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

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Universal acclaim- based on 24 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 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) Expand
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. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Joyeux Noël is gritty and disturbing with its extended scenes of war and destruction. It also is emotional, even a touch sentimental.
  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. If audiences are hesitant to believe that the fraternization in this film really happened, it will be because of the storytelling, not the story.
  5. 70
    Carion is no Jean Renoir, but he does strike an appealingly low key of tender, faintly goofy affinity between the combatants.
  6. 67
    Merry Christmas is long and ponderous, but for a few moments, its heavy hand is refreshingly light and agile, and you feel something other than frustration.
  7. If the film's sentiments about the madness of war are impeccably high-minded, why then does Joyeux Noël, an Oscar nominee for best foreign-language film, feel as squishy and vague as a handsome greeting card declaring peace on earth?

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. RolandoB.
    Feb 27, 2006
    Fantastic film! Very touching and moving... Plus I enjoyed the music and the amazing cast...
  2. May 1, 2011
    A 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
  3. TracyR.
    Mar 17, 2006
    Lots of missing the point here. The movie is about how hard it is to wreak destruction when you don't de-humanize the enemy and the message couldn't be more timely. Nothing schmlatzy at all about that reality. Beautifically acted. Expand
  4. Feb 15, 2014
    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 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.
  5. Fill
    Feb 25, 2007
    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! Collapse
  6. JohnP.
    May 31, 2006
    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
  7. RobC.
    Mar 5, 2006
    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 11 User Reviews


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