7.1/10
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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.

Director:

Arnaud Desplechin

Writers:

Arnaud Desplechin (scenario and dialogue), Emmanuel Bourdieu (scenario and dialogue) | 2 more credits »
5 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Catherine Deneuve ... Junon Vuillard
Jean-Paul Roussillon Jean-Paul Roussillon ... Abel - Junon's husband
Anne Consigny ... Elizabeth Dédalus - Abel and Junon's oldest child
Mathieu Amalric ... Henri Vuillard - Abel and Junon's middle child
Melvil Poupaud ... Ivan Vuillard - - Abel and Junon's youngest child
Hippolyte Girardot ... Claude Dédalus- Elizabeth's husband
Emmanuelle Devos ... Faunia - Henri's lover
Chiara Mastroianni ... Sylvia Vuillard - Ivan's wife
Laurent Capelluto ... Simon - Junon's nephew - the painter cousin
Emile Berling Emile Berling ... Paul Dédalus - Elizabeth and Claude's son
Thomas Obled Thomas Obled ... Basile 'Baz' Vuillard - Ivan and Sylvia's son
Clément Obled Clément Obled ... Baptiste - Ivan and Sylvia's son
Françoise Bertin Françoise Bertin ... Rosaimée Vuillard - Abel's mother's girlfriend
Samir Guesmi ... Spatafora - the family friend at Roubaix
Azize Kabouche 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

21 November 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Christmas Tale See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$63,837, 16 November 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,060,602, 1 February 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish censorship visa register # 207824 delivered on 14-10-2008. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

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

Connections

References Vertigo (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Been A Long Long Time
Written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne
Performed by Brook Benton
Copyright Warner Chapell
Published by The Verve Music Group (1960)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
No Compelling Reason to Spend Time with This Particular Family
30 December 2009 | by evanston_dadSee 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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