‘Klaus’ review: Jason Schwartzman and J. K. Simmons delight in Netflix animated Christmas film

Spanish director Sergio Pablos' debut movie is an unconventional origin story for Jolly Old Saint Nicholas

Susan Ramsay |

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Sergio Pablos’ Netflix movie Klaus is a surprise stocking filler for the Christmas season, that turns out to be more of a diamond than a lump of coal. Its whimsical art – rendered in dull colours and 2D as if even the writer doesn’t care – and its really strange characters suck the audience in to the story.

Jesper (voiced by Jason Schwartzman) is the spoiled son of a very wealthy postmaster. His father wants him to be a better man, but Jesper doesn’t see the point. He’s failing on purpose at the postal academy, but that’s not important because he already has everything he could ever want.

Furious, his father sends him off to be a postman in Smeerensburg, warning him that he cannot return until he has processed 6,000 letters within a year. If he fails he will be cut off from his life of luxury, for good.

Smeerensburg is bleak and the people who live there hate each other. No one wants to write letters to anyone else. Even the local teacher has given up and turned to selling fish from her classroom to earn the money to leave.

Scouring the map, Jesper find a remote home and a workshop filled with toys. It belongs to the eponymous Klaus, a reclusive woodsman (J. K. Simmons). Jesper comes up with a brilliant plan to get home. What follows is a strange, LOL adventure that tickles the imagination and leaves most Christmas clichés at the door.