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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.