The Noel Diary (2022) Poster

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7/10
I really enjoyed this!
arod_8528 November 2022
I expected a dreaded Hallmark movie with a very weak plot but decided I would give this a shot due to Justin Hartley. I ended up enjoying it. It is a very simplistic movie, but it is far better than anything you would find on the Hallmark channel. It's a sentimental holiday movie that feels very Nicolas Sparks-esqe. There is a believable chemistry between both the leads but because I need to fill up IMBD's 600 character requirement, my only critique would be that maybe the female lead needed to be slightly older because the male lead looked closer in age to the female lead's mother. However, that was not enough to keep me from enjoying it. She was a great actress. Still a very sweet movie that I thoroughly enjoyed.
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3/10
Let down.
Whitneywest1028 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
It had everything there to be great. But then it just felt like a lot was done for over an hour for things to be wrapped up in unconventional ways. I know that's where my low rating comes from and I'm guessing others too. You only see Jake with his dad for a short time, Rachel never actually connects with her mom, and then to top it off Jake and Rachel don't actually cement anything final on camera. I would have been 100% okay with not getting the romance part because I'll get my overdose with Hallmark but to never see Rachel and her mom together?! Unforgivable. I get what the message is but I'm a human living in 2022, I want my payoff if I'm committing my watch time. Love the leads and supporting cast. Loved the setting. Loved the acting. But overall, this missed the mark for me.
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5/10
Cheating is not cool
magnoliacream29 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I had been able to finish 80+ episode dramas but could not finish this 1.5-hour movie. There was zero chemistry between the leads and one of them was cheating on her fiancé who she was bad-mouthing to an almost stranger. No matter how bad the fiancé was, and he was not even that bad, a decent person would end a current relationship first before embarking on a new one. And the male lead was well aware of her engagement yet had no compunction being romantic with her while her fiancé was enthusiastically planning an engagement party.

I also found it absurd that Rachel, whose supposedly main purpose in stalking Jake's house then driving from Massachusetts to Vermont with him was to find her mother, would take days to read her mother's diary but took one night to read Jake's novel that looked like it had more pages than the diary. There are many more absurdities, e.g., how could they sleep in the car in freezing weather, that turned me off.

The only reason I did not give this a 1 star was because of the Christmas theme. I could never totally thrash anything in this genre.
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1/10
The Tree in The Picture!
p-dinning28 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
Just a few things wrong with this movie: 1/ It took over a week before Jake was informed of his mother's death. 2/ Why was it a big deal with Rachel being multi lingual ? 3/ They were sleeping in a car in cold winter conditions. 4/ when Jake and his Dad reunited after 35 years there was no emotion. 5/ Jake and his Dad decorated the Christmas tree while Rachel was outside. 6/ Rachel read Jakes book before her mothers precious diary. 7/ The cheating was deemed acceptable. 8/ Having been desperate to find her mother Rachel didn't contact her when she found out where she was. 9/ What was the big deal with the necklace Rachel's Dad gave her!. 10/ The worst part of all was when the neighbour gave Jake the picture she'd painted of the house...with the tree added to it. The tree that Jakes brother had fallen out of and died!.
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5/10
HOW DOES IT END LIKE THAT??????
berengeredarmont1 December 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I actually quite liked the movie throughout. It is better than most Netflix movies out there, but SERIOUSLY?!?! Rachel doesn't meet her mother.... No no, after being prepared to drive (for how ever long) to try and find her last address or her even just her name then take back the car (for how ever long) to reach someone that might know where she went 30 years ago, she decides she is contempt enough after reading her diary. Her mother is very much alive and willing to meet her long lost daughter, and the fact that we meet her is even worst. That was the whole point of the story. SO disappointing. I had a complet case of "unfinished business" when the credits rolled.
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3/10
Maudlin
deliabattie24 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
Little boys who die putting up Christmas decorations in trees is not festive. Cheating on your fiancé is not romantic. I absolutely cannot root for a couple when one is already engaged when they meet. Why are so many romantic Christmas films based on this premise! It is absolutely horrible!

