Day 17 – Noel (2004) PG

It’s official, I am finally on holiday as I handed in my last essay today. I have no more work to do this side of the new year – which hopefully means I will be watching the films earlier in the day instead of rushing to get the review done in time.

Today’s film is Noel and I didn’t really understand it as a film. It’s set on Christmas Eve and is about five people in New York who all want a miracle for Christmas. Rose has spent her life looking after her father until he died and now looks after her mother who has Alzheimers and doesn’t recognise people or things around her. Mike and Nina are on the verge of splitting up even though they are supposed to be getting married next week, due to his insane jealousy. Artie is an old waiter who every Christmas finds someone who he thinks is the reincarnation of his dead wife and Jules has someone break his hand so he can spend Christmas in the ER, because that is the only happy memory of his childhood.

I got the impression that it was trying to be like ‘Love Actually’ (Day 1) in the sense that it’s about people who don’t know each other but whose lives are tangled. Rose talks to Nina about her problems with Mike as well as Mike being this year reincarnation for Artie. But I don’t think it worked, these are the only times where a character’s plot crosses with another’s and it felt stale.

It didn’t make sense as a film, I have no idea why they decided to go with these characters or this storyline. There was no sense of flow from one character to the next, it felt like they had four different stories they wanted to tell and were told they could only make one film, so instead of just picking one and writing a good(?) film they took all four and made it a fairly bad film. I didn’t even know that it was about five people wanting a miracle for Christmas, I had to look it up.

There are good bits to this film, I think they could have done a whole film on Rose’s character or on Artie’s, because those were interesting ideas. Especially as Rose finds herself talking with a man from the hospital who ends up saying her mum doesn’t want her to waste her life away before he disappears, when Rose goes to find him to ask him why and to give him back his cross which he had left behind she learns that he is the coma patient in the ward next to her mother. That’s an interesting story, so is a man every Christmas finding someone who he thinks is a reincarnation of his wife because he wants forgiveness. I’d watch either of them as a film by themselves, they’ve got legs but by being shoved with the other stories neither of them get the screen time they deserve to let us know more about these characters and their lives.

That’s not to say that in the confusion there aren’t good parts, there are a few. Mike’s face when Artie tries to kiss him because he thinks he’s his dead wife is brilliant. And so is Rose, trying to be on a date with a younger man from her office, the scene between Mike and Nina when she’s telling him that he needs to stop being so jealous is well written and well acted but I felt that these good parts were swamped by confusion from the story and therefore I didn’t really notice them until I started writing this review.

On the whole I don’t think this was a bad film, I just think they tried to be clever and it didn’t work, which just lead to confusion.

 

Favourite Part: Artie going to kiss Mark

Best bit of acting: Rose when she’s talking about her stillborn child. (A minor plot point but one I feel could have and should have been expanded)

See you tomorrow

Rea

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