Home By Christmas All User Reviews (44)

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


It wasn't what I thought it was gonna be
There you are, we learn as we go along.
Some good moments, some not so.
Highland Park is a great place I thought
Movie wasn't that great though.
Gotta run along!


A cleverly constructed film which introduced the viewer into the experiences of war which have been rarely been spoken about.
The frustrations of being a soldier were highlighted, and while many would want to visualise the hand to hand combat, with bodies falling, or being felled, so much of the time was involved with waiting around for some meaningful action, while the officers in charge made errors, or an occasional moment of inspiration.
While time has accorded well deserved hero status... More on those who served, the soldiers themselves just regarded their involvement as someting they needed to do.
A very thought provoking film, featuring a remarkably convincing performance by Tony Barry with his story telling.Hide


Great Kiwi Film, If you don't like this movie, you've got no culture! Awsome performance form Mr Tony Barry.


Hello to all those reviewers who have low retension,because there were no special effects, how sad. This was a true story worth the telling and it was Lovely. How many very "personal" stories have we had to watch from the USA, Australia,and Britain over the years and several have won awards and I've enjoyed them too. I suggest to the people with Tall Poppy Syndrome,to prehaps start reading books and get real.


I enjoyed this movie. On the surface it's a good yarn about an interesting time but it pays to look a little deeper. Most movies do all the work for us using big budget special effects and our imaginations have gotten lazy but with this movie you need to observe the subtle body language and give your imagination a workout to understand the other dimensions of the story. I am looking forward to watch this movie a second time on DVD or TV.


This is a highly personal story, and I respect Gaylene Preston sharing it with us. I had high hopes for this, but sadly in the end was rather slight.

It is a very uneasy mix of documentary & drama. Also, unfortunately, the lack of budget is a real problem for a period film, with much of the important aspects of the story told using badly photoshopped old photos.

This also felt very much like part of a story, which I understand it is - a companion piece to Gaylene's earlier work.

A shame.


BY Brian1 superstar

but thoroughly enjoyable, and why wouldnt it play overseas. There will be many families around the world who lived through this period and will easily relate to the story from little ole NZ. Worth every minute of watching.
Only criticism lies in Gaylene's persistent attempt at "entrapment" of her father with respect of the things men might get up to when away so far and so long.


I loved the whole film especially the frank and honest narrative.


I must agree with Chris this film read more like a documentary for TV. Yes it was a true Kiwi story that many of you would identify with and hence the rave reviews many have given. For me I felt that Gaylene was to personally involved and therefore did not show more of the drama of the story. It was kind of limp and watered down and the old guy was a bit too laid back in reliving the horror of his wartime experiences. To be honest his voice became monotonous and nearly sent me to sleep. I... More wanted to know more about her mother and father coming together again after he came home from the war and the reality of that situation, which must have been pretty dramatic and difficult. All in all I wanted to be shown not told this story after all it is supposed to be a moving picture.Hide


The acting here was good, particularly Tony Barry. I really did believe that he was Ed Preston. It was obviously a passion project, and the stories he told were never boring, and he was obviously occupying the right frame of mind, as he was completely believable.

However, Tui's side of the narrative is left lacking as it has no resolution to speak of. The description of the movie on this site sets up the entire film, which may be fine because it is a true story, but it ends up being... More misleading. The film was beautiful, though, and gave me a greater appreciation of the mindset of our soldiers, and the things they had to go through.Hide


As I watched this movie memories of my childhood were revealed again. This was such a moving account of those times that it felt as if my own Father was retelling his own experiences. So heartfelt. Thank you.


i did not like it is horrible


Gaylene Preston shows her deft control of the medium, weaving drama, documentary and docudrama together as one in this compelling memoir. The performances are delicate and finely honed. Chelsey's emotions run deep, Bill and Martin show their feelings in spite of their staunch Kiwi outer shell. Albol's inspired cinematography has its roots in the story he helps to tell. Bravo all!


Didn't find Tony Barry a convincing actor in the part at all.It looked as if it was going to be good,but very soon turned out to be bland and boring.l wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends. Typical 'homespun' kiwi effort. Proberly more suited to tv.


What a moving, rich and distinctly NZ film. And what an achievement in terms of the art of filmmaking – it challenges us to think about truth, and the huge resonance of the spaces in what is not said… nothing is simple, but Ed’s story tells of single minded determination to make what must, happen. I think Ed speaks for that generation of men who were my friends’ fathers… and my father's friends. The legacy of that war remains with us in so many ways and your film captures the truth of... More that in the specific that resounds with the universal. Thank you. I am sure many New Zealanders will be seeing this film and joining me in my thanks to you for having made it – in every way.Hide


This film is simply marvellous, go see it.


Dear Watchable,
Your comments are truly tall poppy, this film should be enjoyed in its homeland as a 5 star film, which me and my wife thought it was by the way. I am surprised at your comments, why can't a film be good despite its plays in other territories? It is poignant to us and this website is for NZ not the world, so NZ support this flick, it really is a New Zealand treasure


As a semi-antique person, this brought memories back of my own parents in those times. Stunningly filmed and directed.

Lots of emotions and memories and I really can't understand how anybody could be negative about this beautiful production.


