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Jingle Jangle Is The Positive Black Christmas Netflix Movie We Needed

jingle jangle netflix review
Diaana Babnicova as Young Jessica Jangle and Justin Cornwell as Young Jeronicus Jangle. | Gareth Gatrell/NETFLIX

So if you read my initial thoughts about Netflix’s new (and very Black) Christmas movie, Jingle Jangle, directed by David E. Talbert and produced by his amazing wife, Lyn Sisson-Talbert, which I recommend reading before you read this review, then you know I watched the new film a few weeks ago thanks to Netflix! (I also attended an amazing Cookies and Cocktails event with Lyn and a few others as well, but more about that later.)

 

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I had so much fun on Friday joining the #JingleJangle Cocktails and Cookies zoom hosted by @giapeppers and @stovetopkisses Danni Rose. We made her frozen hot chocolate recipe, which can be a cocktail or a mocktail for the kiddos. It was so good and so much fun talking to all the mommy bloggers and getting to know everyone. We had some real moments on the zoom as women and as moms. I so appreciated their comments on our film and was brought to tears many times. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and thank all of you for your overwhelmingly positive response and thank you @stovetopkisses for your kind words and prayers at the end. Thank you @netflixfilm for putting this together and for our #jinglejangle goody box. Check out the recipe attached and make a frozen hot chocolate for yourself. 😋🍫 🍪 🍹 “This Day” featuring @usher and @kianalede playing in the background. 🎶 PS: I didn’t have everyone’s ig handle to tag. If I missed you or you know someone I missed please put it in the comments and I’ll add it.

A post shared by Lyn Sisson-Talbert (@lynsissontalbert) on

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However, when Netflix announced Jingle Jangle, I immediately caught the Christmas bug. Normally, I shun those who catch the holy Christmas spirt before December 1st, because skipping holidays is not in my vocabulary.

But since 2020 has been a shit show and Covid is scaring folks silly, Thanksgiving is quickly becoming the forgotten middle child, now that the Halloween hype has dissolved. And this is the first year I approve.

I started talking about Jingle Jangle in OCTOBER! I’m screaming because that’s a big thing for me, and I need you to understand that only a few movies could ever sway my emotions like this. Jingle Jangle just happens to be one of those and what’s even crazier is that they had me hooked before I even saw the trailer! These photos are what started my Jingle Jangle obsession.

So when Netflix rang, I came running!

Of course I wanted to screen (and review) Jingle Jangle before the world saw it so I could sprinkle the joy that is Jingle Jangle in everyone’s morning coffee for the next few days. I mean, not only am I writing this Jingle Jangle review, I’m also gonna share the best (and funniest) quotes from the film, two books inspired by the movie and where you can get them, Danni Rose’s frozen hot chocolate recipe I made a few days ago that I can’t seem to STOP making, and our interview with David, Lyn, Madalen, Kieron and Lisa.

So stay tuned!

But right now, I’ll give ya what you really came here for! My full review of Jingle Jangle!

So what did I think of Jingle Jangle?

jingle jangle netflix movie review poster

First of all, Jingle Jangle needs to be seen in theaters! Point. Blank. Period.

And I’m so not joking!

We watched the movie at home and I could tell that having a surround system would put me in my feels 2x as much as watching it on our boring, tiny tv.

I honestly think our tiny tv did this movie no justice! I wanna see this thang on a BIG screen, with the sound blaring from all angles, so I can be completely sucked in.

And if you can give me this in 4D so I can get hit by a (fake – keyword here – fake) snowball during that snowball fight, life would be complete.

But in all seriousness, this movie really needs a theater premiere, and I know they said it should be in selective theaters this month, so I’m really, REALLY hoping I can go see it. Jingle Jangle wasn’t made for my dusty, small screen and I wish it could get the red carpet premiere it deserves!

‘Cause the writing, acting, and production of this film all managed to meet my high ass expectations.

If you know anything about Virgos, you know how anal we are, as perfectionism runs in our blood. And while it’s really a double edged sword, it comes in handy for the arts. (Hello, Michael Jackson, Beyonce!?)

