Christmas time for the armed forces becomes an even harder time then ever. Already being away from their loved ones, they have to spend Christmas on their own with the possible chance they could be killed. Not to mention that the families miss their little solider, knowing that their holiday is missing a place at the table. On those dark nights in the desert, private Johnson can only view his family though a photograph. If they cannot find family, then I hope they at least find peace this one day. If the holidays are full of miracles, then surely one can happen for the armed forces.
The world stood still when they heard that a World War had broken out. German, Scottish, and French troops are in a three-way duel for the fate of the new world. This was horrible; so how do you find some Christmas magic? Well, just a week before Christmas, the World War I Christmas truce took place. A remarkable period of peace was agreed upon on the Western Front, as all sides took a break from the travesty. This story is shared in the surprisingly powerful, Joyeux Noël.
In an anthology sense, The story centers mainly upon six characters: Gordon (a Lieutenant of the Royal Scots Fusiliers); Audebert (a French Lieutenant in the 26th Infantry and reluctant son of a general); Horstmayer (a Jewish German Lieutenant of the 93rd Infantry); Palmer (a Scottish priest working as a stretcher-bearer); and German tenor Nikolaus Sprink and his Danish lover, soprano, Anna Sørensen (two famous opera stars). All of them intertwine on the holidays that lead to the decision of the Christmas Truce. A stalemate is still in effect, despite an attempted assault on the Germans. Everything seems heartless on the ice.
Things start getting better when the Scotts are singing festive songs for the occasion. As the German side starts singing Silent Night, the Scotts accompany him with their bagpipes. Following the song, French, German, and Scottish officers meet in No-Man’s-Land and agree on a cease-fire for Christmas Eve. Once word has spread, the soldiers start crawling out of the bunks and greets the other sides. Amazingly, they start to talk to each other, swap photos, and even hold a midnight mass. They spend Christmas day burying the dead of their fellow men and engage in a soccer game. Because of everyone’s generosity, this will make the days after Christmas complicated during the war.
The true kindness of men is expressed in Joyeux Noël. Created a lot of buzz when it was nominated for an academy award for best foreign film. It’s not a big classic, but it’s stating to become more present during the holidays. What I like about this film is how not brutal this is. Unlike Saving Private Ryan that shows the bloodiest parts of World War II, this movie wanted to concentrate on the respite from carnage. This movie is a good celebration of brotherhood.
But besides having a good Christmas moral, the movie looks great. For a French foreign film, it’s very sweeping. The anthology story is taken advantage and you really get a scope of how World War I affected Europe.
I’ll give this five lighted floating candle lanterns out of five. Families with military will find this movie very relatable, especially now.