I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to experience a seldom heard New Zealand perspective of WWII sublimely told by Tony Barry.
My criticism of the film is that it lacked the budget to follow Martin Hendersons character throughout the wartime.
However the performance from Tony Barry, and the story he told kept me entertained, amused, and filled with memories of my grandfather.
A must see for anyone interested in what New Zealanders really experienced during WWII.


Tony Barry should win an Oscar. Great little NZ film.


A beautifully crafted cinematic experience, thought provoking and genuinely moving. The understated, almost matter of fact story telling by "Ed", discreetly reveals the true horror of war.


Tony Barry deserves an Oscar. I am going again.


The first words out of my mouth when I left the movie were " I really enjoyed that movie" and I did so I say go and see it for yourself. it was great.


What a beautiful and moving film. The photography was stunning as was the music. The cast was superb with Tony Barry drawing you in with his portrayal of Ed. Chelsie and Martin were both gorgeous on the big screen.
Congratulations to those involved - here is another piece of NZ cinema treasure.


Sorry, this is not a 5 star film and possibly proves the trouble with local websites inviting comments about a local film only attracts comments from those with a vested interest in seeing the film succeed. This will not be released in cinemas overseas as it plods along telling a personal story which may trigger some sentimental memories along the way for many Kiwis. But as a film, it is really nothing special at all. Sorry - wanted to love it.


How many films get a standing ovation? What an experience - Tony Barry's 'Ed' will fill in many gaps for families whose loved ones went to war but didn't say much about it. HBC is a valuable enduring New Zealand film. I'll see it again.


The role of Gaylenes father as played by Tony Barry is a truly moving performance. I have never been an overtly proud, flag waving New Zealander, however after witnessing how great a true blood kiwi bloke can be portrayed through cinema I ran out after and gorged on a pavlova with kiwifruit. I had the privilege and the honor to meet Mr Barry after the premiere. After congratulating him on his rendition of Ed he gave me a jewel of wisdom. "Never go to war" he says, "all that saluting gives you... More brain damage."Hide


I loved the movie. All the actors did a great job It made me laugh and cry and want the story to keep going. My 15 year old son accompanied me and loved the experience and felt he had an even better appreciateion as to what that generation went thru.
well done Gaylene and Nigel


Chris - The Fog of War could play on the Documentary Channel. So could Waltzing with Bashir.

Where does any film "belong"? Just because Home by Christmas would fit on the Documentary channel (which it would) or TV1 (which it will) doesn't mean it fails as cinema.

I think it succeeds beautifully on the big screen - in its direction, construction, photography, and - importantly - in the time it takes to relate.


Tony Barry channeling Ed Preston makes for a remarkable portrayal of a stoic and down to earth kiwi joker. The archival images of the boys at war remind us not only of the horrors but how when abroad you've got to have a laugh with your mates to stay sane. Meanwhile back at home the passions are heating up. Chelsie Preston-Crayford, playing her Grandma Tui, is mesmerizing. Costumes and set are stunning. Take your Mum, your Dad, your Gran & Gramps, your best friend. Heartfelt and heartwarming.


This is no bloodthirsty drive to make a blockbuster story out of war ... but director Gaylene Preston's thought-provoking essay about a modest Kiwi bloke (and loved husband and father), Ed, who reluctantly shares some of his war-time experiences. Decades later, we are allowed real and unusual insights into life as a p.o.w., yet a wry sense of humour laces all Ed's tales. The parallel experiences back home of his wife, Tui, and infant son, Ted, are poignantly yet obliquely caught ...

Tony... More Barry is completely credible as the Ed some of us were lucky enough to know. Chelsie Preston-Crayford plays Tui and in many portrait-like images, tells untold stories with her eyes.

The sympathetic music (by Jan Preston) makes moving use of favourite songs redolent with association to war-time about to be commemorated on Anzac Day. I will be mindful of this film throughout that day...

Every generation in every family tells some stories and keeps some secrets. "Home by Christmas" treads lightly on the dreams and memories of the Preston family members ... and might encourage each of us to think about what we'd like
(or would have liked) to record of our own family's stories.Hide


Loved this film, the shots, the stories, the drama, it had me from the opening shot.


First 'Boy' and now Gaylene Preston's wonderfully moving new film - 'Home By Christmas'. Wow - two terrific New Zealnd films all in the short span of a couple of months.


Loved every moment of this masterpiece


I too have often wondered what went on when our fellows went to war,this film is incredibly thought provoking and a wonderful story for all New Zealanders, I am glad to have seen this film at the premiere wish everyone to take a chance on this film, you will be surprised at the emotional impact it will have.


I can recall so much of my own family history seeing this film and it has made me want to dig deeper, what an incredible cast, Chelsie and Martin light up the screen, their scenes so sincere and moving, Tony and Gaylene are so honest and raw, this film will move all Babyboomers and will be a treasure for all New Zealanders to hold onto.


Found this a wonderful personal account of the 'unspoken' effect war can have on regular everyday families despite our staunch 'chin up, bash on and smile' attitude. Served gently with a dollop of good humor, this will resonate with those who are curious to learn 'the real home stories..


We struggled to stay awake during this long-winded tale about very little. The first few minutes looked promising but boredom quickly set in. We got the 'war is pointless for some' message but a long narration using familiar war archive footage interspersed with a weak romance back home belongs on the Documentary Channel. Does not justify the price of a cinema ticket, very disappointing.