Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale) (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)2008

Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale) (2008)



Critic Consensus: A sharp black comedy about a chaotic family holiday gathering, A Christmas Tale is always involving, thanks to an impressive ensemble cast.

Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale) Photos

Movie Info

The devastating reverberations of a profound tragedy echo through generations of a long-suffering French family in this emotional family drama from director Arnaud Desplechin. When Abel and his wife, Junon, started a family, it seemed like the seeds of true happiness had been planted. But while their daughter, Elizabeth, was healthy from the day she was born, things quickly turned dark when her brother Joseph was diagnosed with a rare and deadly genetic condition. Joseph's only hope for survival was a bone marrow transplant, but Abel, Junon, and Elizabeth were all incompatible. In one last, desperate chance to save their son's life, Abel and Junon conceived a third child. But not even little Henri could save his ailing brother's life. Joseph died at the age of seven, and neither his siblings nor his parents have ever found the strength to recover. Years later, family relations have deteriorated beyond the point of repair; the tensions between family matriarch Elizabeth and her cynical brother Henri finally culminating in a violent confrontation in which Elizabeth banishes her alcoholic brother and refuses him further contact with his troubled adolescent nephew, Paul. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Watch it now


Anne Consigny
as Elizabeth
Samir Guesmi
as Spatafora
Azize Kabouche
as Dr. Zraïdi
Emile Berling
as Paul Dédalus
Thomas Obled
as Basile 'Baz' Vuillard
View All

Critic Reviews for Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)

All Critics (132) | Top Critics (48)

[Desplechin] has skill, patience, empathy, and insight; quickened by the holiday occasion, they make the title of his film ultimately, if unconventionally, right.

December 10, 2014 | Full Review…

It's a bracingly eccentric, waspishly intelligent blast of flashbacks, freeze frames, split screens, and bizarre music choices.

December 10, 2014 | Full Review…

Perfect off-season timing for a wickedly off-kilter movie about a French family Christmas in extremis.

December 10, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's maddening and it's exhilarating.

December 6, 2013 | Rating: 4/5

A Christmas Tale is a lively, capricious, mischievous ensemble delight.

December 6, 2013 | Rating: 9.5/10 | Full Review…

Despite occasional bouts of tedium over the epic course, a surprising buoyancy emerges: Desplechin's methods begin to inform, even brighten, the message.

December 6, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale)

Movie 22 is from the Criterion Collection, right away by being in the Criterion Collection you know the movie is going to be a little strange and it is, about a very dysfunctional family who reunites at Christmas time, Mom is sick with cancer and needs a marrow transplant and of course the hated son is the only compatible donor. If your into Indie films then you will enjoy this if your idea of a great film is something with Will Farrell in it (Elf) then this is not for you. 4 Stars

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

This is a really well made film with an excellent cast. It is, however, extremely long at around 2 and a half hours, and while interesting, not a whole lot gets resolved. It kind of reminded me of "The family Stone", in French, and with less likeable characters. The people in this are all extremely flawed and it's a lot to sit there and try and understand some of the motivations. I must admit it did not drag out or feel over long despite it's length, and though I would have liked a few more answers to some things, perhaps it was just not important in the long run.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer


This movie is not for everyone. I'll put it this way, if you thought Magnolia was way too over the top and pretensious, then you will hate this movie from the first frame and should probably just turn it off because it doesn't slow down from it's manic pace one bit. Even to me, there are some stylistic choices that Arnaud Desplechian uses that I found myself rolling my eyes over, but what made me really enjoy this film was the acting and the writing, which I think are some the best I have seen this year. The entire cast is great and each one of them (even the naturalistic kids) give fantastic performances. It's like a Cassavettes film, but stylized and probably one of the most dysfuctional families ever put on film (they are dysfuctional to the point of being confusing in certain parts of the film). Again, not for everyone, but I liked it a lot and thought the ending was beautiful. It's like a soap opera on coke.

Tim Sigur
Tim Sigur

Super Reviewer

Un Conte de Noël (A Christmas Tale) Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features