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Joyeux Noël

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France, Germany, United Kingdom

2005

Rated PG-13 • 1h 56m

Director Christian Carion

Starring Benno Fürmann, Diane Kruger, Guillaume Canet, Gary Lewis

Genre Drama, History, Music, Romance, War

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In 1914, World War I--the bloodiest war yet at that point in history--was well under way. But on Christmas Eve, areas of the Western Front called an informal and unauthorized truce where the front-line soldiers peacefully met each other in No Man's Land to share a precious pause in the carnage for a fleeting moment of brotherhood.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

88

USA Today 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.
70

L.A. Weekly by Ella Taylor

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."
50

New York Daily News by Jami Bernard

You can't go wrong with an uplifting, anti-war story like this, but director Christian Carion trowels on the schmaltz, and the movie's emphasis on Christian values actually seems to spell doom for solving today's conflicts with the Middle East.
67

The A.V. Club by Nathan Rabin

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.
90

The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett

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.
50

The New York Times by Stephen Holden

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?

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