Plus who on Earth puts out candles with their fingers? And, if you had your long lost mother's diary to read and the aim of your trip was to find her, would you really put it aside to read a crime novel written by your hunky new travelling companion? I can see why Netflix released this in November rather than closer to Christmas, it is not full of Christmas cheer.
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2/10
Cheesy
marcovinicio-749213 December 2022
Just one comment: "there's only one room available" and 5 minutes later she has new dress and straight silky hair. Next morning she is curly again .... 😂

The movie is completely cheese, with all the clichés you can imagine. Full of fake snow, and a very stupid plot. I am not sure if is a Christmas movie or a RomCom? Or a very bad drama...

This was one of the biggest waste of time in my life. His and her drama are completely exaggerated, they movie tries too hard on playing with formulas and that makes it fail, all the characters are badly written and very badly executed.

It is worst than the hallmark movies, but I laughed all the way trough 😂
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2/10
Did nobody read the script?
bcarsonmail-948-20971826 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
This could have been an unassuming little rom-com if somebody had bothered to read the script and fix it up before filming. The thing was littered with laughable plot holes. Why had our highly educated professional linguist heroine never heard of our hero (an internationally famous author whose work had been translated into 30 languages and whose face was plastered over every billboard in the city)? The basic premise that the abandoned daughter was trying to find her birth mother was just forgotten about when her location was found. The daughter never went to meet her (a one line reference was shoved in "I'm sure something will work out). The protagonists appear to need no sleep, food or comforts. The heroine was left out in a car in the freezing cold all night and then left outside the house all day (still with no food, heat or toilets) while the hero spent hours chopping down a Christmas tree and reconciling with his father while they decorated said tree indoors. Meanwhile she shivers outside. The birthday scene in the small town Bed & Breakfast was laughable. The room suddenly became a five star hotel suite with hundreds of candles, room service which could deliver a gourmet meal, champagne and celebration birthday cake with no notice. Bizarrely the heroine had somehow managed to straighten her long very curly hair in the blink of an eye. This process actually takes hours at a professional salon (oh and it was curly again in the morning). I found that scene very questionable. Was the director trying for "love transforms woman into magical princess"? Implying that the African-American heroine's hair wasn't already beautiful, which it was. And why was everybody holding their coats and jackets closed in the freezing outdoors? Zip them up! Or were all the zips broken? Lastly the thing was littered with pointless conversations and references that served no purpose in the plot. A whole scene where the heroine shows off her proficiency in several languages - just because. A scene where our hero discusses his back story with a former school mate, why? We have already heard at length why he went away and what he has been doing. Altogether a very annoying movie.
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5/10
Best thing about it was the other reviews
jordan22404 December 2022
I feel like I need a hard shower to get all the sap off after watching this. They used every cliche in the book to pull at the heart strings and create a Norman rockwell-like atmosphere with very fake-looking snow. And it's pretty much snowing the entire movie.

But the biggest fault is that the main characters didn't spend nearly enough time together to fall so deeply in love. I watched this without my wife because I figured she'd find it far too corny, and she would have. The big, emotional speech at the end sounded very familiar, and I'm sure I've heard variations in other rom-coms (though I don't think the com part applies here). Definitely don't see this becoming a Christmas classic.
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6/10
Not Bad, Some Small Changes Could Have Improved It
koltonbrett12 December 2022
There are some likable aspects to this film, but also some things I wasn't such a big fan of. What I liked most was Justin Hartley. He's a commanding presence on the small screen. You can count on good acting and charisma with him. He's a consistently believable character all throughout this story. Interestingly, The Noel Diary showed restraint in places where it could have really stirred up those feel-good, warm and fuzzy feelings in us. And then in other places, it didn't show restraint where it should have. For example, the primary romance isn't the sweetest as it feels a bit wrong at times given that one of the two protagonists is engaged to someone else throughout the whole movie. The deceit and cheating taking place definitely weakens the romantic aspect of the film, which is a major aspect. The other major aspect is the theme of abandonment and reconciliation with parents. This is handled better, though not utilized to its full potential. Still, with all the Christmas decorations and snowy scenery, it's very watchable if you're in the mood for a simple little Christmassy film to enjoy at the end of the day.
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2/10
It's like the writers pulled random meet-cute and holiday rom-com cliches from a hat
msantos11165 December 2022
The entire movie was terrible. We were watching it and almost every scene had some very stupid things going on. Here's a partial list:

Dude doesn't even realize his mom died. What's up with that?

