A gift to moviegoers, Dear Santa provides a joyous and heartfelt exploration of Operation Santa, a 113-year-old initiative within the U.S. Postal Service that answers letters to St. Nick. The latest documentary from Dana Nachman (Batkid Begins; Pick of the Litter) skillfully juggles the insights of children, the feelings of the season and the aspirations of people seeking to provide cheer in the three weeks before Christmas — and the all-ages, kid-friendly film does it all without spoiling the holiday’s biggest secret.
In addition to chronicling Operation Santa’s past and present, Dear Santa also spotlights the people who make tangible the notion of “goodwill toward men” each December, including interviews with a variety of children who kickstart the process. Each youngster has amusing ideas regarding who Santa is, how his magic works and what they would do if they captured the Man in Red, and they fill the film with a certain innocence and enchantment.
Just as engaging are individuals like the postmaster in Pearce, Ariz., a mail carrier in Chico, Calif., and nonprofit organizers in the New York City area — all “elves” helping Santa fulfill his annual duties. By weaving these stories together, Nachman seems to posit that the magic of the holiday depends on a series of random strangers ensuring that the magic lives for everyone, a bit like the audience clapping for Tinkerbell in the stage play version of Peter Pan.
Starts Dec. 4 at the Flat Rock Cinema