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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 ...
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

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 and Faunia sneak out of the house, the camera operator is clearly visible in the door window. See more »

Quotes

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

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

Soundtracks

Ana Baashaq El Bahr
Written by Mohammed A. Rahim and C. Hani
Performed by'Nagat El Saghira'
Copyright EMI Arabia
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A weak skeleton of a movie with no worthy marrow.
29 December 2011 | by (Edinburgh.) – See all my reviews

A dysfunctional family brought together during the festive season because of a medical condition that has been brought to their attention, there's nothing new at all about the general premise of A Christmas Tale. We have stress, guarded secrets that inevitably come out, bickering and superficial discord that eventually shows itself as just a way these people sometimes express their love for one another and someone happily having sex with someone other than their partner.

Written and directed by Arnaud Desplechin (with Emmanuel Bourdieu co-writing), I may be simplifying things here but I feel that this movie had a lot of movie and character moments that I tend to absolutely hate. Infidelity in a movie is often frowned upon or used as a catalyst for a downwardly spiralling chain of events but when it's a woman who is unfaithful, as is the case here, then that's okay. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe in this case it's just that relaxed French attitude to sex on display but this is one of those ongoing aspects of overcompensation that I just get annoyed by. Then we have a number of characters casually insulting each other and asking each other uncomfortably personal questions without batting an eyelid. And, perhaps worst of all, a finale that doesn't really tie things together. Not every movie or story has to be fully resolved but this movie begins with a sketch of incidents and details from a life and then asks questions it never really answers, sadly.

The acting is very good though. Catherine Deneuve is wonderful, Jean-Paul Roussillon is more than a match for her and Mathieu Amalric steals the entire movie as a man painted as quite a horrid figure for reasons unknown - it seems to me that he seems to be the only one of the family who acknowledges problems and faces things directly (perhaps after a hard lesson or two, admittedly). Anne Consigny isn't bad, Melvil Poupaud is very likable and young Emile Berling is superb as a young lad with some psychological problems.

A Christmas Tale has some good moments here and there, and many people think that it's a great movie, but it left me ultimately unsatisfied and disappointed that I'd wasted over two hours in the company of people I didn't really learn all that much about.


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