A Christmas Tale

2008 Comedy Drama

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. more..

Director: Arnaud Desplechin

Starring: Catherine Deneuve,Mathieu Amalric, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Anne Consigny, Melvil Poupaud


  • A movie that is almost indecently satisfying and at the same time elusive, at once intellectually lofty -- marked by allusions to Emerson, Shakespeare and Seamus Heaney as well as Nietzsche -- and as earthy as the passionate provincial family that is its heart and cosmos and reason for being.

    A.O. Scott - The New York Times

    29 November 2012

  • What results is a captivating portrait of the most gorgeously fractious dysfunctional family.

    Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

    29 November 2012

  • The movie is enchanting.

    Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly

    29 November 2012

  • With at least nine primary characters and running two and a half hours, it's a big, fat novel of a movie - a domestic epic that fuses bitterness and forgiveness in completely satisfying ways.

    Ty Burr - The Boston Globe

    29 November 2012

  • Density of detail and intensity of experience are the twin distinctions of A Christmas Tale, a long, improbably funny and very beautiful film.

    Joe Morgenstern - The Wall Street Journal

    29 November 2012


  • Best Foreign Language Film

    Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (2009)

  • Arnaud Desplechin

    Cannes Film Festival (2008)

  • Best Foreign Language Film

    Chicago Film Critics Association Awards (2008)

  • Best Supporting Actor (Meilleur acteur dans un second rôle)

    César Awards, France (2009)

  • Prix d'Excellence

    European Film Awards (2008)