Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 27 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: This movie is inspired by a true story, which occurred in the trenches of the World War I battlefield on Christmas Eve in 1914. When war breaks out in the lull of summer 1914, it surprises and pulls millions of men in its wake. Christmas arrives, with its snow and multitude of family andThis movie is inspired by a true story, which occurred in the trenches of the World War I battlefield on Christmas Eve in 1914. When war breaks out in the lull of summer 1914, it surprises and pulls millions of men in its wake. Christmas arrives, with its snow and multitude of family and army presents. But the surprise won't come from inside the generous parcels which lie in the French, Scottish, and German trenches. That night, a momentous event will turn the destinies of four characters: an Anglican priest, a French lieutenant, an exceptional German tenor and the one he loves, a soprano and singing partner. During this Christmas Eve, the unthinkable happens: soldiers come out of their trenches, leaving their rifles behind to shake hands with the enemy. (Sony Pictures Classics) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. With a cast of Scottish, German and French actors all speaking their own language, writer-director Christian Carion has fashioned a deeply moving and uplifting piece.
  2. Though it's not the great film "Grand Illusion" is, and though it may strike some as a little schmaltzy, it still has some of that earlier film's deep feeling and empathy for soldiers trapped in the jaws of war and for the joys of Christmas--for believers and non-believers alike.
  3. The movie isn't perfect – Spielberg-slick, its power is sometimes dampened by melodrama that overstates its message – but it is compelling and thought-provoking and topical as hell.
  4. The overall saga is moving, the performances are first-rate, the production values (which do not rely on the usual cartoonish CGI effects) are strong, and Carion captures the special insanity of stalemated trench warfare with an unusual horrific flair.
  5. 70
    Joyeux Noël finishes up as no more than a garden-variety tearjerker, neatly packaged for Oscar candidacy. It's not hard to see why the French chose this inoffensive weepie as their nominee for best foreign-language film, when they might have had Jacques Audiard's far superior, if more difficult, "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" or Arnaud Desplechin's "Kings & Queen."
  6. 67
    Though a painless time-passer, Joyeux Noël ultimately contributes little to the venerable anti-war genre beyond its curious message that to some degree, war is hell because it prevents soldiers from making really neat friends and pen-pals from different counties.
  7. 50
    It's a heart-warmer, a well-meaning movie that sets out to wring a modern message (and preferably some tears) from a famous but largely forgotten moment in history.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. May 1, 2011
    10
    A very beautiful movie, very sentimental. It represents perfectly a human aspect in war like no other movie did. This isn't your classic warA very beautiful movie, very sentimental. It represents perfectly a human aspect in war like no other movie did. This isn't your classic war movie: it has nothing to do with action or mass death. Expand
  2. Feb 15, 2014
    10
    This is...the "best" movie I've ever seen in my entire life: I almost cried at the end of it, and I tend to watch movies mostly as a way toThis is...the "best" movie I've ever seen in my entire life: I almost cried at the end of it, and I tend to watch movies mostly as a way to communication more than a total. But this movie gives such a strong and powerful message that i was simply amazed and overjoyed.

    The story is based on a real fact on the WWI, specifically around Christmas, where basically the 3 opposing factions (Scotland, France and Germany) decided to stop the war for celebrating Christmas...and it all develops from there what is basically a strong message of peace.

    Infact, this movie shows how a simple festivity, how just the mere act of celebrating a holiday, it's able to change EVERYONE in the span of few instants. It's not even about Christianity sake, it's a global message of how just simple beliefs can bring out the good in people.
    It has some flaws now and then (I hardly remember the characters themselves) but I just loved the message and basically how we should religions not just a simple way to live, but a way to bring out the best of ourselves and to do the right thing.

    Like I said at the start, in my opinion, this is the best movie "ever".

    Of course, to each his/her own.
    Expand
  3. RolandoB.
    Feb 27, 2006
    10
    Fantastic film! Very touching and moving... Plus I enjoyed the music and the amazing cast...
  4. Fill
    Feb 25, 2007
    10
    Those who don't like the film because it's too "contrived and cloying" should go back to commenting on National Lampoon and Those who don't like the film because it's too "contrived and cloying" should go back to commenting on National Lampoon and American Pie fims and let the grown ups talk aboutreal films. Joyeux Noel is fantastic. Christian Carion did his research. He was able to accurately portray a time and place that is difficult for us to understand. He is able to bring out the humanity that exists during a time of war. This is effectively evidenced by the compelling characters that he places before us. Through them we are able to see that the men on both sides were fighting for one thing; the right to go home. A wonderful film. A must see! Expand
  5. JohnP.
    May 31, 2006
    9
    An excellent film. Very well done. And for those who believe it's too "over the top" and schmaltzy, read the actual acounts of this An excellent film. Very well done. And for those who believe it's too "over the top" and schmaltzy, read the actual acounts of this extraordinary event. In many instances, the screenwriter dulled the actual history, lest audiences not believe what they're seeing. The story of the Scottish priest, chastised for not using his religion to support war, was for me the backbone of the film. And a frightening reminder of how zealots of all religions can twist scriptures for their own rotten purposes. A film worth seeing. Expand
  6. Jan 13, 2015
    7
    Merry Christmas is fascinating and touching, but unfortunately too slow.

    The fact that it’s based on a true story really did manage to get
    Merry Christmas is fascinating and touching, but unfortunately too slow.

    The fact that it’s based on a true story really did manage to get my interest. This is not a classic war movie; it’s much more than that. It’s amazing to see people from different nations interact like we humans are all the same. It also gives a new and nuanced perspective on WW1. We see the war from 3 different angles, the French, Scottish and the Germans. The movie incapacitates our differences and show that we are all living on the same earth, and that we can get along. We only have to talk. I admit that there are some slow and less entertaining scenes in this movie, and I expected much more action. But I still enjoyed it!

    Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noël in French) gets a 7/10.
    Expand
  7. RobC.
    Mar 5, 2006
    3
    Extraordinarily contrived and cloying, kind of like a Hallmark movie done in a different language. No way should this be a Best Foreign Film nominee.

See all 12 User Reviews

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