Movie and plot overview
In this remake of a 1947 film classic, Dory Walker discovers that her life has changed forever when she meets a mysterious old man who calls herself Chris Kringle. Dory hires Chris as the official Santa Claus in Cole’s department store. Chris’ presence strongly increases store sales, but Chris insists that he is the only real Santa Claus, even for the daughter of Dory Susan, a child who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. Soon Chris is accused of a crime and he goes to court, where he not only has to prove that Santa Claus exists, but also that he is Santa Claus.
The Wonders of 34th Street Film Report
Below is a brief description of the spoilers.
In a fictional version of New York City, Cole’s department store sponsors a Thanksgiving parade in front of its store. Special Events Director Cole Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) discovers that the gala Santa, a hired actor named Tony Falacchi (Jack McGee), is drunk. Dory has to get Falacca out and try to find a replacement. She meets a nice old man (Richard Attenborough) who looks a lot like Santa Claus. An older man is calling Falacchi names because he’s drunk. Dory begs him to take over, and the man takes over. An older man introduced himself as Chris Kringle. Chris does an incredible job during the parade and immediately hires Santa Cole as the manager of the department store for the holidays.
Chris is so popular that the kids of New York are starting to think he’s a real Santa Claus. One exception is Dory’s daughter Susan (Mara Wilson), who is six years old. Dory’s skepticism went to her daughter because of the holidays. Dory’s friend, Brian Bedford (Dylan McDermott), is trying to convince Susan to believe in the magic of Christmas. Susan babysits Chris one evening and shares her Christmas wishes with Santa’s department store. Susan told him she needed a father, a house and a younger brother. Chris asks her if she will believe in Santa Claus when she receives all these things, and Susan tells him she will.
The increase in sales at Cole’s compared to previous years is due to the popularity of Kris. One night Chris walks along the road and Falacchi comes to him. Falacchi struggles to get Chris in trouble for revenge on his replacement at Cole’s. Chris is under arrest for the Falacchi bombing. Brian is a lawyer and is willing to help Dory bring Chris’ case to trial. Brian plays drums in public to support Chris. However, Brian determines that in order to release Brian and release Chris, Brian must prove that not only Santa Claus exists, but that Chris is the one and only Santa Claus. Brian’s formulating a plan that needs Susan’s help.
The case isn’t going well for Chris, and the judge (Robert Prosky) will make his decision, apparently against Chris. Susan, however, interrupts the trial and turns to the judge with a one-dollar Christmas card. Susan points out that we believe the words In God are on the back of the bill. The judge concluded that since the U.S. government can express its official belief in God through money without solid evidence, New Yorkers can believe in Santa Claus the same way. The judge proudly dismisses the case and finds that Santa Claus is real and Chris Kringle is Santa Claus.
After the trial, Chris manipulates Dory and Brian to express his true feelings for each other. The couple realizes that they are in love and starts a small wedding ceremony right after the midnight mass for Christmas. The next morning, Christmas Day, Susan wakes up with the news of her mother’s wedding. She is happy to have fulfilled her first Christmas wish, and even happier to have Brian as a stepfather. After opening the presents, three go to the house that is to become Susan’s house. Once there, they find out Chris has arranged a house for them. They can afford the house thanks to Dory’s exceptionally high Christmas bonus, which is a direct result of Chris’ work at Cole.
After receiving two of her three wishes, Susan now runs upstairs to see her room. Dory and Brian are about to kiss when Dory asks her daughter what her last wish for Christmas is. Susan laughs and tells her mother that she should have had a younger brother. Dory and Brian look at each other in shock before they look at Dory’s stomach and kisses. The film ends with the conviction of the audience that Susan received all of Chris’ Christmas wishes. It says here that Chris went abroad.
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