Movie #364 2020: Noelle (2019)

Are we still watching Christmas films? I don’t see why not. We’re in that weird hangover period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, so why not just drag out the festive feeling a little longer?

Noelle stars Anna Kendrick as Noelle Kringle – the daughter of the famous Kris. She and her brother (Bill Hader) grew up with Santa as a father, and therefore helped him all their lives with running the North Pole and delivering presents each year. When Kris Kringle (the 22nd official Santa) passes away, responsibility falls on the shoulders of Noelle’s brother to become the 23rd, despite Noelle being the more qualified to take the reins. Pun intended. When the pressure gets too much for the new Santa he runs away to Arizona, and Noelle is sent to bring him back in order to save Christmas.

If you look up reviews for this movie, it has a pretty bad reputation. But why does everyone hate this?! It’s actually a pretty neat premise for an original Christmas movie, especially because they’re never about female characters. Ever noticed that? I’ll be honest, I hadn’t noticed either… until I watched this. And I loved it!

The casting is brilliant. Did Shirley MacLaine need to be dragged into it? No. Do I begrudge it? HELL NO. The more Shirley the better, and that includes in average movies like this. 

So the CGI is absolutely fucking terrible, but do I care? Again: NOPE. Back to the cast though. Anna Kendrick, a.k.a. the less annoying Jennifer Lawrence is actually hilarious and delightful in this movie, it’s always great to see Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Billy Eichner rounds up the supporting cast nicely. No issues with any of them to be honest. 

What’s stranger about this is the fact that Bill Hader appears alongside Kendrick in all of the promotional material for this movie (see above). All in all, he’s barely even in the film, so it all seems a little weird that they didn’t let her take centre stage in the advertising too. I guess marketing deemed it necessary for a man to be in the photos… You know what I’m getting at here, right?

Yes, the plot is extremely obvious from the moment it begins, but for little girls especially this movie is great. I sure wish it existed when I was little because – I’ll say it again – it made me realise that most Christmas movies are aimed at little boys. So this was refreshing! And I don’t care what you say. Bad reviews be damned.

On the subject of other reviews, I’ve seen some complaints that this isn’t a rom-com, but honestly… thank God it’s not?! There are enough festive rom-coms to go around thank you very much. People were clearly hoping that Kendrick and Hader were going to be a couple, but this works so perfectly with the pair of them being siblings, so I’m absolutely not sorry that their hopes were dashed.

Yeaaaah so it’s a bit too long. And it’s not overly memorable. But it has a unique plot and some great(!) costuming with some funny gags on top of that.

There are certainly worse 105 minute movies to waste your time on. *cough* Hubie Halloween.

Noelle is available to stream on Disney+ in the UK.

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