This is a very well done film based on a true story. It’s about the spontaneous truce between the Scottish, the French, and the Germans on Christmas Eve in World War 1. It encompasses the Christmas spirit like no other movie I’ve ever seen – no wonder it was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards. It also won three awards around the world, including the PSF Peace Award.
Joueux Noel released in 2005 and stars an international cast including Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl and Benno Furmann. It was also one of Ian Richardson’s last appearances before he died in 2007. While there is plenty of spoken English, the other involved languages are used often as well, with the appropriate subtitles.
The movie does an excellent job at portraying everyone as human beings, and recognizing that everyone on each side of the war had their own likes, dislikes and values. Characters aren’t explored all that deeply; they take a back seat to the story and themes, but for the most part they feel like real people. Everyone managed to find some sort of common ground, including their enjoyment of Football (soccer). Pretty much everything that happened in this movie, save for individual characters, happened in real life.
There isn’t much else to say about this movie. The Christmas truce will be mentioned in any 20th century history class that’s worth anything, so most people know how the movie will end. In real life, the truce happened nearly everywhere on the front lines and mostly involved the British and the Germans, but this focuses on a small intersection where the French troops nearly meet the Scottish troops. This truce has such a legacy that there’s an official monument, an annual tournament that will at least last until 2014 (the truce’s 100th anniversary).
Back then though, the truce was highly scrutinized by officials, who made it nearly impossible for anyone to repeat it in future Christmases in any war. It’s also worth noting that Adolf Hitler, who was a Corporal in the German Forces at the time, opposed the truce.
This movie is definitely worth hunting down. It encompasses the power that the Christmas season once had before it became overwhelmed by commercialism and political correctness. It’s well acted, visually impressive and inspiring. Check it out.