January 3, 2010

Un Conte de Noel or talking cubes in some desolate French town

Plot: The Vuillard family is no stranger to physical/mental illness, loss, and banishment. So, basically, they're pretty much all batshit crazy. But when the matriarch (Catherine Deneuve) becomes in need of a transplant, due to a rare cancer, the whole family is forced to come together, emotional baggage and all, just in time for Christmas. Premise for a sad mad entertaining ride.
Running time: 153 minutes.

Judging by the poster, and the popularity of this film, I expected a multi-faceted lovely visit with the Vuillards, along with a Christmas dinner of cynical & flawed characters, carried forth by clever dialogue. You know, like 99.9% of most French films. Instead, I got 126 minutes of rubik cube people talking. Pugnacious rhetoric. Like, all the time. I slept for 18 minutes. Unfortunately, I woke up way too early and had to fidget in my seat for the rest. Never again will I take a seat at the end of the aisle, against the wall. Nightmare.

The talking cube people monologued to a level, the barometer of talk-measure exploded. Each character was so deeply entrenched in their respective dysfunctionality, this ship of a movie sank. Talking dice. They all were like talking dice. Bumping into each other and hardly acknowledging each other. Even in the same room together, they never actually spoke to each other. And if they did, I did not know what the hell they were talking about. Relatability failed.

The disjointed assembly of characters lacked connections to each other and to the audience. Not a timid spark flew between them.

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