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A Christmas Tale (2008)

Un conte de Noël (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 21 November 2008 (USA)
2:19 | Trailer

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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.



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



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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 ...
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


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


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

21 November 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Christmas Tale  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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


$1,060,602 (USA) (30 January 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


French visa # 117486. See more »


While Henri is at the barber shop being shaven, the shaving cream appears and disappears from his upper lip between shots. See more »


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."
See more »


Features A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) See more »


Concerto N°2: L'estro armonico, Op. 3
Music by Antonio Vivaldi (as Vivaldi)
Conducted by Fabio Biondi
Performed by Europa Galante
(p) 1998 EMI Records Ltd/Virgin Classics
See more »

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User Reviews

very satisfying movie
22 November 2008 | by (Northern California) – See all my reviews

I can't say I'm a huge fan of Arnaud Despleshin's films, but of all the ones I've seen, this is my favorite. The first few scenes of the movie, with its flashbacks and quick cuts seem disjointed at first, but it does really quickly pull you into the family situation. And when the family does finally arrive altogether at the Vuillard house, you almost feel as if you're one of the guests. All the actors are wonderful, but I must say that Amalric, who almost always plays this type of character in Despleshin films (Kings and Queen, My Sex Life, etc.) is terrific in this film. He's much more likable here. And Emmanuelle Devos has such presence in this movie that she steals pretty much every scene she's in. The rest of the cast, Deneuve, Rousillion and Cosigny are all terrific.

I love how the script deals with so many subjects, not only of the family history and Junon's need for a donor, but also touches on everything from mathematics to philosophy to literature, to all types of music, religion, and all geared towards how all these things enhance, and does not consume, the life of the family. It was very refreshing to see this family, although messed up in so many ways, to live free of convention, children curse, everyone's smoking and/or drinking, telling each other what they really feel and think and/or not feel and think. I also liked that the house felt like a house that people actually lived in.

30 of 43 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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