The Christmas season is a catalyst for so many memories, regrets, slights, and magic moments. It brings out much that is near and dear to us in our family and intimate relationships. But Christmas is also a hectic time that sometimes makes us feel like we've been run over by a train. And depression is rampant among the lonely and the unhappily matched.

All these elements of the holiday season play like an unbroken melody throughout La Buche, which means yule log in English. This French film written and directed by Daniele Thompson, who is interviewed on the DVD edition. The story revolves around a mother in mourning, her three daughters, and their divorced father.

Louba (Sabine Azema) is the eldest daughter, an energetic performer in a Russian cafe who is in the midst of a 12-year affair with a married man. Pregnant at 42, she must decide what to do. Sonia (Emmanuelle Beart) is the talented and beautiful one, the family organizer. However, all that means little to her in the face of her imminent divorce from an unfaithful husband. She's having her own affair with the owner of a flower shop. Milla (Charlotte Gainsbourg), the youngest sister, is a busy professional who has no private life. She's the favorite of her father, Stanislas (Claude Rich), a former musician who after a heart attack has a reunion with his former wife (Francoise Fabian), who's just buried her second husband. The two of them unburden themselves of secrets from the past that reverberate in the lives of their daughters.