Criterion Collection, The | Release Date: November 14, 2008
6.9
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 39 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
27
Mixed:
5
Negative:
7
WATCH NOW
Stream On
Stream On
Stream On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characteres (5000 max)
10
ryancarroll88Aug 27, 2010
From an American standpoint, it seems like a strange notion to gather an all-star cast to create a moving drama, especially under the guise of a Christmas film, but this is France we're talking about, and director Arnaud Desplechin (alongFrom an American standpoint, it seems like a strange notion to gather an all-star cast to create a moving drama, especially under the guise of a Christmas film, but this is France we're talking about, and director Arnaud Desplechin (along with the whole cast) more than delivers. I was reminded a lot of "The Royal Tenenbaums" with the family struggles, and in many ways the two are similar. However, instead of wittiness being infused into the dialogue, Desplechin reserves the quirkiness for the camerawork with uncanny cinematography and editing. This lead to a strange dichotomy in which everything on screen was very tense and dramatic, but as a viewer I felt resilient and entertained the whole way through - after all, (family) drama is something we all can relate to. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
2
DavidKDec 2, 2008
Among the worst movies out there today. The previews present this as a comedy and commentary on complicated families. It is neither. It's an over-long over-bearing jumble of disconnected "ideas." This emperor has no clothes. How is it Among the worst movies out there today. The previews present this as a comedy and commentary on complicated families. It is neither. It's an over-long over-bearing jumble of disconnected "ideas." This emperor has no clothes. How is it possibly getting good reviews? We saw audience members fleeing mid-movie. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
[Anonymous]Nov 14, 2008
Desplechin's joyful, complex study of the constant contradiction and struggle in family life is a wondrous thing to experience. Recalls FANNY AND ALEXANDER even as it sends up the most classic holiday weekend cliches.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
JeanR.Dec 18, 2008
Superb movie. Maw should do herself a favor and stay away from complex, life-like contemporary French films. They are all deliberately "formless," like this one, because they're trying to imitate life, not wish it away.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
tjDec 5, 2008
This movie is about an hour too long. The director makes the fundamental mistake of doing much more telling than showing, which left me feeling absolutely nothing for any of the characters. The film is clumsily shot and and edited. Is anyone This movie is about an hour too long. The director makes the fundamental mistake of doing much more telling than showing, which left me feeling absolutely nothing for any of the characters. The film is clumsily shot and and edited. Is anyone else tired of these devices of having a central "problem" (in this case a bone marrow transplant) that seems to relieve the filmmakers of any need to really flesh out their characters. Overrated and overlong. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
2
MawDec 6, 2008
Agree with David K on this one. For any movie of this particular genre to be successful, the characters need to be likeable, the story needs to have some coherence and a semblence of direction, and it's helpful if the conflicts have a Agree with David K on this one. For any movie of this particular genre to be successful, the characters need to be likeable, the story needs to have some coherence and a semblence of direction, and it's helpful if the conflicts have a believeable resolution. This movie offers none of these, and feels extremely long. We walked out 20 minutes prior to the end, and probably should have left in the middle. Collapse
0 of 0 users found this helpful
3
BobWJan 1, 2009
A dreadful, interminable film. I love European cinema, especially movies from France. But this was painful to sit through. For goodness sakes, stay away.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
kevinJan 3, 2009
i'm not surprised by the middling user reviews for this. it's definitely artistic and unamerican (am i being redundant?), and it's not something that's easy to digest. that said, it contains real people and real emotions, i'm not surprised by the middling user reviews for this. it's definitely artistic and unamerican (am i being redundant?), and it's not something that's easy to digest. that said, it contains real people and real emotions, something sadly missing from most movies these days. after viewing, i felt as if i had spent christmas with the family - a neat trick. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
KatharineC.Nov 28, 2008
How could anyone criticize a move that all the critics seem to love? I tend to like "art" movies with subtitles, but sitting through this darm family reunion was like a trip to the dentist's office: I kept wondering when it would end. How could anyone criticize a move that all the critics seem to love? I tend to like "art" movies with subtitles, but sitting through this darm family reunion was like a trip to the dentist's office: I kept wondering when it would end. At least the dentist's office with clean teeth... but here? This movie contained two and a half hours of lingering resentment, maternal apathy, and a Christmas that nobody would feel nostalgic about -- leaving viewers with nothing but the question, "So What?" The best moment in the theater was when a man stood and declared, "I don't care if it's in French, it's still not a good movie." And then he bravely walked out -- leaving we posers behind. Give me a root canal any day. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
MalcolmW.Dec 21, 2008
Snappy editing? OVER-EDITING. Too many jump cuts that drench the emotion out of a scene. Where are the infamous French tracking-shots and long takes? Also, over-scored. One doesn't need to hear a plethora of music to get the point. Snappy editing? OVER-EDITING. Too many jump cuts that drench the emotion out of a scene. Where are the infamous French tracking-shots and long takes? Also, over-scored. One doesn't need to hear a plethora of music to get the point. Otherwise, impeccably written, acted and directed. But really, more work in the editing room: less editing, that is...just let the scenes flow. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
7
lasttimeisawDec 26, 2013
Today is Christmas Day, so it is the most apposite time to watch this French drama, rife with cancer, marrow transplant, siblings rivalry, unstable mentality, chronic depression, familial incest and distant mother-child relationship, veryToday is Christmas Day, so it is the most apposite time to watch this French drama, rife with cancer, marrow transplant, siblings rivalry, unstable mentality, chronic depression, familial incest and distant mother-child relationship, very Christmasy!

