"The Promise of Christmas"
What You Need To Know:
NOËLLE is well directed. The acting is superior. Moments in the movie are heart-rending. The music is excellent. Regrettably, the story has some slow moments, but the ending is poignant. The Gospel and the need for forgiveness is presented. And, miracles happen. A little script doctoring could have cleared up the pacing problem and the theological and ecclesiastical flaws of the storyline.
(CC, BBB, L, V, S, AA, M) Strong general Christian worldview set in a Catholic church with Catholic priests who question their calling, a fact that may concern some Catholics, and a brief but positive discussion of the Virgin Mary; two light obscenities and three light profanities; man on motorscooter falls several times on icy roads, priest beats up a man who got a woman pregnant, woman bleeds from pregnancy, and discussion of abortion; discussion of abortion, discussion of affair, discussion of unwed pregnancy, and some minor kissing; no nudity; drinking excessively by two different priests; no smoking; and, townspeople would rather go to Christmas Party rather than put on Nativity pageant and wealthy man engaged to one woman sleeps with another woman.
NOËLLE is an engaging movie that presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly but also raises some ecclesiastical questions.
The story opens with Father Jonathan Keene seemingly alone on a bus at winter-time traveling to a dying Catholic Church in a small town on Cape Cod. Father Jonathan keeps imagining a young girl who is staring at him. When he gets off the bus, he bumps into an attractive woman who drops her glove.
At the Sacred Heart Chapel, as the representative of the Bishop in charge of closing unprofitable churches, he confronts Father Simeon whose church is dying. Father Simeon likes to drink with the townspeople and believes in miracles. Father Jonathan, on the other hand, is all business and hates the people aspect of the ministry. Father Jonathan suggests that Father Simeon do something to revive the church, such as a living nativity. He suggests that the dark-haired girl, Marjorie, who dropped her glove, would be a terrific Mary. Marjorie is dating a very wealthy ne’er do well who seems angry at her all the time.
As Christmas approaches, it appears that Marjorie has a dark secret and so does Father Jonathan. Everybody needs the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
NOËLLE is well directed. The acting is superior. Moments in the movie are heart-rending. The music is excellent. Regrettably, the story is slow in a couple places, but the ending is poignant. The Gospel is discussed clearly. The need for forgiveness is presented. The love of Jesus is shown. And, miracles happen.
On the other hand, these priests have deep flaws. Jonathan even gets into a fight. Both of them question their call. Non-Catholic Christians will have no problem with this, but traditional Catholics will have a problem with the ecclesiology. The movie might have been better if it had been set in a Lutheran or Episcopal church for this very reason that it ignores the special sanctity of ordination espoused by the Catholic Church. Non-Catholics may have some problems with the images of Mary and the discussion of Mary. This is a movie that could have been fixed and made acceptable to a wider range of the church.
It came highly recommended to MOVIEGUIDE®. We highly commend the filmmakers for making an intriguing movie. We only wish they would have done a little script doctoring.