Mathieu Amalric and Catherine Deneuve try to get into the Noël spirit.
A CHRISTMAS TALE directed by Arnaud Desplechin, written by Desplechin and Emmanuel Bourdieu, with Mathieu Amalric, Catherine Deneuve and Emmanuelle Devos. A Seville Pictures release. 150 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (November 28). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
A Christmas Tale is another richly detailed, perfectly cast seriocomedy from the director of the brilliant, barely released Kings And Queen. (There's your weekend DVD rental recommendation, by the way.)
That film's stars, Emmanuelle Devos and Mathieu Amalric, are reunited here as lovers; Catherine Deneuve gets a meaty role as Amalric's ailing mother, and Jean-Paul Roussillon, Anne Consigny, Hippolyte Girardot and Deneuve's real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni land fine supporting roles as members of a fractured family forced to cope with years of resentments, manipulations and secrets during a contentious Christmas reunion.
It's a lovely, expansive drama, marked by Desplechin's wry compassion for the foibles of various characters without failing to take note of the casual damage they inflict upon one another at every turn.