Movies Like Un Conte de NoŽl (A Christmas Tale)

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Un Conte de NoŽl (A Christmas Tale) Reviews

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bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

December 10, 2010
Movie 22 is from the Criterion Collection, right away by being in the Criterion Collection you know the movie is going to be a little strange and it is, about a very dysfunctional family who reunites at Christmas time, Mom is sick with cancer and needs a marrow transplant and of course the hated son is the only compatible donor. If your into Indie films then you will enjoy this if your idea of a great film is something with Will Farrell in it (Elf) then this is not for you. 4 Stars
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

November 19, 2008
This is a really well made film with an excellent cast. It is, however, extremely long at around 2 and a half hours, and while interesting, not a whole lot gets resolved. It kind of reminded me of "The family Stone", in French, and with less likeable characters. The people in this are all extremely flawed and it's a lot to sit there and try and understand some of the motivations.
I must admit it did not drag out or feel over long despite it's length, and though I would have liked a few more answers to some things, perhaps it was just not important in the long run.
Tim S

Super Reviewer

December 18, 2009
This movie is not for everyone. I'll put it this way, if you thought Magnolia was way too over the top and pretensious, then you will hate this movie from the first frame and should probably just turn it off because it doesn't slow down from it's manic pace one bit. Even to me, there are some stylistic choices that Arnaud Desplechian uses that I found myself rolling my eyes over, but what made me really enjoy this film was the acting and the writing, which I think are some the best I have seen this year. The entire cast is great and each one of them (even the naturalistic kids) give fantastic performances. It's like a Cassavettes film, but stylized and probably one of the most dysfuctional families ever put on film (they are dysfuctional to the point of being confusing in certain parts of the film). Again, not for everyone, but I liked it a lot and thought the ending was beautiful. It's like a soap opera on coke.
gor41
gor41

Super Reviewer

June 2, 2009
French family drama with strong performances but rather too much abstract philosophizing and strange continental angst for me.
RCCLBC
RCCLBC

Super Reviewer

June 9, 2008
Great acting (I'd pay to watch Deneuve read from the phone book) and an interesting story.

But ultimately it was just too convoluted and left too many unanswered questions for my taste.

Wanted to like it more then I did.
Jeff T

Super Reviewer

December 7, 2008
This nearly-perfect film is one of the great surprises of the year. Strange, not for everybody, moody and beautifully acted, this not-at-all-American portrait of dysfunction won't leave your head for days. Thank goodness.
Harlequin68
Harlequin68

Super Reviewer

November 30, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]In "A Christmas Tale," Junon(Catherine Deneuve), the wife of Abel(Jean-Paul Roussillon), a dye factory owner, is diagnosed with anemia. A blood marrow transplant is one of the only courses of treatment but it is just as risky.(I think I might have seen this on an episode of "House.") Not making matters any better is that she has an especially rare blood type and family members would seem to be the only ones who can help. Of her three children, Henri(Mathieu Amalric) is a match but it is never that easy. To start, the only thing he has ever succeeded at is being the black sheep of the family. The eldest, Elizabeth(Anne Consigny), a successful playwright, bailed him out a few years back on the sole condition that he is banished from family functions. On the other hand, maybe they do not have to go with Henri since Elizabeth's son, Paull(Emile Berling), is also compatible but he just suffered a nervous breakdown at the same age his uncle Ivan(Melvil Poupaud) once did. Regardless, Henri is coming to Christmas, bringing along his girlfriend Faunia(Emmanuelle Devos).[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]"A Christmas Tale" is wonderfully acted by a great cast. However, it never moves that far beyond its character's disfunctions to establish a solid story despite its epic length. In its three ring circus, a subplot comes out of nowhere in one of the outer rings to compete for attention from the main players.[/font]
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[font=Century Gothic]I know a family gathering on Christmas usually only serves to heighten tensions but that's not why this movie is set around that time of year. What it is mostly interested in is the notion of a savior, but on a much smaller scale than that of humanity. This goes back to Junon's first son, Joseph, who died of leukemia but no match could be found for him, not even Henri who was conceived as one. Now, everybody has a second chance, especially Henri who could be Junon's savior. And Henri could have his personal savior in Faunia. [/font]
John B

Super Reviewer

November 27, 2008
Brilliant! A fabulous return to the screen for Catherine Deneuve. Not your typical Christmas tale but the spark of reality makes it a memorable one. Perhaps this family reminds you of your own? :)
Alec B

Super Reviewer

November 16, 2008
For all of its random and strange stylistic choices, a considerable lengthy running time, and general odd ball moments it achieves total immersion in its world for the audience. Its a rare film that allows one the opportunity to get to know a group of people slowly over the films running time. Its a tale of a bizarre, totally fucked up family . . . but one that loves each other in spite of all the terrible things they have done.
lesleyanorton
lesleyanorton

