Un Conte de NoŽl (A Christmas Tale) (2008)
Critic Consensus: A sharp black comedy about a chaotic family holiday gathering, A Christmas Tale is always involving, thanks to an impressive ensemble cast.
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Critic Reviews for Un Conte de NoŽl (A Christmas Tale)
[Desplechin] has skill, patience, empathy, and insight; quickened by the holiday occasion, they make the title of his film ultimately, if unconventionally, right.
Despite occasional bouts of tedium over the epic course, a surprising buoyancy emerges: Desplechin's methods begin to inform, even brighten, the message.
Desplechin is an inspired impurist. His Christmas Tale is untidy, overstuffed and delicious: a genuine holiday feast.
It takes about half an hour of screen time, until everyone gets packed into the house, for A Christmas Tale to reveal its nature fully: expansive in narrative scheme, compact in emotional space and self-consciously auteurist to the core.
It's a bracingly eccentric, waspishly intelligent blast of flashbacks, freeze frames, split screens, and bizarre music choices.
Audience Reviews for Un Conte de NoŽl (A Christmas Tale)
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
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.
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.
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