So although I was super excited about watching the Jingle Jangle movie on Netflix when I saw the photos, I was also low key worried it wouldn’t be as good as the photos led me to believe.

And I’m glad to say that this movie was everything and I can’t wait to watch it again and again every holiday season!

With that said, can we talk about how warm and fuzzy this movie made my heart feel?

I noticed that they incorporated elements from not only our Black culture, but also those from Spanish and African cultures as well and I LOVE it.

I mean, the names in this movie are ‘so’ Black!

The lead characters are all Black.

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The story elements feel very Black.

And then they hit you with costumes that feel very reflective of African garments, throw a mini African dance routine to afro beats in and give you a very outspoken, spicy yet hilarious, talking toy (who’s actually voiced by Ricky Martin) to add in a hint of Latin flavor and it all feels so homely.

So often we hear that Black culture isn’t the same as African or Latin cultures, and while this is true, it always seems like folks want us to be divided instead of celebrating our similarities. I mean we share so many things in common, so many experiences that feel so god damn familiar, why shouldn’t that be showcased on screen?

I absolutely loved that Jingle Jangle incorporated all three cultures and made this a movie that we can ALL be proud of!

Plus, I’m not sure if anyone realized but all of the Jangle’s names start with a J? That’s such a Black thing to do that not many will probably even pick up on because it’s so subtle that you have to really know to notice.

I mean … Black folks really will name their kids using the first letter of their own name or make all their kids names sound similar. (My older sister and I share the same ending, and my little sister only lucked out because someone in the family had a kid right before my mom did and used the name she wanted to give to my sister. But my daughter and I both share S.) It’s seriously such a Black thing to do and my heart smiles every time I think about it!

However, Jingle Jangle also highlights a common issue Black creatives seem to have and I’m so glad they did!

In almost every Facebook group I’m in, Black creatives are scared to ask certain questions about their work, or share their amazing ideas and successes because they’re worried that others will steal it. And while you’re probably whispering to yourself “I would never do such a thing” there are many who would and DO!

So to see such a familiar concept shown on screen and done correctly was great. It didn’t even feel like a negative stereotype (although it actually is if we think about it), but it did showcase how the lack of patience some creatives have drives them to insane measures. I mean, imagine having an assistant who just couldn’t wait a few more minutes to have their questions answered so instead they steal your entire life’s work? Imagine working with someone and having them take everything from you because they themselves couldn’t just quite figure it out, so they give up, give into the madness, and steal your work to pass it off as their own to cover up their own failures!

That’s what happens to Jeronicus, (who’s played by Forest Whitaker) who then spirals into depression because of it.

So I really hope seeing this play out on screen gets folks to think before they act! Especially the ending! Stop stealing from others! And god damn it, stop stealing from your own damn people! Your time will come! Trust the process and believe in yourself!

Which of course is one of the messages this movie repeats over and over.

Jingle Jangle is all about teaching us that we need to believe in ourselves!

Not only did they send this message through their “villain”, who I swear is too darn much of a mess and way too funny to actually be considered a ‘villain’. (I mean helloooo, the “villain” in Jingle Jangle is played by Keegan-Michael Key!) But they also sent this message through their kids, and the adults.

When Jeronicus believed in himself, his work and his toy shop thrived.

When the kids (Journey – played by Madalen Mills, and her friend Edison – played by Kieron L. Dyer) believed in themselves, they overcame the impossible!

The entire movie is just one big message that I think so many of us still need to hear!

And I think this is a great time to mention that not only did this movie touch on believing in yourself, it also showed us what happens when we don’t speak kindly to ourselves. I mean, when Jeronicus stopped calling himself an inventor, he stopped being an inventor. What we tell ourselves becomes reality and we often forgot that in the midst of our chaos.

So these messages were absolutely necessary!

The movie also highlights what happens when parents spiral into depression and how it can affect their parenting.

Parenting while depressed isn’t a topic I’m unfamiliar with as someone who’s a single parent and has occasional depression and anxiety spells. But I think so many of us in our “little” Black community forget how important mental health really is.

