The Vuillard family is no stranger to physical/mental illness, loss, and banishment. But when the matriarch becomes in need of a transplant, the whole family is forced to come together, emotional baggage and all, just in time for Christmas.
Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.
Parallel storylines tell the current state of affairs for two ex-lovers: Nora's a single mother who comes to care for her terminally ill father; holed in up in mental ward, Ismael, a brilliant musician, plots his escape.
Three teenagers are confined to an isolated country estate that could very well be on another planet. The trio spend their days listening to endless homemade tapes that teach them a whole ... See full summary »
Margot and her son Claude decide to visit her sister Pauline after she announces that she is getting married to less-than-impressive Malcolm. In short order, the storm the sisters create leaves behind a a mess of thrashed relationships and exposed family secrets.
The Vuillard family gathers: Junon and Abel, a daughter Elizabeth and her son Paul, Henri and a girlfriend, Ivan, his wife Sylvia and their young sons, and cousin Simon. Six years before, Elizabeth paid Henri's debts and demanded he never see her again or visit their parents' home. Paul, at 16, has mental problems and faces a clinical exam. Junon learns she needs a bone marrow transplant if she's to live beyond a few months: thus the détente bringing all together. Two family members have compatible marrow, but the spats, fights, cruel words, drunken toasts, and somewhat civilized bad behavior threaten all; plus Junon may simply refuse treatment. Do we know ourselves? Written by
"Symphonie Ad Sepulcrum"
Composed by Antonio Vivaldi
Conducted by Anne Christine Leuridan
Performed by Juliette Bartau (violin), Léo Mahieux (violin);Antoine Delsalle (viola), Sophie Daubresse (cello) and Gilles Breux (guitar).
Published by Why Not Productions See more »
No Compelling Reason to Spend Time with This Particular Family
An overly long and incredibly too talky dysfunctional family drama about a clan reuniting for one Christmas to see which if any family members will have bone marrow that's compatible with that of the matriarch, played by a chilly Catherine Deneuve. She's dying of a rare kind of cancer, and the spectre of that eventuality plus the proximity of brothers and sisters who haven't seen each other for a while and have scores to settle puts everyone in a reflective mood. Unfortunately for us, they stay in that mood for nearly three hours, and they talk and talk and talk endlessly about it.
There's far too much plot, some of it quite banal, some of it very interesting. The film is well executed and acted, but it's also distant and cold. I never felt vested in anything that happened to these people, and I greeted the ending with the curiosity of one who has spent a lot of time with something and simply wants to finish it rather than with any real concern for what the ending would be.
"A Christmas Tale" falls into the trap of too many family dysfunction dramas: We all have our own families to deal with in real life, so if we're going to spend 2-3 hours listening to the petty whining of someone else's, it better damn well be worth our time.
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