“December 23rd”: Christmas disappointment


I really wanted to like this movie. All the ingredients for the cake to rise were there. The title, a nod to my favorite Beau Dommage song. The screenwriter, the nice India Desjardins. Actors I adore, from Guylaine Tremblay to Michel Barrette via Christine Beaulieu and Stéphane Rousseau.

Unfortunately, in the end December 23rd is nothing but a marshmallow film, imbued with good feelings, built on a predictable scenario.

What a shame. It’s like, on Christmas Eve, I unwrap a large present to finally find a simple Hallmark card…

Hello cliché

This film is full of clichés: the single girl who dresses crookedly in baggy clothing throughout the film, but is noticed by the man she secretly loves the moment he puts on a nice dress and puts on some makeup.

The mother of a family who cooks for 15 when she only receives three people. The monocled father-in-law who is nostalgic for the good old days and who is tied to traditions. The businessman who speaks loudly on the phone when he does business internationally. The two lesbians who instead of having children have a pet in joint custody.

Don’t throw anymore, the yard is full. We’ve already seen it 15,000 times.

During the film’s (very) intense promotional campaign, we often heard the artisans repeat: “Finally a Quebec Christmas film!”. But why did we absolutely have to equip our cinematography with a gnangnan genre film?

December 23rd it prides itself on being a comedy. But I only laughed once, during a heartfelt tirade by Guylaine Tremblay against the new generation’s food whims.

The script of the film is anemic. Why didn’t the licensing agencies and producers ask India Desjardins to rework her script to put a little more meat on the (turkey) bone?

I have film friends who have been asked to re-submit their scripts over and over again. We have been lazier with December 23rd why did we think that with Guylaine Tremblay and Michel Barrette on the bill, the audience would still rush to the theater?

The film is very open to diversity (a lesbian couple, two interracial couples, an immigrant family). It ticks all the right boxes. But it’s also very moralizing…

The most embarrassing scene in the film takes place in an ambulance. The ugly one-eyed reactionary hesitates to be treated by a veiled woman.

Misery! Is this really the Quebec image you want to give us at Christmas?

A necessary reflection

At some point, we will have to seriously question the weakness of some Quebec scenarios. How much I loved drunk birds, confessions, The cheaters (to name just a few recent films), just as I regularly fall asleep watching press in front of Quebec films with sloppy stories, predictable plot twists, or characters lacking psychological depth.

We cannot, on the one hand, deplore the end of the Gala Québec Cinéma and, on the other hand, give the green light to films that do not fly high.

We can and must be much more demanding with our cinema.


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