Home By Christmas

Home By Christmas


A film memoir based on NZ filmmaker Gaylene Preston’s (Bread & Roses, War Stories) interviews with her father about his World War II experiences. Stars Martin Henderson.... More

Ed Preston (old Ed is played by Tony Barry, young Ed is played by Martin Henderson) is on his way home from rugby practice in 1940, when he signs up for the New Zealand Army to fight in World War II. His new wife, Tui, is pregnant and distraught, but he tells her not to worry, he’ll be home by Christmas. And so he is – four years later – after escaping from a prison camp in Italy. But while Ed is away, Tui has fallen in love with another man.Hide

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Flicks Review

While the artistic and continued commercial success of Boy continues to be the big news in the local film scene, you have to hope it doesn’t overshadow this very different but similarly impressive release. In its own way, Home By Christmas should become the definitive New Zealand war movie.

The story is told through an interview with a veteran, which is a fitting way to communicate the events of World War II. Most of us have an elderly relative who went through the battles in far off lands and this method captures the time and distance between those happenings and us. This structure combines with richly-coloured recreations and stylised stock footage that imbue the aesthetic with a faded old world charm, capturing a sense of both romanticism and the harsh realities of combat.

As well as the filmmaking itself, the story it depicts is absorbing. Tales of prisoner-of-war camps contrast with the scent of illicit love affairs back home to create a genuine emotional core. This is heightened by the disconnect between the two main characters, ably performed by Martin Henderson and Chelsie Preston-Crayford (playing her real-life grandmother).... More

A great mix of social history, romance and artistic vision combine to create a film every New Zealander should see.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 41 ratings, 44 reviews
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A higher budget would not have brought out the direct messages of the harsh limitations and realities of what it was like for the young couple and the mental anguishes they went through. They were ordinary folk faced with horrors which some of the insensitive critics fail miserably to comprehend. It is not a documentary or an entertainment film but a strong visual telling of a real story about real decent people who had more strength than the couch potatoes slanging it.

I know that POW's are reluctant to talk about their experiences and Tony did a fine job in recalling these but at times his voice was a bit monotonous. A shame that Martin and Tui did not have more to say when he returned home. Young Edward such a fine young boy.Well done though.

I call it a Doco Movie. As a Baby Boomer I thought
it was great

Seem to recall the film was shortend due to lack of money. Just wanted a few loose ends explained. However, after having lived through the era, found it to be totally authenic. Lets hope we can return to a period were life, was not completly taken over by our GREED.

This movie was a documentary and not quite good enough to go on our large screens. It should have featured on TV. Too much forwarding of the story by talk from the father and not enough dramatisation leaving the audience feeling a bit robbed. The war story itself could have been more interesting, especially using info in regard to him having relationships with other women. Gaylene Preston should have used an actress rather than herself as she looked the same age as her father. Not enough use... More of how they got back together, lose ends were not tied up. Not enough dialogue from Henderson and Tui when they were reunited? Honestly you would actually talk to one another when you see each other after 4 years. Good parts are the fact that Preston told a kiwi story, would have been nice to talk to her father's friends and get their accounts too. I admire her effort in the movie, but it didn't quite reach the heights of expectation.Hide

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The Press Reviews

  • Through old photos, footage from the times and period recreation, the whole story of Ed Preston comes to life - it's a bold narrative touch which makes the memoir stand out. Full Review