A Christmas Tale

150 minutes

French director Arnaud Desplechin (Kings and Queen) sets this overstuffed drama in the northern provincial town of Roubaix, his birthplace, which he also considered in his 2007 documentary L'Aimee. A dysfunctional clan gathers there for the holidays, arguing over a compatible bone-marrow donor for the leukemia-stricken mother (Catherine Deneuve); hovering like a ghost is the memory of the firstborn son, whose death has polarized his sister (Anne Consigny) and black-sheep brother (Mathieu Amalric). Characters occasionally address the camera, which helps disentangle the competing story lines of madness, adultery, and betrayal. With Emmanuelle Devos and Chiara Mastroianni. In French with subtitles.

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