How does the dude barely remember his nanny? Sure, he must have vague memories of the nanny from when he was four years old, but he seems to not even remember having a nanny at all.

We find out that there is some bad thing that happened with the dad, but when he shows up at his dad's house, there is a weird scene with the dad chopping down a random Christmas tree with an axe - when he's living off the grid why isn't he using a chainsaw or a handsaw? The dad was preparing for his estranged son's arrival by chopping down a pine tree with an axe?

The couple sleeps in the car in what appears to be sub-freezing temperatures. They'd die.

When the couple stays in the small town in separate rooms, they seem to let the dog just run free - in the bookstore, in the B&B and then the dog kind of disappears at the screening of It's a Wonderful Life.

There seems to be absolutely NO point in the woman having a fiancee. The entire point of this movie is that she comes back and tries to find out about her mom. The fact that she has a fiancee makes her look like some kind of cheating scumbag.

The ending of the movie was pointless. The bulk of the movie is centered around trying to find more information about her mother - why didn't the movie end with her and her birth mother having some sort of loving reunion? The ending focused on this love relationship between the main dude and the cheating main lady.

The scene with the main dude catching up with his dad is so weird - like they haven't seen each other for 35 years and then they catch up in a matter of minutes and they are all good. Later on in the movie, it is revealed that the dad was sending letters that the main dude never received. Why didn't the dad just call or reach out in some other way? This movie wasn't set in the 1700's.

When the main dude is catching up with dad and decorating the tree, they leave the main lady outside in the freezing cold with the dog! Come on - invite her inside!

Later in the movie, the main dude finds a stack of letters from his dad that he never received. This makes no sense at all - it's not like the mom had a reason to withhold the letters from him.

The movie was god awful. It's like the writers put a bunch of terrible "meet-cute" and rom-com movie holiday cliches into a hat and just pulled randomly to make this garbage film. Nothing made any sense.

I feel bad for the dog.
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10/10
Very sweet movie
dancinqueen-3860327 November 2022
The bad reviews of this movie crack me up ... saying there are plot holes and bad script so hilarious. Obviously none of these people have ever seen or grown up with hallmark movies... which this one is actually much better than a hallmark movie with some great acting. Feel good Christmas movies are perfect for this time of year to spread cheer and happiness. Hartley is so sweet and relaxing to watch in this movie and I loved the love interest as well! And don't get me started on the cute dog Ava! She was so cute! I appreciate the sweet neighbor and him taking the step to visit his father. If you're looking for a sweet movie that will leave you feeling good and getting you into the Christmas mood watch this!
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8/10
Enjoyed it way more than I expected to
jessi-18-11334224 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this because it popped up as a Netflix suggestion and soon found myself completely captivated by the main actors' chemistry. In a genre that is usually under-scripted and cheesy, I found this to be the opposite- it is a sincere, compelling story that comes off so genuinely, and it was beautifully acted. The result is a film that is simply endearing to watch from start to finish. Really worth the watch if you feel like a heart warming classic romance to get lost in.

Vague spoilers ahead:

