Monday, December 30, 2019

'Tis the Season - Noelle (2019)

Streaming Service: Disney+
Movie Name/Year: Noelle (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Length: 100 minutes
Rating: G
Production/Distribution: Walt Disney Pictures, Disney+, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Walt Disney Television
Director: Marc Lawrence
Writer: Marc Lawrence
Actors: Anna Kendrick, Shirley MacLaine, Bill Hader, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Julie Hagerty, Billy Eichner, Maceo Smedley, Diana Maria Riva

Blurb from IMDb: Santa's daughter must take over the family business when her father retires and her brother, who is supposed to inherit the Santa role, gets cold feet.

Selina’s Point of View:
After I reviewed Holiday in the Wild (2019), on December 20th, we went on our holiday break. Before the break I was full of Christmas cheer and looking forward to every moment of that vacation. It was going to be the first Christmas that my daughter was going to be awake for. The first holiday season in our new home. Hanukkah and Christmas merged and there were a ton of plans with family and friends. My birthday was the day after the festivities, and there were decent plans in place for that. I had everything to look forward to.

Now, December has always been notoriously bad for me, but this turned out to be the worst holiday/birthday season of my life. Every ounce of cheer was drained out of me. The only reason the tree isn’t down yet is because I don’t have the energy to take it down. Between pulling it together for various functions, my husband, and my daughter, I don’t have much energy left for anything right now at all.

Needless to say, returning to work with one last Christmas movie was not my idea of a good time. I could really go for a horror or mindless action, actually.

Still, at one point I had been looking forward to Noelle, so I sat down – shut up – and turned it on.

I was barely watching it at first. I was expecting it to be a very Elf (2003) kind of film, and it looked like it was pretty much going to be just that.

As the movie played on, though, it began to grab me enough that I rewound it so I could actually pay attention. I’m glad I did, because I really loved it.

I can’t say it fully re-implanted the seasonal magic I lost, but for its one hour and forty-minute run time it had me smiling. Believe me, that itself was a feat.

Anna Kendrick (Into the Woods, Table 19, A Simple Favor) remains one of those actors that I can just follow anywhere and be absolutely fine with the finished product. She embodied the adorably joyful titular character. Bill Hader (It Chapter Two, Toy Story 4, Barry) definitely brought his much more subdued character, Nick, to life as well.

The story was cute. It did have a lot of similarities to Elf, but it had some extra nuances to it that took it in a bit of a different direction.

It’s just a good, solid, original Christmas movie. There’s no romance, either, which makes it something that could appeal to a larger group of people.

I could definitely see myself watching this film during the holidays in the future. Especially if I need a little boost.

Cat’s Point of View:
It’s not often that a movie delivers exactly what you hope, and need it to be, while also wrapped up in a Rated G package. Noelle was the perfect film to cap off what’s been a real roller-coaster of a holiday season for my household.

Let me tell you… if you are in need of carpal tunnel surgery in both wrists, I would advise against doing both at the same time if you can avoid it. Just because you CAN doesn’t always mean you SHOULD, after all. When all is said and done, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to accomplish just that – and that endoscopic surgical advancements allow for such. It just quickly puts into perspective how much is taken for granted in day-to-day life in regards to hand usage. Shopping, cooking, carrying things, wrapping presents, holiday deco, and even just getting up from a seated position became quite the adventure this past week. I’m finding typing is a bit less of a daunting task than I was afraid it would be at this point, however. I digress…

The trailers for Noelle promised a jolly movie with an interesting twist on the Santa mythos and an entirely plausible ‘what if’ scenario. Of course, the fact that Anna Kendrick was featured as the lead was another bonus factor in the production’s favor. I can’t think of anything she’s been involved in that I haven’t liked. (Even silly hotel commercials.) They hit the jackpot when they signed her on for this role.

Honestly, the primary cast were all quite the treat. I think Shirley MacLaine’s (Bewitched, Elsa & Fred, The Last Word) Elf Polly was my second favorite character.

While remaining firmly a family-friendly movie, Noelle manages to touch on a wide range of topics for families in different scenarios and struggles as well as the figurative and literal journey of self-discovery for the titular role.

I absolutely adored the North Pole vernacular that’s sprinkled throughout the dialogue of its native characters. Everything flowed so smoothly and didn’t feel hokey, even when characters were quoting Christmas carols and making exasperated exclamations milder than ‘shut the front door.’

It’s been said that Anna Kendrick has really wanted to be a part of a truly family-friendly holiday movie that could become part of annual festive traditions. I’d have to say that Christmas wish became reality. I know that I’m looking forward to watching this one again next year and then some. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 53%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 59%
Metascore – 48/100
Metacritic User Score – 4.7/10
IMDB Score – 6.3/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 4.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating5/5
Movie Trailer:

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