|What starts out as a mundane, cloying, seen-it-a-thousand-times-before Christmas movie turns into a genuinely funny and charming modern update to the seen-it-a-thousand-times before Christmas movie; all thanks to the wildly different comedic charms of Anna Kendrick and Billy Eichner. In “Noelle”, Santa Claus has been in the Kringle family for 10 generations, when the latest Santa Claus passes away, it’s up to son Nick (Bill Hader) to step up and save Christmas.||2019 |
Directed by: Marc Lawrence
Screenplay by: Marc Lawrence
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Bill Hader
Don’t worry, it gets better. First, we get introduced to daughter Noelle (Anna Kendrick). The daughter of Santa Claus is very much like a princess, and she is called one too. She has no job other than keeping everyone in the holiday spirit, and she has no money, which she doesn’t need because at the North Pole, she gets the Kringle family discount to buy whatever she wants. However, mostly what she wants is to help other people.
The conflict is that son Nick doesn’t want to be Santa Claus and hasn’t inherited any of the Santa Claus skills – like driving a Reindeer sleigh or just knowing if a child has been bad or good or what present they want. The stress of the season is really getting to him, not a good trait for the future Santa Claus and the person the world is depending on. Noelle suggests a short weekend away to relax. However, the Christmas Board of Directors don’t like the fact that Santa Claus has just run away. Cousin Gabe (Billy Eichner) is promoted to Santa Claus and Noelle goes off to find her brother. This is when the movie becomes good.
Billy Eichner’s version of Santa Claus is hilarious. He’s an IT genius who knows more about algorithms than people, so he has compiled a program that sorts through every child’s online presence to create the naughty or nice list. It turns out most children in the world have been bad which greatly reduces the issue of delivering presents, which will be streamlined using Amazon delivery.
Meanwhile Noelle is in Arizona trying to find to her brother. Noelle has never been out of the North Pole before, so this is pure naivety. Everything she does is funny, some of it stupid funny, but throughout it all she is genuinely good-natured and has an infinite ability to care for people, so it’s easy to have a smile on your face the entire time.
There is a twist at the end. Adults will see it coming, but I would imagine most children will delight in it. Ultimately, “Noelle” is the funny, feel-good, clever movie for the holiday season. I laughed at all of Billy Eichner’s new Christmas ideas, and I enjoyed most of Anna Kendrick’s well-meaning but misguided attempts to find her brother, who just happens to look like Santa Claus, under the blistering Arizona sun.