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Reviews, The Snooty Ushers Christmas

56 Days, 56 Christmas Films: Day 55 – A Christmas Tale


So, we are nearly there guys! I’ve mostly focused on classic old films in this last week, but this is a more modern, critically acclaimed, and French language, film. Aren’t I sophisticated!

And today it’s…

24th December, Day 55

A Christmas Tale (Arnaud Desplechin, 2008)

A Christmas Tale

Junon (Catherine Denevue) is the matriach of the Vuillard family. When she finds out she has leukemia, her children have to deal with their multiple issues to spend a Christmas together.

Junon’s eldest daughter is playwright Elizabeth (The Diving Bell and The Butterfly’s Anne Consigny), who has banished her younger brother Henri (Quantum of Solace and Munich‘s Mathieu Amalric) over his mismanagement of a theatre which threatened to financial ruin their family. Then there’s the youngest son Ivan (Melvil Poupaud), who seems to be the happiest of the Vuillard child. While Henri is a heavy drinking, broke mess, and Elizabeth is successful but unhappy, and having to deal with her son Paul’s severe behaviour issues, Ivan plays the cool uncle with no responsibility. When Paul is a match to be a bone marrow donor, he goes to see his uncle Henri to get him to come back to the family for Christmas. Ivan is also bringing his wife Sylvia and his cousin Simon. The film then explores the various relationships between the family members and their parents. Old secrets are brought to light and new problems arise – but will the Vuillard family be able to move on afterwards?

a-christmas-tale

The Vuilliard Family

You know those “get the family together” films that pop up every year? This is the standard they are trying to reach. I reckon the actors in something like Christmas With The Coopers sign up hoping to get the chance to get their teeth into something like this. Mathieu Amalric is great as the troubled middle child, but really, the performances are great across the board.

A Christmas Tale is billed as a comedy drama, but even dramady would be pushing it for most of the running time. There’s very few laughs to be had, and most of them are fleeting, patriarch Abel grabbing a sneaky drink or Henri falling over face first when drunk are probably the only laugh out loud moments. But as films based around leukemia go, this is surprisingly enjoyable. That is mostly down to the way Junon takes on her disease, refusing to take a step back either to her illness or her family. Her strength is a joy to watch, and that makes this film one definitely to hunt out.

Overall, I give this

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4 Gold Rings Out of 5

Pretty much my entire gimmick as a Snooty Usher is that I am not snooty in the slightest. However, I’ve given really high ratings to the two French language films I’ve watched in this Countdown. This could really ruin my reputation!

Well, tomorrow we get to the end, and there really could only be one choice – IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE!

Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.

that's all folks

PS Here’s my list so far

31st October, Day 1: The Nightmare Before Christmas
1st November, Day 2: Rocky IV
2nd November, Day 3: Edward Scissorhands
3rd November, Day 4: Trading Places
4th November, Day 5: Batman Returns
5th November, Day 6: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
6th November, Day 7: Gremlins
7th November, Day 8: Eyes Wide Shut
8th November, Day 9: Love Actually
9th November, Day 10: Lethal Weapon
10th November, Day 11: Die Hard / Die Hard 2
11th November, Day 12: About A Boy
12th November, Day 13: Trapped In Paradise
13th November, Day 14: Reindeer Games
14th November, Day 15: Joyeux Noel
15th November, Day 16: Nativity / Nativity 2 / Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey?
16th November, Day 17: Jack Frost
17th November, Day 18: Jack Frost
18th November, Day 19: Arthur Christmas
19th November, Day 20: The Santa Clause / The Santa Clause 2 / The Santa Clause 3
20th November, Day 21: Miracle On 34th Street
21st November, Day 22: Miracle On 34th Street 
22nd November, Day 23: Scrooged
23rd November, Day 24: Scrooge
24th November, Day 25: The Muppets Christmas Carol
25th November, Day 26: Elf
26th November, Day 27: Home Alone / Home Alone 2
27th November, Day 28: The Grinch
28th November, Day 29: Black Christmas
29th November, Day 30: Jingle All The Way
30th November, Day 31: Rare Exports
1st December, Day 32: Polar Express
2nd December, Day 33: A Christmas Story
3rd December, Day 34: Bad Santa
4th December, Day 35: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
5th December, Day 36: Santa Claus: The Movie
6th December, Day 37: Krampus
7th December, Day 38: Christmas With The Kranks
8th December, Day 39: White Christmas
9th December, Day 40: A  Very Harold and Kumar Christmas
10th December, Day 41: Christmas With The Coopers
11th December, Day 42: Fred Claus
12th December, Day 43: Santa’s Little Helper
13th December, Day 44: Santa With Muscles
14th December, Day 45: Santa’s Slay
15th December, Day 46: Four Christmases
16th December, Day 47: A Christmas Horror Story
17th December, Day 48: The Family Man
18th December, Day 49: Silent Night, Deadly Night!
19th December, Day 50: Mixed Nuts
20th December, Day 51: We’re No Angels
21st December, Day 52: Holiday Inn
22nd December, Day 53: Babes In Toyland
23rd December, Day 54: Meet John Doe
24th December, Day 55: A Christmas Tale

#56ChristmasFilmsIn56Days

About Snooty Usher James

Favourite Film: This Is Spinal Tap (1984) Least Favourite Film: Probably the American version of One Missed Call (2008) Guilty Pleasure: No Holds Barred (1989) I'm the exile of the group, after living in the South for a couple of years I've now moved to Edinburgh to start the next chapter. I've got a wide ranging love of film and TV, but I am definitely the fourth usher in terms of film knowledge. I do however have a stack of DVDs to work through, and both a Netflix and an Amazon Prime subscription with which to get involved. So, even if my job means I don't get to see as many of the new releases as I would like, I hope to be able to chip in with some reviews of my own. My other hobbies include playing the guitar, trying to play the ukulele, Football Manager and Radio 4. I'm also a big fan of wrestling. Part of that means that I have a bunch of ideas for columns that I have stolen from various parts of IWC, so look out for them. But hey, enough of my yacking. What do you say.....let's boogie.

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