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|Index||44 reviews in total|
After reading the other reviews on this film, I saw the need for an authentic review. With an all-star cast and a story written with such complex layer and beauty, it is hard to not fall deep into the spirit of this movie. As we watch each character move through the day and night before Christmas Day, we see their stories woven into an interconnected pattern which ultimately proves to the magical power that the Holiday casts on our hearts. Each story different, each life full of pain and love; both sides of the Christmas holiday are shown in this film. The lonely and the loved, the heartsick and the passionate, the joyful and the sad - Noel is a Christmas story which speaks to the truth of the magic of Holiday Season. All actors shine in this touching film, with the performances of Susan Saradon, Penelope Cruz, Paul Walker, Alan Arkin, and Robin Williams encompassing intense, simple, and artful portraits of the human condition. If you are looking for a modern Holiday movie full of the rich character and story detail found in the great reels of the past - do not turn to the numerous "Seasonal flicks" found on cable TV - but rather, discover and rediscover the magic found in Noel.
Why try to be a film critic? I cannot understand why people can't just sit back and enjoy a very sweet film without picking out every imperfection. Noel is a movie with a lot of heart. Alan Arkin gives an excellent performance as well as Susan Sarandon. While others may not enjoy this movie because it depicts what the holidays are actually like for millions of people, I found it to represent the loss of connection we have all come to know to well. I think that the message is clear, that people need each other to live a life of substance. As individuals we are lost, but with friends, family and love we have hope. I hope the person that fell asleep watching this film did so next to a wife,husband or life partner and that they just didn't appreciate the film because they can't comprehend what it is like to be alone. I will watch this film every year with my family. It will remind us to be grateful for having each other. Thank you Chazz for taking the time to make this film.
Noel is lovely holiday fare. The tag line could be "Everything that happens, happens for a reason". This holiday story reveals characters that are easy to identify with and through the circumstances that unfold, their lives weave a tapestry of love, growth and the often overlooked kindness of humanity. The storyline and dialogue bring plenty of warm hearted sentimentality to the film which is nicely offset by incidents of comic relief. Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams deliver wonderful performances and you will find yourself deeply caring about their characters. Director Chazz Palminteri brings out another side of Paul Walker, proving that Mr. Walker can do more than just drive fast cars. Penelope Cruz is as lovely as ever lending inner beauty through her character as well. Alan Arkin plays a delightful character with a twist. The remaining cast, including a cameo by Mr. Palminteri, does a nice job of completing the ensemble and giving this story heart. Though the story revolves around the Christmas holiday, it may serve to remind us that each person is connected to one another within the human family no matter what the season.
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
I started watching this expecting a typical TV movie of the week. Excellent writing, directing, and acting by a great cast make it so much more. "Noel" is a beautiful story that is set in New York City on Christmas Eve and follows several characters whose lives intersect including Susan Sarandon as a lonely single woman caring for a sick mother, Paul Walker as an engaged man who can't seem to feel secure in his relationship with his fiancée(Penelope Cruz), and Alan Arkin as a man with a past that he can't seem to move on from. Themes of loneliness, jealousy, regret, are covered as well as love, acceptance, and reconciliation. If you are looking for a feel good tearjerker to watch over the holiday, I highly recommend this under seen gem.
The old Calypso song goes "If you want to be happy for the rest of your
life, never make a pretty woman your wife." But, what are you supposed
to do if your fiancé is Penelope Cruz? That is Paul Walker's (The Fast
and the Furious) problem, and he has a jealous streak. Who wouldn't
with Cruz, but it is going to kill his upcoming marriage. No problem,
Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) comes to the rescue in a strange way
and saves the day.
But, Walker isn't the only one with a problem. Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking) has a mother with Alzheimer's and her life is a mess. Who to save her but a burned-out priest (Robin Williams). Well, they really save each other.
This is a sentimental Christmas tale with some laughs, but it is mostly about Christmas miracles. Watch it for the great cast.
Rose (Susan Sarandon) is an author of children's books who is especially lonely this holiday season. Her mother, who is stricken with Alheimer's disease, is having difficulty eating normally and recognizing anyone around her. Rose, a divorcée, has not had a serious romance for quite sometime. And, although a young gentleman in the office makes a pass at her, she is not willing to have a one night encounter. Nina, a lovely young lady, has a good looking, police officer-fiancé but, alas. Mike has a jealous streak that produces sharp anger and abuse, at times. Nina is not certain she wants to continue the relationship. Meanwhile, others in NYC are dealing with baggage from abusive fathers, criminal pasts, and religious doubts. Is this truly the "most wonderful time of the year?" This is a very compelling but rather serious entry into the world of holiday movies. The subject matter is most sobering, even as there are moments of humor and happiness. All of the performers are fine and so is the lovely look of the film's design. If anyone is feeling down at holiday time, this is NOT the film to bring out for a showing. That said, if anyone wishes to watch a thoughtful movie about real issues, try to find this movie during the off season. It has many assets and will enlighten and entertain viewers at the same time.
This film is about how a group of seemingly unconnected people spend
their Christmas Eve in New York.
"Noel" may look like a romantic comedy set around Christmas time, but it is much more than that. It excels at portraying their feelings and emotions, and therefore it is particularly engaging. Their live stories are real and down to earth, these events could happen to anyone. It helps viewers to connect with the characters. I find Arty's story particularly touching. The parallel between Arty and Mike, although a little contrived, is also nice as it leads to a happy ending.
"Noel" is a heartwarming film. It makes you care and feel for the characters. It might even make you feel for the people around you too.
"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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A curious little film that I received from a magazine DVD giveaway (!) and that I watched in December on a quiet night. It has an excellent cast, great cinematography and a sincere script. Things I liked include the banter between the two cop partners; Penelope Cruz's acting; and an intelligent Susan Sarandon in just about every scene. The problem is that it is a little too sweet. There are some very dark themes -- the death of a baby; a jealous husband's violence leading to death; and a young man so distressed he badly injures himself. Yet the audience doesn't witness these horrible things; they're all just described to us. You get the sense that all the loose ends will be tied up, and the film has quite a gentle pace. But it is obviously a movie made with love, and the cast give it their all. And there are some great ideas and some really lovely scenes, such as Sarandon gatecrashing a party and longing to belong to a big family.
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