Merry Christmas (Joyeux Noel) Review

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Christmas 1914, and the soldiers in the trenches of the first World War breifly lay down their arms to celebrate the holy day.


Remember Paul McCartney’s Crimbo video for Pipes Of Peace? Poor you. Still, the scenario for this rather old-fashioned movie will be familiar: that extraordinary Christmas 1914 ceasefire when French, German and British soldiers scrambled out of the trenches and, for one day, dropped bayonets and bigotry for carol recitals and five-a-side.

A bit of a Euro-pudding (France, Germany, the UK and Belgium produced), this is nonetheless a remarkably well-balanced trilingual account and Carion handles his cast with assurance. Though the tone does vacillate between ironic, whimsical and bittersweet, as a memorial it can’t be faulted.

A vivid, quietly powerful recreation of a truly extraordinary moment in history: just not an overwhelmingly moving one.