The "love triangle" could have resolved in a less morally sketchy way in the end, but somehow you're rooting for the main characters so much that you'll forgive it.
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1/10
Heartwarming cheaters more like it
irishuskyforever29 November 2022
Why are so many films like this where 1 if not both of the main characters have partners and then end up in romantic scenarios with a stranger and just throw their committed relationships out the window. Like has anyone ever heard of being a decent person and I don't know breaking it off with your fiancé , partner or spouse before you go out of your way to pursue someone? The girl ( 2nd main character) is totally engaged and goes out of her way to be in inappropriate scenarios with this other guy. I hate media making this okay . Iike really ?? We're supposed to root for the cheaters??? What !!
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2/10
Bad cringe
threenails1028 November 2022
Some enjoy cringe and laugh with it. There is one scene in this movie that does that and the rest of the movie is just dogpiled with cringe moments and dialogue that have me wondering how anyone took this film seriously at all. It's mostly not the enjoyable cringe either which is saying a lot for those who enjoy hate watching stuff like this. This was mostly an unbearable experience. Me and my parents decided to watch this based on the trailer for it making it look 10 times better than it is. I've also grown up with film and had a love for it for most my life and have enjoyed plenty of films in this genre. This is not one of the enjoyable ones. It's editing is terrible too and the writing is so cliche it almost gave me a migrane. Also, anyone is pro cheating on your boyfriend or girlfriend types, this might be your cup of cringe for the night. For myself this was just a sad display. Sure, there have been plenty of affair ridden movies in the past that handled their subjects better than this, shedding light of what the effects of affairs have on all parties involved. This is not one of them. It celebrates it like it's a normal thing. The creators of this should be ashamed. I didn't give it 1 star cause there is one scene in this that did make me laugh as I mentioned previously, but otherwise this is complete garbage. Do not waste your time with this.
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2/10
Pointless cheating
littllepea30 November 2022
Currently in the process of watching this and am now just watching it in the background just because I hate not watching movies all the way through. I lovvve cheesy Christmas movies, but this is just dumb. What kind of message are you trying to portray to people? You know young people watch these things too right and you're promoting cheating? There's no reason whatsoever the lead female needed to have a fiancé. It added nothing at all to the story and really took away from it if anything. Cheating is not romantic! It would've been so much more sweet and romantic without it. Besides that, the chemistry is off. Waste of time.
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1/10
An otherwise good movie trashed by its ending
hooper-6538224 November 2022
Warning: Spoilers
We all know bad endings but this one should win a bad endings award. Rachael has been hell bent on finding her birth mother so she could corner her and pose one searing question: why did you not love me? Jacob joins her journey and they do find her name and where she is living just a couple of hours drive. THEN Rachael reads her birth mom's diary and learns that she loved baby Racheal and would always love her despite the having to give her up for adoption. What could possibly go wrong here.

Rachael having read the diary decides there is NO REASON for her to drive the couple of hours and visit her birth mother who has declared in the diary her never ending love for Rachael.

Get it? When she believed her birth mother never loved her she had to meet her. When she now knows her birth mother always loved her she , like Rosanna Danna of SNL says, NEVER MIND!

No more reason to see/meet her birth mom.
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3/10
Painfully cheesy and predictable
franklindf3 December 2022
The only reason to watch this movie is if you have a particular attraction to Justin Hartley, who is somewhat of a heartthrob and he is put on generous display. Or I suppose if you just want to want to watch some brainless fluff. Otherwise, it is dull, cheesy and predictable and full of common tropes. It's not a comedy and plays more to the sappy and sentimental side, but does so without a spark. It's just loaded with the type of plot devices you'd expect and then tied together in a clumsy manner with lazy transitions. Literally nothing stands out aside from the hunky Justin Hartley. The whole premise of a man rediscovering his past and discovering love and reconciliation are basically just contrived in order to have a script at all. And the romantic angle is hard to swallow in the context of what is basically a cheating couple.
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8/10
Finding Noel
megan_chatterton27 November 2022
A famous author learns his mom has died and returns to his hometown to clean up her house. In the process he meets a woman looking for her birth mom and believes she had ties to his family.

I liked this movie a lot other than the pretty quick ending. Justin Hartley is really underrated as an actor. It was nice to see him out of Randall's shadow on This Is Us. The Vermont and Massachusetts winter scenery was beautiful and the cast dynamic was solid. The plot was simple but mostly believable.

As I said, my only complaint was the shotgun ending. Act 3 felt criminally short in comparison to the rest of the movie.
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1/10
Bad chemistry, cliche, cringey.
ziprsedi2 December 2022
Warning: Spoilers
Don't waste your time on this unless you love hallmark movies. Another cliche film of the girl cheating on her just-fine fiance who was actually very handsome and wanted to serve and love his fiance. She was a strangely written character who supposedly knew so many languages but her Italian and Mandarin were horrible. I thought the story line with the mother was interesting but I wish they had reunited at the end, and that the film was more centered around the mother daughter relationship rather than a bad and shallow romance. There were so many plot holes and inconsistencies. He did not talk to his dad for 30 years and got rudely upset and angry at his neighbor who suggested it but then a stranger convinced him to in 5 seconds. Then the father and son were laughing and sharing memories after 10 minutes of hanging out. Rachel's hair went from curly to straight then back to curly all within one evening. This was just horrible.
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1/10
A toxic illustration of two traumatized people with abandonment wounds perpetuating unhealthy relationship dynamics
shenajadejensen1 December 2022
Warning: Spoilers
As a psychotherapist and relationship specialist I could not let this movie pass without identifying the toxicity of the relationship dynamics and the unhealthy role models it is setting. It took two characters with trauma and insecure/avoidant attachment from abandonment, had them "fall in love" over two days, and one of them abandons the other without any face to face resolution and repair. The other one then chases her out of his abandonment wounds and fears, and in the end they show them getting together (after the former suddenly abandons her fiance without working on it or a healing period right after she cheated on him) as if this is a triumphant celebratory moment.

