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It’s hard to make a Christmas classic. Many have tried, few — especially modern filmmakers — have succeeded, and even films that generally have their hearts in the right place sometimes miss the mark. That last descriptor fits like a snug little Santa cap on Noelle, the new holiday comedy from writer/director Marc Lawrence (Miss Congeniality) and one of the first original features to launch on the nascent streaming service Disney+, alongside the other marquee movie title, Lady and the Tramp. With a knockout cast and a cute (if flimsy) feel-good message, Noelle is a sweet and well-intended Christmas comedy that has all the key components to make your spirits bright, but the whole is never greater than the sum of its very jolly parts.
Anna Kendrick stars as Noelle, a so-called “princess” of the North Pole; Santa’s daughter, who has always had the Christmas spirit — not to mention all the milk and cookies and well-stuffed stockings she could desire, thanks to the perks and privileges of being a Kringle in the North Pole. The Kringles are basically the upper-upper-crust elites of the society; including the specialty “Kringle discount,” access to Santa’s Helpers, and generally, the best that Christmas has to offer.
Noelle - Elf - Elf - Polly - Shirley
Noelle even has her own elf, Elf Polly, played by the great Shirley MacLaine with withering disinterest in Noelle’s nonsense, who is basically a servant — a strange, deeply uncomfortable and outdated dynamic that the film seems disinterested in addressing. “I’ve been out in the forest, chopping firewood, carting it on my back, so I could heat up the cottage and make your breakfast waffles while I picked up all the dirty clothes… you would starve and die if it weren’t for me.” Noelle snaps back, “That’s what you think!” Skipping down her oh-so-decked halls, but not before reminding...
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