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Noel (2004)

Cast: PenÚlope Cruz, PenÚlope Cruz, Susan Sarandon, more...
Director: Chazz Palminteri, Chazz Palminteri, David Hubbard, more...
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 102 min.
Languages: English
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GreenCine Member Reviews

Christmas Gift by talltale November 18, 2005 - 7:45 AM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
An incipient classic in the holiday movie genre, NOEL is for us urbanites who hate the holidays on the surface but secretly pine for connection, redemption and a little real joy. Suffused with sadness and longing (and occasional quirky humor: the winning-the-Christmas-tree scene), the film connects a group of disparate New Yorkers in ways that are humane, sentimental and, in one--maybe two--cases, otherworldly.

This sort of thing could easily become predictable and tiresome but thanks to the thoughtful screenplay by David Hubbard, tactful direction (plus a cameo) from Chaz Palminteri and fine performances from Susan Sarandon, Penelope Cruz, Alan Arkin, an uncredited Robin Williams and a spot-on ensemble cast, it all works beautifully, leaving you up to your ears in a pile of used Kleenexes--what every good sentimental holiday movie aims for. (You can take or leave the "spirituality" angle, which is played tenderly and realistically enough to please even an agnostic reprobate like me.)

The biggest surprise of all is the rich, wonderful performance by Paul Walker, a looker who has heretofore been given little chance to act ("The Skulls," "Timeline," "Into the Blue"). As a big city, lower-middle class cop with an attitude/jealousy problem, he sports a fine accent and an even better range of emotions--from anger and love to confusion and joy, with each moment utterly believable. I hope some of our better directors see this one and realize the possibilities possessed by Mr. Walker.

Released briefly in theatres and treated like a poor relation, "Noel" deserved a lot better. My bet is that it will eventually find its place along the other top holiday classics here on DVD. Rent it around Christmastime and treat yourself and your friends/relatives to something special.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.50)
2 Votes
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