Disney has officially released its long-awaited streaming service, Disney+. While many viewers are excited to rewatch their classic favourites and new upcoming Star Wars and Marvel series, it also seems that they will be creating their own original films every so often as well. One of their first at launch was that of Noelle. Just in time for the Christmas season, Disney+ released this Christmas film to warm the hearts of families around the world. Sadly, I feel that the execution of this movie is a mixed bag. Do I think Disney+ is worth purchasing? Yes, very much so. Do I think this is the movie that you should watch before anything else? Probably not.
After the passing of their father, siblings Noelle (Anna Kendrick) and Nick (Bill Hader) find themselves having to take over the family business. With their father having been Santa Claus and them having lived in the North Pole all their lives, they know nothing else. Nick is next in line to become Santa but ultimately flees the scene when nerves kick in. Noelle ventures to find him and hijinks ensue. Noelle is a film that works as a sweet, yet super corny little Holiday flick, but the third act of the film sort of took away from the rest of it for me.
Without giving anything away for those who wish to watch, the third act of this movie really begins to hit you over the head with the messages it's trying to send. While I have no problems with these messages, it's almost like the filmmakers thought viewers didn't see these messages slowly presenting themselves throughout the entire movie. I liked the conclusion for what it was, but the way it was executed fell flat for me. There was a lot of emotion set-up throughout the movie that does have a payoff, but I felt disconnected from it all.
Anna Kendrick is as loveable and quirky as she has always been and Bill Hader (although having much less screen time) is quite good with the material he is given as well. Where this movie fell apart was easily in the screenplay. I didn't mind the direction here, in fact, I actually liked it, which was no surprise seeing as I enjoyed director Marc Lawrence's work on Music & Lyrics. With that said, he also wrote this screenplay and I found a few key elements were missing to make the finale of this movie truly work.
In the end, Noelle is a passable, at times very enjoyable Christmas movie, but ultimately collapses by the end for me. It's not that I despised where they went, it's just how it was done. For fans of Holiday films, no matter what they are about, this movie might appeal to you more. I personally love a great Holiday flick and I'm usually pretty forgiving of them, but this one didn't quite work. It's not a bad movie, but I was certainly hoping for better.