To watch Jeronicus struggle after losing his life’s work, was hard!

I mean, not only did he completely shut down, but he also pushed his daughter away. Which is something parents in the Black, and especially the Caribbean communities, tend to do. And because some folks don’t even acknowledge depression as a ‘real’ thing, the real issue never gets addressed and kids grow up having to be the parent, and resenting them.

It’s a really bad road to ‘ease on down’, but it’s one worth showcasing so parents can do better!

Oh, and don’t forget, Jingle Jangle isn’t just a regular movie, it’s a musical adventure!

And the songs are great!

The music really makes you want to dance or sing along with everyone.

But the number with Ms Johnson (played by Lisa Davina Phillip), and her ‘back up singers’ is the absolute best!

It was so damn funny! And the number really felt like a Disney movie production!

Plus, there’s this band who plays the music in one of the scenes and the band is full of women! Which was such a great thing for us to see! I mean, how many times do you actually see women in someone’s band? On stage? Not as the lead singer, but as the instrumentalist!?

So yeah … we were told during our interview that there MAY be a Jingle Jangle sing-a-long and I hope it happens!

These songs are worth bumping to and remembering this Holiday season! And I’m so happy they created original songs because I really think that music our kids can listen to over and over again is what really makes a family film so memorable!

Now, I can’t complete this Jingle Jangle review without mentioning the following …

  • The wooden toy animations that go along with Phylicia Rashad’s storytelling are dope AF and I hope they turn them into actual toys!
  • The costumes are incredible, from the print on the dresses, to Journey’s blue jacket! You can tell they payed a lot of attention to the costumes and I love it!
  • I realized at the end of the movie I used to do math the same way Jeronicus does, by writing the problems out in the air, and I thought it was so funny, but it made this movie that much more special to me.
  • Buddy 3000 reminds me of Wall-E.
  • The snowball fight is one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite scene of the entire film!
  • Jingle Jangle also touches on the sacrifices parents make to be great, and how trying to give our kids the world could lead to us pushing them away if we’re not careful.

Last but not least, and probably the most important piece of this review is that Jingle Jangle effortlessly highlighted women in a positive way throughout the entire film!

There were no scorned Black woman stereotypes, no daddy issues, nada!

When it was time for Journey to visit her granddad, her mom (played by Anika Noni Rose) didn’t put up a fight or talk ill about him. And when Jessica talked to her dad, she did so respectfully, and graciously accepted his apology.

When Edison asked Journey if she wanted to be his apprentice, instead of Journey saying yes, she asked if he wanted to be hers!

And when Journey got excited about her grandfather’s work at the end, Jeronicus gave credit to his daughter who stayed up all night to help him finish!

Just writing those things down brings tears to my eyes! We don’t often see women given credit in the real world, let alone on screen!

I mean I’ve watched women be robbed of their successes in all kinds of movies and tv shows, including Lovecraft Country, and even The Umbrella Academy.

So to see Jeronicus give his daughter credit for helping really makes my heart smile!

And with that said, I hope that after reading this Jingle Jangle review you’ll watch the film on Netflix over and over again! It really was a joy to watch with my family and I do think this is going to be a film everyone can appreciate this holiday season. I mean, not only does this film spread amazing messages out into the world for kids and adults, it’s also funny, inspiring, and relatable. For a show that spreads so much Christmas magic, it’s truly one that I think the Black community will be able to relate too. And for that I’m grateful!

Jingle Jangle premieres on Netflix on Nov 13th, so make sure you watch it!

jingle jangle review jingle jangle review

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Written by Shaye Wyllie

Shaye is an Entertainment Writer from Brooklyn, NY and a big fan of anything and everything superpowers related (especially if kids/teens are involved), cooking + baking shows (like MasterChef Junior and Cupcake Wars), teen dramas, sitcoms, comedies, and legal dramas. When she's not binging the latest series on Netflix or writing, you can find her spilling her thoughts on the Brown Side of Disney Chat or creating YouTube videos with her daughter for their new family site, Popcorn and Tater Tots.

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