Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas) 2006

Merry Christmas

Critics Consensus

The poignant humanity on display in Joyeux Noel makes its sentimentality forgivable.

74%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 112

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 45,826

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Movie Info

With the advent of World War I, Europe is thrown into a brutal and vicious chaos as men are forced to kill or be killed. While blood soaks the battlefield as Christmas approaches, the men in the trenches of the Western Front face a transformation, however fleeting, toward peace and goodwill. Against all odds, four unlikely individuals from opposing sides (Diane Kruger, Benno Fürmann, Guillaume Canet, Gary Lewis) bond during this bloodless respite to experience the hope and goodness in humanity.

Cast & Crew

Diane Kruger
Anna Sörensen
Benno Fürmann
Nikolaus Sprink
Guillaume Canet
Lieutenant Audebert
Daniel Brühl
Horstmayer
Bernard Le Coq
Le général
Andrei Boncea
Co-Producer
Christopher Borgmann
Co-Producer
Kate Ogborn
Co-Producer
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News & Interviews for Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)

Critic Reviews for Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (83) | Rotten (29)

Audience Reviews for Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)

  • Jun 13, 2012
    Joyeux Noel is a great history lesson and a true example of peace among enemies. It may be a Christmas film, but there is much more spirit and truth in this than we usually see in a Christmas film.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2011
    Very good. Completely different than most Christmas and war films.
    Erin C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 03, 2011
    It's one of the most amazing war stories ever told, and demonstrates the awe-inspiring power of Christmas. Joyeux Noel is an exceptional film that tells the true story of the spontaneous 1914 Christmas truce of World War I. The film does an exquisite job at bringing the characters to life, and at drawing the audience into story. Rarely has a film depicted the life of the World War I soldier and the complexity of war so well. Joyeux Noel is a loving tribute to the soldiers who found the Christmas spirit during the madness of war.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2010
    There aren't very many films about the First World War, and the likelihood of any being made is low now, with no veterans left to tell a story. However, the incident of the unofficial cease fire during December 1914 along one small section of the Western Front is well documented. French film director/writer Christian Carion put together a sentimental film that tells the simple story quite well. While not as good as classics like "All Quiet on the Western Front"; "Sergeant York"; or Stanley Kubrick's "Paths of Glory", Joyeux Noel still captures a brief footnote in history beautifully. The terrible conflict of World War One has left only a few blurred images behind in people's minds, except perhaps in France. This film, set at the beginning of the European conflict clearly shows the entr'acte of what was to become a bloody opera of death in the trenches in France. Carion casts his protagonists perfectly. They're human, not superheros. They are terrified, as the French lieutenant clearly shows in the very first scene. The story has a few surprises in it, and those not familiar with the history of the war will also find the attitudes of the soldiers to one another quite unusual. This conflict was started by treaties and egos amongst the ruling classes in Europe -- very different from the origins of the Second World War. The film shows the divide between the common soldier and their superiors, as the remnants of the old aristocracy drive them to war. It's also beautifully photographed, and also unusual because the narrative is in three languages. Despite their language difference, the three main characters all have very similar backgrounds. They were the first wave of men sent to the front: The idealistic and optimistic ones in the war to end all wars. That they managed to retain some semblance of brotherhood, even for a short time, is remarkable. The film is a little overly sweet, and perhaps it doesn't let the viewer understand that this situation is unusual: What came over the next four years of the war is pure horror. However, the movie is technically well done, and the dialogue is good, and seemed heartfelt. The acting by the multi-national cast is excellent. The characters are all sympathetic and interesting, and although the sub-stories about propaganda might seem heavy-handed, it's not much different from today. It gives you some understanding of the period, and how the young people are manipulated into believing in the righteousness of their cause, or the evil of their enemies. This kind of manipulation Hitler must have understood,(he served in World War I) and used to horrific effect a generation later. It's not a cheerful film, or a big, sweeping one, but it shows the true meaning of brotherhood and goodwill in a way that many foolish Christmas romantic comedies cannot.
    Mark K Super Reviewer

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