Un conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)

Arnaud Desplechin’s complicated and celebratory story of the Vuillard family’s quest for a complete if not perfect Christmas. Catherine Deneueve stars as matriarch Junon who’s facing a life-threatening illness. Gathering her adult children and their families together sets the plot in motion. Issues abound. Back stories are revealed. This film is very French, very intellectual, very modern. A true delight. Melvil Poupaud provides eye candy as the dreamy youngest son, Ivan. Emile Berling plays tortured teenage grandson Paul to perfection. And Françoise Bertin is subtle and perfect as Rosaimée, one of the most interesting lesbian characters to be placed within a family in years.  Her role is small but the message is mighty. This is not a feel good or silly holiday film. It’s messy and painful at times, but characters redeem themselves and in the end you are filled with hope. A must-see.

Update (12/7/13):  Criterion’s Blu-ray made it my way this season. I couldn’t help but splurge on this elegant film. Desplechin’s Un conte de Noël plays even better the second time around. Gorgeous, messy, visually sumptuous with a lot of cigarette smoking. Each actor plays their character’s complications with subtly and grace. Outstanding non-holiday holiday favorite. Love, love, love.

12/13/14: Screened this at the library for the first International Holiday Film series. Holds up beautifully. It’s dark and delicious and makes you think perhaps your own family – bio or otherwise might not be as dysfunctional as the Vuillard family. In the end, you can’t help but think this family does indeed love each other. 5 out of 5 for this perennial holiday favorite.

12/25/2016: Can’t really say much more than I did the last three times. J’adore Un conte de Noël.


One Response to “Un conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)”

  1. Holiday Film Favorites | Reel Charlie Says:

    […] films where classics and comfort food collide.  This year I added Criterion’s edition of A Christmas Tale to my personal collection so that will be first on my list.  I’m getting the indy Make the […]


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