7.1/10
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26 user 133 critic

A Christmas Tale (2008)

Un conte de Noël (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 21 November 2008 (USA)
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The troubled Vuillard family is no stranger to illness, grief, and banishment, but when their matriarch requires a bone-marrow transplant, the estranged clan reunites just in time for Christmas.

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(scenario and dialogue), (scenario and dialogue) | 2 more credits »
5 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jean-Paul Roussillon ...
Abel - Junon's husband
...
Elizabeth Dédalus - Abel and Junon's oldest child
...
Henri Vuillard - Abel and Junon's middle child
...
Ivan Vuillard - - Abel and Junon's youngest child
...
Claude Dédalus- Elizabeth's husband
...
Faunia - Henri's lover
...
Sylvia Vuillard - Ivan's wife
...
Simon - Junon's nephew - the painter cousin
Emile Berling ...
Paul Dédalus - Elizabeth and Claude's son
Thomas Obled ...
Basile 'Baz' Vuillard - Ivan and Sylvia's son
Clément Obled ...
Baptiste - Ivan and Sylvia's son
Françoise Bertin ...
Rosaimée Vuillard - Abel's mother's girlfriend
...
Spatafora - the family friend at Roubaix
Azize Kabouche ...
Doctor Zraïdi - the oncologist
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

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Release Date:

21 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Christmas Tale  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$63,837 (USA) (14 November 2008)

Gross:

$1,060,602 (USA) (30 January 2009)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie that Faunia watches while bored a few evenings before Christmas, is Funny Face (1957). And on Christmas Eve the whole family watches _The Ten Commandments (1956)_ (qv.) See more »

Goofs

When Henri shows a coin to Junon, he first holds it on one edge, in the next shot from behind his thumb and index finger are already around it, before the next frontal shot shows him changing his grip from former to latter position. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia - Ivan's wife: When did it happen?
Simon - Junon's nephew - the painter cousin: What do you mean?
Sylvia - Ivan's wife: I want details. She mentioned a decision you all made. Tell me where and when. Was it here?
Simon - Junon's nephew - the painter cousin: Easter vacation, 1991. At the community centre. You were next door.
Sylvia - Ivan's wife: I remember. Is Ivan aware of this?
Simon - Junon's nephew - the painter cousin: It's history.
Sylvia - Ivan's wife: Was Ivan with you? Or did you and Henri decide our fate behind his back?
Simon - Junon's nephew - the painter cousin: Ivan was there.
Sylvia - Ivan's wife: What did you say?
Simon - Junon's nephew - the painter cousin: Henri and I were talking about you. Guy talk. Ivan was quiet, smiling. Then he said, "If I don't get her, I'll never get over it."
[...]
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Connections

Features The Ten Commandments (1956) See more »

Soundtracks

O Come All Ye Faithful
Arrangements by Mark Ford
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User Reviews

 
No Compelling Reason to Spend Time with This Particular Family
30 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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.

Grade: B


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