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1,670 Ratings

A Christmas Tale

Un conte de Noël

Directed by Arnaud Desplechin
France, 2008
Comedy, Drama


A matriarch’s need for a transplant from a blood relative brings a reunion of the volatile Vuillard family at Christmas. Yet a simple family gathering can’t begin to describe the unpredictable, emotional experience of this magical drama that’s equal parts merriment and melancholy.

Our take

Arnaud Desplechin’s unforgettable dramedy is a whirlwind tour-de-force and a veritable who’s who of great French actors: Catherine Deneuve, Mathieu Amalric, Chiara Mastroianni, Emmanuelle Devos, Hippolyte Girardot, Melvil Poupaud and more.

A Christmas Tale Directed by Arnaud Desplechin

Awards & Festivals

Village Voice Film Poll

2008 | Nominee: Best Film

Indiewire Critics' Poll

2008 | 2 runner-up prizes including: Best Film

2008 | 3rd place: Best Director

Critics reviews

I don’t love A Christmas Tale, Arnaud Desplechin’s neo-New Wave family reunion—Deneuve and Mastroianni, Amalric and Devos—because it captures the feeling of being with your loved ones around the holidays. It’s so much better, so much worse than that…This isn’t family, but rather, as someone says, “myth.” It’s at once resonant for this most hectic, reflective time of year, and so much bigger, brighter, bolder than life—in other words, pure cinema.
November 24, 2015
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What an obscene, grotesque film this is ([jury member] Hamé said, straight after, that he needed a good shot of gangsta rap to blast this filthy experience out of his system): single-mindedly devoted to exploiting and manipulating every viewer’s queasy feelings about grave illness and impending death, and appending that whole contrived, hyper-busy dance to some tidy thesis about grieving for an absent brother.
March 15, 2009
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