Joyeux NoŽl (Merry Christmas) (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

Joyeux NoŽl (Merry Christmas) (2006)



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

Joyeux NoŽl (Merry Christmas) Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

The year is 1914, and as World War I continues to rage across the European countryside, four individuals stuck on the front lines find themselves faced with the unthinkable in director Christian Carion's Academy Award-nominated account of the true-life wartime event that would offer hope for peace in mankind's darkest hour. When the war machines began rolling in the summer of 1914, the devastation that it waged upon German, British, and French troops was palpable. As the winter winds began to blow and the soldiers sat huddled in their trenches awaiting the generous Christmas care packages sent by the families, the sounds of warfare took a momentary backseat to the yearning for brotherhood among all of mankind. It is here that the fate of a French lieutenant, a Scottish priest, a German tenor, and a Danish soprano's lives were about to be changed forever. On Christmas Eve of that year, the lonely souls of the front lines abandoned their arms to reach out to their enemies on the battlefield and greet them with not anger or hostility, but with the simple, kindly gesture of a much needed cigarette or a treasured piece of chocolate, and to put their differences aside long enough to wish their brothers a sincere "Merry Christmas!" ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13 (for some war violence and a brief scene of sexuality/nudity)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Art House & International
Directed By:
Written By: Christian Carion
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 14, 2006
Box Office: $0.9M
Sony Pictures Classics - Official Site


Diane Kruger
as Anna Sorensen
Benno FŁrmann
as Nikolaus Sprink
Gary Lewis
as Palmer
Dany Boon
as Ponchel
Daniel BrŁhl
as Horstmayer
Alex Ferns
as Gordon
Lucas Belvaux
as Gueusselin
Thomas Schmauser
as Le Konprinz
Robin Laing
as William
Suzanne Flon
as La Chatelaine
Michel Serrault
as Le Chatelain
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Joyeux NoŽl (Merry Christmas)

Critic Reviews for Joyeux NoŽl (Merry Christmas)

All Critics (112) | Top Critics (34)

Unfolding slowly, then building in momentum like the hymns themselves, this entire sequence is tremendously affecting.

Full Review… | December 14, 2014
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | December 14, 2014
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | December 14, 2014
Orange County Register
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | November 27, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A vivid, quietly powerful recreation of a truly extraordinary moment in history: just not an overwhelmingly moving one.

Full Review… | December 14, 2014
Empire Magazine

It isn't exactly All Quiet on the Western Front or Oh! What a Lovely War. What it lacks is proper finesse.

Full Review… | December 14, 2014
London Evening Standard

Audience Reviews for Joyeux NoŽl (Merry Christmas)


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.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


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.

Sarah Gaish

Super Reviewer


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.

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

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