In the midst of his crumbling relationship, a radio show host begins speaking to his biggest fan, a young boy, via the telephone. But when questions about the boy's identity come up, the host's life is thrown into chaos.
Christmas Eve in New York, and the lonely divorced publisher, Rose Collins, needs a miracle to improve the health of her mother, interned in a hospital with Alzheimers. She feels sorry for another patient and meets his visitor. Meanwhile, Nina Vasquez breaks her engagement with her beloved fiancé Mike due to his suffocating jealousy, but misses him. Mike is stalked by a stranger, bartender Artie Venzuela. The poor Jules arranges to spend Christmas Eve in the hospital, where he spent the best Christmas of his life when he was a teenager. The lives of some of these characters cross with others along the night. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Was released into a 48-hour trial DVD after its theatrical release. See more »
When Rose enters her office, she hangs up her red beret on a coat hanger. She hangs her jacket up on the same hanger, and as she walks to her desk the beret falls off. However, after she has sat down at her desk, the beret appears back on the coat hanger. See more »
NOEL is an unabashedly romantic little film, the type of movie Hollywood used to make for Christmas seasons before the toilet mouth Bad Santa, etc type became popular. Perhaps the time has returned for us to examine how the world can come together at this time of year, sort of a good omen that we just might all start taking care of each other again! Chazz Palminteri takes on directing this story by David Hubbard, surrounds himself with a top notch crew of actors, and capably and sensitively brings off this little story of the interweaving of five lives on a Christmas Eve in New York City with all the tenderness and associated joy of placing old and loved garlands and bangles on a tree. It is a perfect film for re-discovering the meaning of Christmas.
Christmas Eve in Manhattan finds various characters who are in turmoil at this special time of the year. Successful book publisher Rose Harrison (Susan Sarandon) fights off depression by being kind to everyone: her lonely life is centered on spending her non-work hours tending to her mother who has advanced Alzheimer's Disease (she is divorced without children and without love). Across the hall from her mother's hospital room is a comatose man who never has visitors, and when Rose brings him an angel ornament for is window she meets Charlie (Robin Williams) who apparently has been visiting. Elsewhere in the city is Jules (Marcus Thomas) who informs strangers that his only good Christmas memory as an unwanted and abused kid was one he spent in a hospital after a beating: he plans to have his hands broken so that he can spend the night in the hospital where he hopes to discover joy. And then there is police officer Mike (Paul Walker) engaged to gorgeous Nina (Penélope Cruz) whom he inadvertently drives away with his jealous behavior. Mike is observed by old Artie (Alan Arkin) who recognizes Mike as the reincarnation of his deceased wife and longs to establish a close relationship with his newfound love.
All of these disparate characters interact by coincidence: Rose mistakenly intrudes on Nina's family gathering only to end up in a café with Nina sharing her secret grief for which Rose offers empathy and lessons. Mike confronts the strange Artie who collapses and lands in the hospital where Mike senses his history and gently offers him empathy. Nina and Mike face a condition that alters their relationship, Rose discovers a secret about Charlie that allows her to learn about love and compassion and forgiveness, etc etc etc.
These are little miracles, the kinds of everyday occurrences that our speed of life ignores. If it takes a film of this nature to help us gain awareness of the importance of personal peace, companionship, forgiveness and love, then hats off to Hubbard and Palminteri - and to a wonderful cast of fine actors enjoying their craft. Highly Recommended for everyone with a strong sentimental streak! Grady Harp
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