7.1/10
5,605
27 user 133 critic

A Christmas Tale (2008)

Un conte de Noël (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 21 November 2008 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(scenario and dialogue), (scenario and dialogue) | 2 more credits »

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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 ...
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:

Language:

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

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 117486. See more »

Goofs

When Faunia introduces herself to Abel in the foyer, she takes off her glasses and shakes his hand. In the very next shot, as Abel is greeting Henri, she removes her glasses again. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia - Ivan's wife: [about Faunia] She has an ass like Angela Bassett.
See more »

Connections

Features Funny Face (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Lullaby
by George Gershwin
© 1963 George Gershwin Music
avec l'autorisation de Warner Chappell Music France
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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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