.

Meanwhile, the fraudulent Gustafson gains riches and nobility from Jangle’s inventions with Diego close behind, reveling in his perfect form. However, things go south as he exhausted all of the book’s ideas and must either rely on himself (which is not an option) or take Diego’s advice and “borrow” another of Jangle’s ideas.

The lack of believing in oneself leads to a waste of potential, no matter how smart or talented you are. Journey and Edison are physical reminders for Jeronicus Jangle of the belief and optimism he once had for himself and his inventions. Another point made in the movie was by Diego, who states that one never stops being a great inventor, acknowledging Jangle’s greatness and Gustafson’s shortcomings. Jangle’s also avoided his past mistakes by having Journey sign documents (which would be critical to the ending) and recognizes Edison as an inventor. Above all, this is

While it has a typical, happy ending, it might be what everyone needs as the year 2020 comes to a close. With the pandemic, government elections, and division amongst one another, it helps to have a film that everyone can sit and enjoy with their families during the holidays. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is currently streaming on Netflix.

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