Christmas, family, and infidelity. Yvette's husband has died, and her grown daughters join her at the grave: Sonia, wealthy, bourgeois, and generous; Louba, living with their dad Stanislas,...
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Christmas, family, and infidelity. Yvette's husband has died, and her grown daughters join her at the grave: Sonia, wealthy, bourgeois, and generous; Louba, living with their dad Stanislas, singing at a Russian restaurant, penniless, the mistress for the past 12 years of a man who will never leave his wife; Milla, the youngest, acerbic, lonesome. Christmas was when they learned their parents were divorcing 25 years ago. Over the next few days, yuletide depression, Louba's pregnancy, Sonia's crumbling marriage, Stanislas's overtures to Yvette, and Milla's attraction to the man who's her father's rent-free lodger lead each one to re-examine self, family, and hopes. Is renewal possible? Written by
How charming to walk from Christmas-decorated 5th Avenue into the Paris Theater on 58th St. to see Christmas-decorated Paris in "La Bûche" with its soundtrack of American Christmas standards.
I've been told the title refers to the Yule Log, as in "La Bûche de Noel," but evidently everyone but me just knows this and it's never mentioned, let alone translated in the movie. It's a very French, very laugh-out loud funny "Hannah and Her Sisters" or a French Christmas take on the Thanksgiving in "What's Cooking."
Characters speak to the camera to explain the back story on the intertwined family of ex's and affairs and siblings and step-parents, adult children, aging parents (with lives! how very not Hollywood!) and babies. Characters learn about each other, some change their minds and attitudes based on that information, some don't, and family dysfunction continues with not Hollywood endings, but rather endings that make sense for each character's sanity, so are more like real life than Hollywood. Any re-make will take away all the messy charm and focus on the Christmas Eve dinner which unpredictably here turns into an anti-climax.
This is a delight, as the blurbs would say, but with a warning that it is a chick flick --the men are secondary, though quite rounded and not unsympathetic characters.
Stay for the long cute joke in the credits, but I had to infer it because it wasn't translated, so I couldn't tell how satirical it was.
(originally written 12/3/2000)
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