As a huge Wes Anderson fan, I could never figure out why I didn't like The Royal Tenenbaums. I've tried to like it time and time again but couldn't quite put my finger on what was off. Now I know: It wasn't Un Conte de Noel (A Christmas Tale). At first the story looks familiar. It centers around the Vuillards, a massively dysfunctional family, complete with estranged son and terminal illness. Arnaud Desplechin directs this multilayered film that is equal parts moving and funny, stylistically quirky and intelligent. Kind of like that other film but in French, at Christmastime and with actors who aren't as well-known on our shores, A Christmas Tale reaches a deeper level of complexity and yet remains distinctly lighter than your typical family drama. Add some depth to your holiday film repertoire when it screens this Friday through Sunday at the Modern (3200 Darnell St. in Fort Worth) as part of Magnolia at the Modern, a series featuring critically acclaimed films. Tickets are $8.50 or $6.50 for Modern members. Advance sales begin two hours before each show. For more information, visit themodern.org/magnolia.html.
Fri., Dec. 26, 6 & 8:30 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 27, 5 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 28, 2 & 4:30 p.m., 2008