From a trans LA showdown to a pastoral Nintendo game, Guardian critics have the yuletide covered

“I know what I’m going to do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that.” The confident announcement of James Stewart early in It’s a Wonderful Life would not be shared by the characters of Tangerine, another festive treat that begins on a dicey Christmas Eve. For LA trans sex workers Sin-Dee and Alexandra, even the next 10 minutes are likely to be unpredictable. All they do know is that, having learned Sin-Dee’s boyfriend is cheating on her, a wrong must now be righted. That Sean Baker’s 2015 film was shot on iPhones is not the only break with Christmas movie tradition. But the meaning and message? As joyful as anything in cinema: no one is a failure who has friends. Danny Leigh

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