Director: Chazz Palminteri
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Paul Walker, Penelope
Cruz, Alan Arkin, Marcus Thomas
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: GV
Day : 24 November 2005
about the true spirit of Christmas and holiday cheer is “Noel”,
a magical and heartwarming film where the lives of five people
intertwine. Rose (SUSAN SARANDON) a successful book editor
whose personal life has gradually deteriorated over time,
City police officer Mike Riley (PAUL WALKER) and his fiancée,
Nina (PENELOPE CRUZ whose relationship is on the rocks, an
older man (ALAN ARKIN) appears who takes an intense interest
in Mike, and Jules Calvert (MARCUS THOMAS) , a young street
hustler with no family and friends. The lives of these 5 people
will intertwine this Christmas Eve in New York City, and with
some help from each other, or more importantly help from within
themselves, they may get more than just holiday cheer. They
may find their own personal miracles.
It is that time of the year again when you can feel the festivities
in the air. The bright lights decorating the streets, the
carols playing in the malls and the mouth-watering food items
lining the super-mart shelves – yes, Christmas is here
again. Made in 2004, this is the one of the earliest movies
hitting local cinemas to welcome the Yuletide season. Unlike
many other feel-good Christmas movies, this one has a lonesome
undertone which makes it a worthy watch.
movie takes place on a Christmas Eve in New York City, where
a group of strangers will be eventually affected in ways more
than one by the holiday season.
is a lonely old woman who tries to get into the holiday spirit,
but is bogged down by her own gloomy past. There is a young
couple who is about to get married. All seems perfect on the
surface, but the woman is tormented by the man’s immense
jealousy. There is a strange old stalker who believes that
his wife is reincarnated in another man’s body. There
is a disturbed young man who seeks of having a perfect Christmas
at the local hospital, and goes all out to achieve his dream.
with many movies nowadays, these characters’ paths intertwine
during the movie’s 100 minutes, creating a picture that
curiously tugs at your heartstrings – not in the usual
fuzzy manner, but in a more melancholic way.
is Chazz Palmenteri’s directorial debut on the big screen.
The seasoned actor may not have created a breakthrough with
this movie, but it is still a decent piece of work backed
up by a trustworthy cast.
the veteran pack is Susan Sarandon, who plays the lonely divorced
old woman. She effortlessly shows how vulnerable her character
is beneath the strong front she puts up in front of others.
The bittersweet sequence between her and Robin Williams is
a guaranteed tearjerker.
playing his character effortlessly is the underrated Alan
Arkin, who once again shows why he is such a joy to watch
on the big screen. He portrays the character of the stalker
with such wit and charm; you cannot help but sympathize with
icing on the cake would be the obligatory eye-candy characters
played by Penelope Cruz and Paul Walker. Cruz is as seductively
beautiful as ever, displaying her usual charisma. Walker manages
to emote surprisingly well in a few touching scenes, showing
that he is not just a stud good at driving fast cars and diving
The movie’s screenplay may not weave the characters
together as brilliantly as Richard Curtis’ well-loved
Christmas flick Love Actually (2003), but it still manages
to display some competency, which is commendable as writer
David Hubbard is fairly new to the industry.
with other Christmas movies, this one features a heartwarming
soundtrack, accompanied by a wonderful score composed by Alan
Menken, whose most well-known works include Disney’s
Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aladdin (1992).
greatest plus point of the movie is its ability to touch hearts
with its stark feel of loneliness, nicely exemplified by the
huge crowds and tall buildings in New York City. One can almost
feel the lonely heart break when Williams’ character
asks Sarandon’s character whether his company is “just
to (help her) last through the night”.
that the movie only features five main characters, they are
somehow unfortunately not developed to their fullest potential,
leading to a predictable and somewhat unsatisfactory finale.
at the end of the day, viewers will still appreciate the fact
that they have loved ones to spend the festive season with.
Other trivial matters aside, this would be most valuable lesson
you will take away with the movie.
viewers may criticize the movie for being melodramatic and
shamelessly tear-inducing, but hey, it’s the season
to be thankful of people around you. Don’t be a scrooge;
bring your loved one to see this movie for a unique Christmas
decent festive movie that reminds you the joys of having your
loved ones by your side)
by John Li