Monday, December 16, 2013

Movie Recommendation - Joyeux Noel

I don't normally do movie reviews. I guess it is because I never get around to watching a movie until everyone else who wanted to see it has already seen it and that a review at that point seems redundant. I knew after seeing this movie, that I had to recommend it here on the blog. 

It is not a new movie, I warned you already that I am usually the last person to see a movie. It was released in 2006 and was nominated for an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe Award. But the true reason that I borrowed this movie from the library was because Daniel Bruhl plays one of the lead roles.  (He is the German soldier in the middle).

This film is set in France, at the beginning of WWI in 1914. It is told from three points of view, in a unique and non-partial way. The film is recorded in three languages, French, German and English with subtitles for the French and the German. It depicts the lives of the French, the German and the Scottish soldiers stationed about an hour outside of Lens. It portrayed the human qualities of each nationality, their feelings and relationships and fears in a very real way. It made each side appear like-able and for once was not severely biased for or against any one particular side. The average soldier was only sent out to do his duty and most did not even want to fight.

The film is centered around the Christmas truce of 1914. On Christmas Eve of 1914, the some of the soldiers decided that the war would not be won if they held a truce on one day of the year. In this particular depiction, the truce was held between the Germans, and the two allied forces France and Scotland. If you have ever read anything about the Christmas truce of 1914, then this film is for you. Even if you have never heard of the Christmas truce, you will thoroughly appreciate this film for its simple yet profound message. It shows the inherent dignity that every human possesses and that regardless of race, nationality or religion, every man has fears, hopes and dreams. Men in each camp the men longed to see their sweethearts back home, hold their newborn child, see their mothers, protect their brothers or friends from harm and to play a good old game of soccer with their buddies. 

This film sheds light into the terrible truths surrounding the real men on the front lines. It is highly entertaining with beautiful performances from Diane Kruger and Benno Furmann (another two great German actors). Gary Lewis plays a Scottish priest, working as a stretcher bearer, even says midnight Mass for the men in no man's land. Guillaume Canet, a French heartthrob and top-actor, plays the French lieutenant. 

As a note for families, there is only one "bed" scene which shows partial nudity and intimate kissing. The film is rated PG, but use caution because of this scene. I would definitely recommend this film for older teens and young adults. I can't remember hearing any crude language (or reading any), and the scenes of war were less brutal than in many other action films. They show dead and wounded men and actually artillery fires. I just suggest that you use your own judgement on this one.

So, in case you are looking for a good Christmas movie to enjoy this season, I highly recommend Joyeux Noel. You will have to sit up and possibly put on those dusty glasses (as in my hubby's case) in order to follow along, unless you can speak fluent French and German. 

God Bless friends and happy third week of Advent.


  1. Thanks for the recommendation, Tina. I am off to look for a copy. I don't watch many movies either but occasionally I like to share one with my older children. God bless!

    1. Let me know what you think if you are able to get your hands on it.

    2. Tina,

      Bigpond Movies (an Australian version of Netflix) has this movie. We will definitely hire it and watch it over Christmas. I will let you know what I think! God bless.

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