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2011
One of those films designed to make you feel better about your own Christmas gathering. A French family, headed by an affable yet inconsequential father and the kind of mother who shouldn't be allowed near anyone's children let alone her own, get together over the festive season to exchange barbed words and manipulations. With lots of mock-meaningful exchanges, as is the way with lots of French films, it felt like a long two and a half hours. Though not as long as it would have felt if you'd actually lived in that house.
William G

Super Reviewer

January 1, 2009
A dense, involving look at a family reluctantly drawn together for the holidays (is there ever any other kind?).
Grifty G

Super Reviewer

January 10, 2010
Not near as melodramatic or heavy as Tim had me believe. I was thinking about the movie Interiors right before I watched this, where characters never seem to joke or even smile, just wallow in their depression. This movie, while it had plenty of troubled characters, still had its dysfunctional family trying to make the best of bad situations for the most part, which makes it feel much more real. I agree with Cody, the main storyline I didn't really buy was the younger brother's wife. I didn't mind the elder sisters character because I'm not sure you're supposed to "like" her. I thought it was interesting that by trying to "save" the family from the selfish middle brother, she herself becomes the the sibling with the most issues. I enjoyed the film, and it had a nice little ending.
cody f

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2010
This film really had potential to be a great film, but the director got in the way. Great acting all around, but it's Mathieu Amalric who steals every scene. Every time he is on screen this movie works, and it shows why he is having success away from France. The director Arnaud Desplechin lets his style get in the way of the story. If he is not Irising every 5 minutes then he jump cuts every 3. The movie looks beautiful and I was interested in all of the characters, but this got annoying after awhile. I would like to see more of the back history of the family and how they became this way. I also didn't like the forced relationship between the cousin and his cousins wife, and didn't care for Anne Cosigney's unhappy and bitchy character as the eldest daughter. This film is worth watching for every scene with Deneuve, Amalric, and his girlfriend.
James B

Super Reviewer

December 1, 2009
This film may be too European for most people....including myself. But I still found it captivating, even if I didn't 'get' some of it. The performances are all fantastic, and Desplechin weaves the story of a seriously disfunctional family quite well. I'd certainly like to watch it again next Christmas and see how I feel then.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

December 19, 2009
I feel like I didn't totally get this movie. I loved the first half and then some of the characters started to confuse me. It was beautifully made and the acting is good all around but I thought the movie introduced some plot points that never were fully addressed.
Richard F

Super Reviewer

December 17, 2009
An overwritten, overly long meandering saga overrun by a dizzying amount of unscrupulously whiny and contemptuous characters. Yea, you can say I hated this film.
Sarah P

Super Reviewer

December 12, 2009
Don't be mislead by the title...it's not really a Christmas tale or a fun movie to watch at Christmas. But as a film alone, it was interesting and complex.
divinetrash
divinetrash

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2009
It's a very pleasant movie, it never bores you and the relationships between the family seem real; it has very interesting ideas, emotions and some truly great scenes. The problem is, however, that it never has a definite tone and most of the time it lingers unfocused without something to say.
Tom S

Super Reviewer

January 27, 2009
I'm sorry, but I don't know what so many otherwise trustworthy critics saw in this. It was a mess.
December 4, 2009
A Christmas Tale sounds like a real winner: it is an overly long, French film about the royally dysfunctional family of an ailing matriarch (a radiant Catherine Deneuve) who have gathered together for the Christmas holidays. Talk about a crowd-pleaser! Dysfunctional families during the holidays are a dime-a-dozen anymore; but A Christmas Tale is much better than the standard fare. There are probably at least half a dozen central/main characters in this movie and each of them get ample screen-time in which to further develop their character and personalities. At the very center of this family is the dying mother, who's children have gathered around her to try to find a bone marrow donor. An exact match is needed for her survival and the family member with the compatible match (and therefore the likely donor) is the one who had been cast-out of the family years earlier. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly's Matheiu Amalric is the ostracized sibling who must deal with the dilemma in which he finds himself. The family has gotten along swimmingly without him for years and so it is difficult for all of them to accept that this son might be the saving grace of the family. The predicament sounds like a no-brainer but the movie successfully paints the two opposite sides of the canvas -- it is done so well that all of the questions raised sound logical and do make sense (like a well-painted Kandinsky). A Christmas Tale is not lightweight and it is heavy-handed at times. The acting is top-notch, the drama plentiful and the movie itself is rewarding if one wants to slog himself/herself through the compelling character study to get to the end.
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