If you are in the Christmas Holiday spirit, go watch the Rockettes. This film is not for you even though the title might mislead you into believing that it is one of those feel-good movies that take you into a fantasy world of Christ and Santa Claus. Arnaud Desplechin makes a movie that will remind you of directors like Pedro Almodovar or Woody Allen.
If there ever was a completely dysfunctional family, it is the one raised by Junon (Catherine Deneuve) and Abel Vuillard (Jean-Paul Roussillon). She openly confesses to her grownup son that she does not love him and there are other shocking moments in the film. The downward spiral of the film may have begun when the 6-year old Joseph died due to not being able to find a bone marrow donor match within the family. Elizabeth (Anne Consigny) is so distraught that she forces alcoholic brother Henri (Mathieu Amalric) to never see her or appear at family events when she is present. He keeps that promise but just before Christmas when Junon is diagnosed with leukemia and has only months to live.
The family reunion includes Henri and that is not the only problem that surfaces. Other family members find out unpleasant facts too. While there are no fistfights but the tension is incredible. Recommended only for those aficionados of French cinema who have mastered the patience to enjoy a film whose joy comes not from the complexity of the plot but the interaction and dialog between characters.
Below is a clip from the very beginning of the film (without English sub-titles) that shows the death of Joseph and how Elizabeth settles the debts of Henri in a court but forces him to disappear from her life.