La Buche

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Getting the family together for Christmas never seemed more complicated than in Daniele Thompson's cluttered French drama. Yvette (Francois Fabian) and Stanislas (Claude Rich) split up 25 years ago and haven't spoken since. Yvette has since remarried, but days before Christmas, her second husband drops dead. This prompts a grief-stricken request that her...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Getting the family together for Christmas never seemed more complicated than in Daniele Thompson's cluttered French drama. Yvette (Francois Fabian) and Stanislas (Claude Rich) split up 25 years ago and haven't spoken since. Yvette has since remarried,

but days before Christmas, her second husband drops dead. This prompts a grief-stricken request that her children spend the holidays with her, not their father. Perfect daughter Sonia (Emmanuelle Beart) is obsessed with planning the perfect family Christmas, even though her marriage is crumbling

and she can't seem to get along with her younger sister Milla (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a computer whiz who considers Sonia a bourgeois snob. Eldest sister Louba (Sabine Azema), an entertainer at a Russian nightclub, lives with her father and doesn't want to leave him alone for the holidays, despite

his insistence that he can spend the holiday with their divorced boarder, Joseph (Christopher Thompson, the director's son and the film's co-writer). Louba has also just found out she's pregnant by her longtime boyfriend, Pierre (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), a married, middle-aged real estate agent

who's probably never going to make good on his promise to leave his wife. This is clearly a family with more than its share of broken homes and broken hearts. But there are no problems here that a load of holiday sentiment can't fix, and Thompson lays it on fairly thick. Thompson, who's previously

written films for Gerard Oury and Patrice Chereau, takes her first shot at directing here. One gets the feeling she's taking full advantage of her newfound creative freedom: The film feels fussy and overplotted, and many stray storylines are left dangling. The film is, however, a good opportunity

to catch some marvelous acting — Gainsbourg is surprisingly good, as is Beart — as well as some festive shots of Paris at Christmastime.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Getting the family together for Christmas never seemed more complicated than in Daniele Thompson's cluttered French drama. Yvette (Francois Fabian) and Stanislas (Claude Rich) split up 25 years ago and haven't spoken since. Yvette has since remarried, but… (more)

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