As Joni Mitchell can attest, not everyone wants jolly elves and merry reindeer in their holiday media. Some people want a good Christmas cry. For those looking for a river to skate away on, behold Chevrolet’s “Holiday Ride.”
The short film, created with agency Commonwealth/McCann, boasts Academy Award-winning talent at its helm—direction by Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”), cinematography by Claudio Miranda (“Life of Pi”) and score by Rachel Portman (“Emma”). The four-minute spot is a real tear-jerker: based on true events, it captures the story of a man who passes each day taking a peek at his dusty 1966 Chevy Impala, recounting bittersweet memories of his late wife. Portman’s melancholic guitar sweeps into yearnful strings as the man tearfully remembers their fond times together, depicted in textured flashback scenes.
Here’s where things really get emotional. The man’s daughter orchestrates a covert mission to restore the classic car. She recruits the town mechanic—they all immediately understand the car’s significance—and overnight, the car is like new.
In the touching finale, the father finds the Impala and holds back tears as he revs the engine and pulls it around to the front of his home, where the daughter is waiting. “Thank you,” he says to her, “it’s the best Christmas gift I could ever have.” The poignant exchange concludes as they drive the shining car away, down a dirt road.
The story of love, loss and giving will run in shorter variants on social platforms and broadcast television for the rest of the season.