Hey! It’s been a minute huh? Well, as we all know that love is the strongest force in the universe, so it’s not surprising that love (of HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES, which are all about love!) brought me back to the blogosphere.
I don’t watch all 40 new movies each year, but I do watch a little more than half each year, and I will write short reviews of those I do watch!! My goal in life is to spread love, and if this helps people find joy this holiday season then my work here is done.
NOELLE NEXT DOOR originally aired Friday, 10/21 on Hallmark Channel. It stars Natalie Hall and Corey Sevier as feuding neighbors, one who loves Christmas (Noelle) and one who is the neighborhood Scrooge (Jeremy). Let me tell you, this movie was billed very strangely! I thought it was going to be one of those “dramatically escalating petty incidents between enemies-to-lovers” movies, when in reality it was a reverse-You’ve Got Mail type situation where two people fall in love in person and don’t realize they’re the feuding neighbors who’ve been exchanging notes all season.
Jeremy hates Christmas because his wife left him after he had a stroke and he’s bitter and angry about it. Noelle is just trying to keep it together for her son Henry after her husband left her for “his mistress.” These two lonely souls are hungry for connection but also afraid to let anyone in. Can they overcome their fear (and their rather silly feud, which involves a soccer ball and a pet rabbit)? OF COURSE THEY CAN IT’S HALLMARK!
The leads both did a great job–their chemistry felt real and I was rooting for them both. Noelle had some very clunky dialogue (I don’t think the screenwriter has ever spoken to a child) but she did her best to pull it off. The fighting part is goofy but it’s honestly not the centerpiece of the movie. I honestly thought it was bold of Hallmark to kick off the season with a slightly sadder/darker story (those are usually reserved for Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel). There were some weird new things for Hallmark here–tampon talk! Rage drinking! Jokes about flat earthers! But I think they worked. There were also some appallingly bad people here–nasty blind dates, douchey customers at the diner, and a louse of an ex-husband. Usually Hallmark has only protagonists and people who have different desires than the protagonists, but the out and out villainy on display here was…different. Not sure if I like this trend or not but it’s not same old same old here in 2022!
I wish there had been more Christmas stuff (cookie baking, caroling, etc) but obviously there’s not going to be a lot in a movie about a man who hates Christmas. They do listen to the Nutcracker though, so that counts. I enjoyed this! It’s not an instant classic for me, or necessarily even a re-watch, but I was engaged the whole way through. A solid opening effort.
My rating system: out of 5 Christmas trees:
Christmas feels: 🎄🎄
Script: 🎄🎄 (1/2)