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The poignant humanity on display in Joyeux Noel makes its sentimentality forgivable.
All Critics (110)
| Top Critics (36)
| Fresh (81)
| Rotten (29)
| DVD (5)
Unfolding slowly, then building in momentum like the hymns themselves, this entire sequence is tremendously affecting.
You can't watch this film without thinking about modern wars and about how much easier it is to demonize a foe when language and customs are more at odds.
For all their friendship and yuletide charity, the men must return to battle, and the miracle of Christmas does little to alter the course of war. By the end of it, they must decide if they've witnessed their own grand illusion.
It is strongly and competently told, and the poignancy of warriors stricken by the sound of Stille Nacht floating across the trenches still has the power to move.
Some might castigate its unabashed sentimentality, but I found myself moved, especially when I recalled that this was supposedly the war to end all wars.
It's a respectful, sobering tribute to the flickering of humanitarian spirit amid the darkest days of conflict and, as such, surely a Christmas film for the ages.
A vivid, quietly powerful recreation of a truly extraordinary moment in history: just not an overwhelmingly moving one.
It isn't exactly All Quiet on the Western Front or Oh! What a Lovely War. What it lacks is proper finesse.
It is such a wonderful story and I think it's a rather prosaic treatment that it's been given.
It's a film with great humanism and if it's a little light on true drama or even realism it's intentions are honourable.
Except for a few missteps, the movie is so beautifully and sensitively rendered in its particulars, in its characterizations of soldiers and officers, and in its dramatization of a nearly miraculous event, that the result is an affecting piece of cinema.
The horror of the war, and the startling dignity of these mud-spattered soldiers, will doubtless thaw stony hearts. But the drama is as conventional as a ham sandwich.
A bit heavy handed, and it sets the table for far too long, but it's a refreshing war film in that it's not really about war: little death, no more violence than necessary and virtually no blood or gore. It's a story about people rising above their circumstances, and it's worth watching solely for the tension created as the ceasefire's being brokered. A slow but important film full of beautiful moments.
An incredibly thought provoking depiction of the WW1 Christmas ceasefire between the Germans, French and the Scottish. The uniting of each of the countries is especially moving and we get to see each solider as an ordinary human being, without the trails and tribulations of war on their mind. Interestingly, the meeting of German and French soldiers on some occasions is at times funny to watch, as both try to understand one another.
One of the highlights of the film is the brilliant soundtrack. We see Opera singer Sprink sing to all soldiers in quite a poignant moment, which leaves all 3 sets of soldiers incredibly touched. What is so great about that, is that this relates to all occasions of war and that's why it feels more real that we are witnessing.The film has all the best European actors from; Daniel Bruhl, Diane Kruger, to Guillaume Canet to Gary Lewis. This just goes to show just how brilliant European filming really can be.
This may very well be one of my top 5 favourite war films. Highly recommended.
Inspired by true events during WWI. ......Touching and poignant, this is a powerfully good Christmas movie. Well acted, well directed, well filmed. You see and feel the difficulty of war, the suffering of the men, the bitter cold of a Belgian winter, and the redemptive power of Christmas even through the darkest of times and events. We also get a good sense of the hypocrisy of the various leaders as they frantically thrash about trying to contain the news of a small outbreak of peace on the Belgian front. Highly recommended.
This is the true, although probably adjusted, story of a ceasefire near the French-German border in 1914, where soldiers of three nations stopped shooting to celebrate Christmas together. Being entirely neutral, the movie equally shares the three point of views from German, French and Scottish characters, giving short glimpses at the terror of war in the beginning, but then concentrating on this incredible story of fragile friendship and peace amidst the chaos. The first steps of trust and agreement not to attack each other are very exciting and touching to witness. Thankfully the movie spares us most of the surely ugly aftermaths or an unnecessarily violent ending, which probably would have ruined the message of people searching for a way to get along even in the most unlikely situations. The fact that the commands of all three nations kept these happenings a secret for many years says enough, though. Good cinematography, great acting and a nice soundtrack together with a message of humanity make this one of the better Christmas movies, though.
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