A Christmas Tale (2008)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Original title:  Un Conte De Noel

France2008, , , , , , , .  Scenario and dialogue by , Arnaud Desplechin, inspired by La Greffe by , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Podcast:  My Criterions.  Cannes Film Festival 2008National Society of Film Critics Awards 2008.  New York Film Critics 2008Online Film Critics Awards 2008.  Toronto International Film Festival 2008.

Imagine if The Family Stone was an epic European masterpiece and you pretty much have this absolutely breathtaking film by Arnaud Desplechin (Kings And Queen). His humane touch is applied to a hilariously dysfunctional family that comes together one Christmas when it is learned that mom (Catherine Deneuve) has cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant. plays the black sheep of the clan, hated by all members of the family to varying degrees, who despite being the least admired, turns out to be the most likely candidate to save his mother’s life. Meanwhile the siblings squabble, the daughter-in-law (, at the zenith of her appeal) struggles with the choices she’s made in life, the daughter struggles with her hatred for her brother and her young son’s encroaching mental illness and Jewish girlfriend tries to survive without actually celebrating the holiday at all. It’s deeply funny and touching, a surprising feat considering just how cruel these people sometimes get, and yet the film never keeps them beyond our emotional grasp. The two and a half hours melt by in a flash.

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