A follow-up of KINGS & QUEEN (2004, 6/10), French art house director Arnaud Desplechin concocts a fine potpourri of familial entanglements around the bourgeois Vuillard family, opens with a consequential animated preamble of the loss of their eldest son Joseph at the age of 6 due to a hereditary blood disease while no compatible marrow transplant is found in both parents, the daughter Elizabeth (Consigny) and the second son Henri (Amalric), who is conceived to offer a cure to his elder brother. But time goes on, a third son Ivan (Poupaud) is born, and now they are all grown-ups, then the matriarch Junon (Denueve) discovers that she suffers from the same disease, the only compatible donors are Henri and Elizabeth’s son Paul (Berling), hence this Christmas, a family reunion is endowed with a more grave determinant, especially for the black sheep in the family Henri, after a 6-year banishment (due to an unspecified riff with Elizabeth), his return with his new Jewish girlfriend Faunia (Devos) will undoubtedly thrust the tension with Elizabeth’s family and have an impact on Junon’s final resolve to her impending treatment.

Screen time is almost equally allotted to the all-star cast with their own stories intermingle in a short span of the timeline, although the main stream focuses on Henri and Junon’s reconciliation, but it is not a beatific movie to bury the hatchet and embrace a pristine future, every family has its distinctive script written with plenitude of relatable interactions, notably, the mutual attraction between Ivan’s wife Sylvia (played by Chiara Mastroianni, Denueve’s real life daughter with Marcello Mastroianni) and Ivan’s cousin Simon (Capelluto) clicks wonderfully in the latter part of the film, it is very French as well, for moralistic puritans and prudes, it is a sheer crevice in their convictions which will prompt harsh opprobrium.

One trait of superfluity is the chunk of monologues, colloquies with staccato coherence, loose ends are all over the place, we can never decipher the real motivations and reasons behind certain behaviors which adhere to a particular terrain of mores; also the peephole shots introduces each chapter gives the film a stage structure and the occasional talk-to-the-camera shtick often comes out of nowhere, they may variegate the viewers’ recipiency but are inconsistent in the plot development and engender some distractions hinder the appreciation.

Amalric and Mastroianni are my pick among the ensemble, he is a true thespian with utter devotion while she bears her father’s resemblance and an arresting existence whenever she is on screen. Devos is enjoyable as an unobtrusive intruder (reminds me to watch an Angela Basset film), Denueve is as distant as always, graceful but stereotyped, Poupaud is too damn good-looking for his shyness and benevolence and Consigny is perpetually frowned and distressed, enclosed in her own little world, one might feel too depressed to invest in her.

In conclusion, it is not your average Christmas flick, but a less chic showpiece about kindred liaisons than Assayas’ SUMMER HOURS (2008, 8/10).
Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
PalomarSep 11, 2013
Very tense and sensitive movie. The actors have never been so right ,and well directed, and the photography is simply amazing. Although the subject is dramatic, there is a strange sense of irreality pervading in the most beautiful momentsVery tense and sensitive movie. The actors have never been so right ,and well directed, and the photography is simply amazing. Although the subject is dramatic, there is a strange sense of irreality pervading in the most beautiful moments (The Christmas Play by the Children, the love night between Simon and Sylvia... Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews