Forget elves, carols and snow-filled family fun. The recipe for a great Christmas film is actually an American high school populated by mean girls. Okay, stay with me. With some of the most famed film lines of this century, a star-studded cast and a dash of festive flavour, Mean Girls has all the necessary components to be the greatest holiday classic of all time. Mulled wine at the ready, prepare to be convinced that this teen-flick favourite is just what you need to watch to get into the festive spirit.
Written by Tina Fey, Mean Girls was released in 2004 and follows 16-year-old Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) as she leaves behind her homeschooled life in Africa for the vicious corridors of North Shore High School. Quickly, she finds her place as part of the most powerful clique in her year, The Plastics, led by infamous Queen Bee, Regina George (Rachel McAdams). But, with only a small segment of Mean Girls set at Christmas time, you might expect its seasonal glow to be a fleeting feeling.
Far from true, many of the film’s stand out moments have the holiday period at their centre. From Damian’s dramatic entrance in a bright red Santa suit as he ho-ho-ho’s, hands out candy canes and says the unforgettable line, “Four for you, Glen Coco. You go, Glen Coco!”, to The Plastics’ annual performance of festive classic Jingle Bell Rock in bright vinyl mini skirts, the festivities have a lasting (and quotable) effect.
But it’s not just the Christmas scenes that make Mean Girls the perfect choice for a dark December evening. Really, all a holiday classic needs is a solid, life-affirming message at its core.
As Cady breaks apart her prom queen crown and hands it around to the girls in her year, we’re taught that kindness matters more than social status. Her friendship with the good guys, Janis and Damian, teaches us to value the people close to us.
And as Cady’s voiceover says the celebrated lines “calling someone fat won’t make you any skinnier” at the Mathletes final, she reminds us that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and insulting others won’t get you far. The whole thing reeks of sentimental redemption. What’s more festive than that?
To earn a place as a yearly watch, a good Christmas film must also have an element of nostalgia, which Mean Girls has in fistfuls. Set entirely in a high school, it encourages its older viewers to revisit their youth. Filled with enduringly recognisable teen character tropes and the superficial bitching that is only possible within the walls of a school, the 97-minute film takes you right back.
Just trust me. Watch Mean Girls this Christmas and you’ll be hooked by its merriment and charm. It’s a timeless film. A film that, without being too cringe, captures everything a festive favourite should be. And despite all its talk of October 3rd, Mean Girls is well and truly a Christmas movie. Disagree? Well, you’re probably not fetch enough.