michel gondry christmas ad

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed Monsters, Inc. with Where the Wild Things Are and that one melancholy childhood flashback scene from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind?

Well, that’s essentially what this Michel Gondry-directed Christmas advertisement boils down to. It’s sweet, surreal, and a little bit sad. Yep, that’s Christmas in a nutshell.

Michel Gondry Christmas Ad

Gondry, the director of one of /Film’s collective favorite movies, helmed a Christmas ad for the U.K.-based department store John Lewis (no, not the U.S. Congressman). In the ad, titled “Moz the Monster,” a young boy grapples with the monster under his bed, trying all manner of schemes to get rid of him — “get out” signs, earmuffs, fluffier earmuffs — until he finally confronts the beast, only to find that he is as friendly as could be.

Partially modeled off of Sully in Monsters, Inc. and Carol from Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the Maurice Sendak classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, the monster is an endearing creature that has a sock permanently stuck to its chest and a bulbous, bouncy nose. The two of them become fast friends who play games all night long, resulting in the young boy losing sleep and becoming drowsy throughout the day. His concerned parents don’t know what to do — until a beaten up gift appears under the Christmas tree for the boy. The monster has given the boy a night light, which will help the boy sleep, but ultimately means that the monster disappears forever. The bittersweet ad is lent an air of wistfulness by a cover of The Beatles’ “Golden Slumbers” by Elbow.

The ad is a bit of an emotional roller coaster, and definitely offers more of a narrative arc than a typical Christmas ad does. But the U.K. puts a lot of stock on Christmas ads — this holiday is apparently the “Super Bowl of British advertising” — so it’s no surprise that they would enlist one of the movie industry’s most prestigious directors for a department store ad.

But this ad does make me wonder when the French independent director will return to feature films — his last film was 2015’s Microbe & Gasoline, and he hasn’t had a prolific project in Hollywood since 2011’s The Green Hornet. He will be reuniting with Eternal Sunshine star Jim Carrey for a TV series, but I miss his particular brand of visual flair. At least we’ll always have Montauk.

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