A low-key, near-total charmer, writer-director Charles Poekel’s “Christmas, Again” captures something ineffably moving about the holiday grind, as depicted in the life of a seasonal Christmas tree seller. Indie stalwart Kentucker Audley, an actor with wonderfully watchful, sad eyes, plays Noel, an itinerant builder whose Decembers are spent in a cold camper on a Brooklyn street surrounded by firs, stands and colored lights, working the night shift.
Customers ask about “that nice girl” who was around last year, and we know this is a painful subject. Noel’s loneliness is palpable, even worrisome, but not pitying, and thankfully, he’s not cynical about the gig: He smiles easily at kids and likes helping customers buy into the illusion that something cut from its roots is one of the season’s most enduring symbols of life and togetherness.
He also rescues an unconscious young woman (Hannah Gross) from freezing overnight on a park bench, and when she returns the next day with a pie, it’s clear something’s in store for Noel.
No MPAA rating.
Running time: 1 hour, 18 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood; Also on Fandor.