An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
The daughter of a brilliant but mentally disturbed mathematician, recently deceased, tries to come to grips with her possible inheritance: his insanity. Complicating matters are one of her father's ex-students who wants to search through his papers and her estranged sister who shows up to help settle his affairs.
Christmas Eve in New York, and the lonely divorced publisher, Rose Collins, needs a miracle to improve the health of her mother, interned in a hospital with Alzheimers. She feels sorry for another patient and meets his visitor. Meanwhile, Nina Vasquez breaks her engagement with her beloved fiancé Mike due to his suffocating jealousy, but misses him. Mike is stalked by a stranger, bartender Artie Venzuela. The poor Jules arranges to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital, where he spent the best Christmas of his life when he was a teenager. The lives of some of these characters cross with others along the night. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Throughout shooting the film on location in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Susan Sarandon would catch a 45-minute flight from New York City (where she lives) to Montreal. One return flight from Montreal turned into a reported 14+ hour ordeal due to a blizzard that shutdown most of the East Coast. See more »
When Rose meets her school friend before she goes to the hospital, she gets out of the inconvenient situation by stating that it was 7 o'clock and that she had to prepare a dinner for 35 people. The sun sets at about 4:30 PM in New York in December so it was impossible for it to be light (even twilight) outside. See more »
I like to think my life matters.
Oh, your life matters, you've touched other people's lives in ways you don't even realize.
How do you know that?
Cause you've touched my life.
See more »
"Noel" is a lovely holiday fable that has been unfairly savaged by critics. I found it a charming matching of everyday hard knocks (though only shot partly in New York City) and magic realism.
Key to its attraction are two of the central characters amidst the ensemble Christmas Eve stories.
Susan Sarandon is marvelous as a 40-something woman dragged down by her Alzheimer's mother who undergoes in effect a walkabout through the city to reexamine her life.
Paul Walker is wonderful as a very macho, very New York cop whose explosive jealousy around his fiancée pushes her away. As she is Penelope Cruz in the only English-language role I've ever liked her in, his reaction to how guys look at her is grounded in some reality. His own reaction to her sexy private dancing for him ratchets up the seasonal temperature in terrific chemistry of his blue-eyed blond and her sultry darkness, though I don't know if the televised version on TNT cut anything from the theatrical version.
The central characters are touched by oddballs, played by Robin Williams and Allan Arkin, who are as unlikely as Clarence from "It's A Wonderful Life" or the old man in "Prelude to a Kiss," and similarly help them reach important epiphanies at dawn.
The pay-off also finally comes in a side story about a man with nostalgia for Christmas in the E.R., but is more heavy-handed.
The repeated jokes about straight guys misidentified as gay are of the heavy handed "Will and Grace" mode but are useful to specific plot points.
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