This movie starts off when the Thanksgiving Day parade is getting underway. Cole’s department store (not to be confused with Kohl’s) is the main event, and their Santa Claus is drunk. He is too intoxicated to stand straight, let alone talk to children. Who decides to step in? Why, the real Santa Claus, of course! Kris Kringle is his real name, and he does an amazing job! Such an amazing job, in fact, that the events director Dorey Walker (Elizabeth Perkins) hires Kris as the Cole’s Santa Claus for the season on the spot!
During the parade while Dorey is taking charge and doing her job, her daughter Susan (Mara Wilson) is hanging out with Dorey’s boyfriend Bryan (Dylan McDermott) and watching the parade. Dorey has taught her daughter that it is foolish to believe in things like Santa Claus, and although Kris claims he is the real Santa, there is no such thing. Bryan tries to convince Susan to believe despite what her mother says.
While working at Cole’s, Kris makes quite an impression on Susan and the family. Susan sees him speak in sign language to a deaf boy. She also tugged on his beard and saw that it was real! Then, the store began a new advertising campaign because Santa was telling everyone where they could find specific toys their children were asking for, even if they were at other stores. Kris even babysat Susan sometimes!
Everyone loved Kris… except for the other department store rivaling Cole’s. They hated how much business the Santa was bringing to Cole’s. They decided to hire the old Cole’s Santa to badger Kris and call him a pedophile, etc… The old drunk Santa claims that Kris assaulted him with his cane.
In court, Susan saves Kris’s case with a dollar bill. On it, she circled the part that says “IN GOD WE TRUST”. The judge realizes that if the government can put that phrase on a dollar bill, not actually being able to prove the existence of God, they can rule that Santa Claus does exist in the form of Kris Kringle, the Cole’s Santa Claus.
In the end, Susan gets her new house she asked Santa for, Bryan and her mom get engaged, and it is implied that Susan may have a baby brother on the way. This is the kind of movie that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart.
Overall, I give Miracle on 34th Street a 4/5. There are some slow parts, and I did not find Mara Wilson’s adult vocabulary cute, but annoying. Nevertheless, a great film for the holiday season.