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.
A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.
Jada Pinkett Smith
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 »
NOEL is an unabashedly romantic little film, the type of movie Hollywood used to make for Christmas seasons before the toilet mouth Bad Santa, etc type became popular. Perhaps the time has returned for us to examine how the world can come together at this time of year, sort of a good omen that we just might all start taking care of each other again! Chazz Palminteri takes on directing this story by David Hubbard, surrounds himself with a top notch crew of actors, and capably and sensitively brings off this little story of the interweaving of five lives on a Christmas Eve in New York City with all the tenderness and associated joy of placing old and loved garlands and bangles on a tree. It is a perfect film for re-discovering the meaning of Christmas.
Christmas Eve in Manhattan finds various characters who are in turmoil at this special time of the year. Successful book publisher Rose Harrison (Susan Sarandon) fights off depression by being kind to everyone: her lonely life is centered on spending her non-work hours tending to her mother who has advanced Alzheimer's Disease (she is divorced without children and without love). Across the hall from her mother's hospital room is a comatose man who never has visitors, and when Rose brings him an angel ornament for is window she meets Charlie (Robin Williams) who apparently has been visiting. Elsewhere in the city is Jules (Marcus Thomas) who informs strangers that his only good Christmas memory as an unwanted and abused kid was one he spent in a hospital after a beating: he plans to have his hands broken so that he can spend the night in the hospital where he hopes to discover joy. And then there is police officer Mike (Paul Walker) engaged to gorgeous Nina (Penélope Cruz) whom he inadvertently drives away with his jealous behavior. Mike is observed by old Artie (Alan Arkin) who recognizes Mike as the reincarnation of his deceased wife and longs to establish a close relationship with his newfound love.
All of these disparate characters interact by coincidence: Rose mistakenly intrudes on Nina's family gathering only to end up in a café with Nina sharing her secret grief for which Rose offers empathy and lessons. Mike confronts the strange Artie who collapses and lands in the hospital where Mike senses his history and gently offers him empathy. Nina and Mike face a condition that alters their relationship, Rose discovers a secret about Charlie that allows her to learn about love and compassion and forgiveness, etc etc etc.
These are little miracles, the kinds of everyday occurrences that our speed of life ignores. If it takes a film of this nature to help us gain awareness of the importance of personal peace, companionship, forgiveness and love, then hats off to Hubbard and Palminteri - and to a wonderful cast of fine actors enjoying their craft. Highly Recommended for everyone with a strong sentimental streak! Grady Harp
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