A Christmas Tale
Time Out says
For Desplechin, whose preference is for sprawling, talky ensemble pieces (‘Kings and Queen’, ‘Ma Vie Sexuelle’), Junon’s crisis is little more than an excuse to explore endless family rifts, hidden desires, past traumas and emotional diversions. The effect flits between the wearying (not helped by the running time and a distancing early section) and the engrossing as some storylines and characters work far more than others. It’s Amalric who entertains the most with the bizarre Henri, the drunken, wayward son whom his mother openly dislikes and whose financial disasters have estranged him from his more straight-backed sister Elizabeth.
In Henri’s tow is a new, amused, unflappable girlfriend, Nora, played warmly by Emmanuelle Devos. Elsewhere, though, it’s hard to buy Ivan’s reaction when his wife spends a night with his cousin – just one of too many character or story moments that jar. You could, of course, forgive the whole enterprise as the extravagances of an intellectual fairytale, but the film’s wayward eccentricities outweigh its good performances and breezy telling of a jumble of a plot.
Cast and crew