War doesn't stop for Christmas unless, in the case of a real-life bunch of World War I soldiers, you simply decide that it's going to. And on December 24th, 1914, that's exactly what happened as German, Scottish and French soldiers declared an impromptu cease-fire and decided to step into Christmas. This Oscar-nominated film takes a lot of liberties with that now-mythic night and also takes the middle road straight through the mushiest, heart-tugging possibilities of such a scenario.
No ironic black humor for these soldiers; there's anti-war preaching to be done. And any parallels between then and now are strictly for the audience to construct on its own. Yet it all works, because director Christian Carion enacts a nice balancing act between heavy-handed message and low-key drama. Just don't expect it to replace A Christmas Story as the holiday favorite in your house.