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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Un Conte De Noel (aka A Christmas Tale) (2008)

A dysfunctional (with a capital D) family gathers together for the Christmas holidays. The mother (Catherine Deneuve) is suffering from a blood cancer and needs a matching donor for a bone marrow transplant. The only matches are her mentally ill grandson (Emile Berling) and her emotionally disturbed and much disliked middle son (Mathieu Amalric, DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY). There's not a single likable character in the entire movie and one can't even drum up some sympathy for Deneuve's dying matriarch. I'm not familiar with the director Arnaud Desplechin's previous work but it takes a genuine artist to make us care for truly unlovable characters and he doesn't succeed here. I was as repulsed by this family at the end of the films 2 1/2 hour running time as I was from the first few scenes. I don't have to necessarily like the characters to enjoy or admire a film (actually I'm quite fond of films about dysfunctional families) but spending a couple of hours with this family offers up no real reason to see it except for some decent acting. With Jean Paul Roussillon, Anne Consgny, Melvil Poupaud, Chiara Mastroianni, Emmanuelle Devos and Laurent Capelluto.

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