Joyeux Noel

Based on an actual World War I event where soldiers from opposing sides called a cease-fire and hung out on Christmas Eve, this French film has some stunning moments, but also many schmaltzy ones. Moments where soldiers bust out singing or playing bagpipes feel just a little over-the-top and staged, and a subplot involving two German singers has the feel of forcibly injected romantic ingredients. The movie was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, and it has plenty of positives. Some of the performances are strong, and a subplot involving two brother soldiers is quite moving. The picture looks good with exceptional art direction and cinematography. It’s just a little too sappy for its own good. While the story of German, French and Scottish soldiers calling a truce and playing ball together should be the stuff of an interesting movie, this one isn’t quite it. Besides, the story was told before, in that crappy Paul McCartney “Pipes of Peace” video from the ’80s.


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