Movie Review: Noel Next Door (2022)
Synopsis: Several days before Christmas, a newly divorced single mom, Noel, meets and falls in love with Jeremy, an orchestra conductor and composer who is recovering from a stroke he suffered on Christmas morning three years earlier that cost him the use of one arm and his marriage. What Noel doesn't know is Jeremy lives in the same condo as her and is the neighbor everyone, including her sister and her 12-year-old son, describes as an unfriendly "Scrooge."
Who's in it? The movie stars Natalie Hall, Corey Sevier, Callum Shoniker, Joanna Douglas and Adrian Falconer.
Review: My wife and I continued our Hallmark Christmas movie tradition last night with a bit of hesitation after the first two movies we watched were somewhat disappointing. However, while I had some doubts, this one turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
I am always going to give points to a movie that at least tries to be somewhat unique, and this film does manage that. From the description, I thought it was going to be one of those movies that has her not liking her neighbor but eventually warming up to him. Instead, the movie decided to keep the whole Scrooge-like neighbor thing a secret until toward the end, with some admittedly clever twists to keep that secret, and that made the film a lot funnier than I was expecting. I especially loved how Noel (Hall) was texting Jeremy (Sevier) and both were complaining about their neighbors to each other.
Unlike the films we watched previously, I finally was able to feel the chemistry between the two leads (as was the case when they starred together in Road Trip Romance). I especially liked how they both brought something to the relationship. Noel showed Jeremy kindness, without seeming to pity him because of his condition while Jeremy introduced her to things like ice skating and classical music. Of course, it wasn't as though he had any competition when compared to her ex-husband, who was essentially calling her an unfit mother, and a blind date that probably should have been locked up somewhere with padded walls.
I wasn't a big fan of her son, Henry (Shoniker) at first because that little kid seemed like an ass who was going out of his way to torture his neighbor by kicking his soccer ball against his wall, sticking a toothpick in the front door lock, etc. and then lying about it. He was also the only obstacle standing between Noel and Jeremy, since she was always going to pick her son's side in that. However, I will admit I did warm up to him a little bit toward the end, when he revealed why he was doing that and gave a reason that did make a lot of sense.
To be fair, Henry wasn't the only ass in this movie. Jeremey had a little girl make a scene in a store because of his arm, a blind date complaining because he having difficulty removing his coat and nearly got seriously injured because someone thought it would be a good idea to put an extension cord across a walkway rather than finding a better/safer way to bring electricity to a Christmas tree. Yet he was the one who was considered a Scrooge. Go figure.
Final Opinion: There were some parts that were still a little predictable (as is usually the case with films in this genre) but it was a somewhat unique and fun movie to watch and, so far at least, is the best new Christmas movie I've seen this holiday season.
My Grade: A
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