7. The Family Man (2000)
Though Nicolas Cage is most often associated with bizarre career choices and ridiculous action sequences, he’s appeared in a staggering number of movies over his long and impressive career. In 2000, he was still riding the wave of critical success that marked the early years of his acting career, and he had yet to make his most notoriously bad movies. In other words, The Family Man came along right in the middle of Nicolas Cage’s career sweet spot.
In a riff on the premise of A Christmas Carol and It’s a Wonderful Life, The Family Man sees Cage’s successful Wall Street executive offered a glimpse into the life he could have had with the woman he once loved had he not focused on his career as a young man. Waking up in an alternate reality, he gets to know the family he could have had and learns to appreciate the less materialistic side of life before being taken back to his original reality. Set on Christmas Eve, The Family Man contains a great deal of the Christmas imagery we’ve all learned to expect from festive films.
However, despite this, it really isn’t about Christmas at all. Instead, it’s about a man learning to find a balance between his personal and professional life, and reflecting on how mistakes aren’t always obvious at a glance. It’s a heartwarming movie, and it’s very sweet, but there’s really no reason at all to consider it a Christmas movie (other than the fact that it is one on a superficial level).