For the year 2022 I would have hoped we'd be past this, and have healthier relationship role models. This is not 1985, self awareness and self responsibility and building trust over time to fall in love are sexy today. I hope Hollywood consults with therapists in the future, even Gen Z on Instagram knows better than to think this toxic storyline is "heartwarming". It's very disheartening and damaging.

Hartley's main character said it himself: you have to get the ending right, and the writers here astronomically failed.
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3/10
Plot holes galore
liz-armstrong14 December 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I forgive Hallmark movies a few plot holes here and there but a more expensive production like this I have a different level of expectation. Someone else has written exactly what I would write in full and included some other plot holes I'd missed. I'm being kind giving this a 3 really, It's over a week since we watched it and some of the plot is still annoying me now. The fact she doesn't appear to get cold sitting in a car for hours on end, no one does up their coats, there's no chemistry between them, she's being unfaithful and can't hold off doing anything until she has ended her relationship?, why did they need to straighten her hair for the love scene?, why could she only read her mother's diary when he was there when she could have read it a dozen times over the amount of time she was alone waiting for him, she read his book overnight but didn't read her mother's diary instead? Omg this movie drove me nuts and then to top it all off she doesn't even bother to meet her mother when she knows where she is. If you get irritated about things and can't let them stew in your head then don't watch this movie.
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7/10
A very pleasant surprise
Rachelle876524 November 2022
I was binging some cheesy Christmas movies and I saw this and I thought ok sounds like another typical 4, 5 average I'll pass the time.

I was surprised, it was a really very nice movie. I even shed a tear there at the end.

I really liked it. Great movie, great acting. It touches on so many painful subjects but not in a heavy way. The actors are all great, nothing cheesy and it does have a Christmas vibe to it. Ok well maybe a few scenes were slightly cheesy but the rest is really good and sad , that I was really thrilled and smiled at those cheesy moments. I finished the movie having a lot of thoughts about my own life and the people in it, so relatable. Definitely not what i expected feeling after a Christmas movie.
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1/10
"Feel Good" Christmas Movie Ruined With Cheating
trqcspn12 December 2022
Warning: Spoilers
I liked how the movie started out, but it quickly went downhill when Rachel/Angelica came into the picture.

Hard to enjoy what's supposed to be a "feel good" Christmas movie of a young woman trying to find her birth mom with blatant cheating. It's okay to have platonic relationships in movies, and I wish more writers/directors would show that. Makes it seem okay to cheat on your partner as long as it's in the spirit of the season. The "only one bedroom available" trope really took the cake. She then leaves after the insinuation of having s*x, saying she loves her fiancé. He manages to find her and says he loves her after only knowing her for a short while...complete trash.
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4/10
Unsatisfying ending
starsunskysunstar25 November 2022
Firstly, this movie wasn't actually filmed in winter time and the green screen and CGI really took me out of the story. This isn't Hallmark - what gives?

Secondly, this movie had so much to work with, but just didn't have the guts to go there. Everything was kept at such a surface level that it was hard to care or relate to the characters. I cry over pretty much anything, but I didn't shed a tear watching a movie about a woman searching for her birth mother and a man dealing with trauma and abandonment. There was no heart, no passion, no drama. No love. Rachel's decision didn't satisfy, the "closure" of Jacob's relationship with his father was anticlimactic, and the romance gave nothing. No conversation or kiss or anything that made it feel complete or earned at the end. Basically, it's a pass as far as Christmas movies go.
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