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‘Noel Next Door’ Review

Corey Sevier and Natalie Hall in Hallmark's Noel Next Door
©Hallmark

Hallmark’s Noel Next Door is packed with some admirable bits and plenty of potential, but the film, unfortunately, misses some marks with decisions that cheapen the more powerful story it could’ve told. Still, it’s a fascinating film with stars who’ve got incredible chemistry and one that, after much consideration, should certainly be on everyone’s watch list this year.

Starring Natalie Hall, Corey Sevier, Callum Shoniker, Sean Jones, Joanna Douglas, Adrian Falconer, and more, Hallmark’s Noel Next Door brings to our screens disability representation along with the showcase of what unconditional adoration should look like. While the world of romance novels is thankfully increasing with neurodivergent and disability representation in our heroes and heroines, Hallmark has much catching up to do. Further, the film is a great start, and in writing this review, I’m hoping executives realize that people want to see authentic representations of human beings.

Noelle and Jeremy in Hallmark's Noel Next Door
©Hallmark

However, on the topic of representation, what ultimately stopped the film from being a perfect story was the ableist remarks that felt entirely unnecessary and low-grade. Yes, the world is dark and cruel, and there are horrible people like this, but it felt forced in this film. It especially felt forced because it did nothing to genuinely address how ableist people and the health systems are. If the film had perhaps dug deeper, it wouldn’t have felt so cheapened to watch.

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We already knew that the town was a bit much when they essentially began calling Jeremy a Scrooge for his behavior that stemmed after his stroke. The story didn’t need to bring in a blind date whose attitude effectively mocked him and wasted precious screentime where we could have gotten to see more of his relationship with Noelle. It was also unnecessary when they also had his ex-wife leave him for the same reasons. Hallmark’s Noel Next Door didn’t need to vilify two women, but it did so.

It’s also a far-fetched concept that a man as sweet and gentle as Jeremy would never ask to walk Noelle home or, more ridiculously unlikely, that the two wouldn’t run into each other on the same street while leaving after their dates. While the suspense is built for the plot, it made the film less enticing because if we’d gotten a character-driven romance that addressed starting over, complicated divorces, and mental health, Hallmark could’ve had a brilliant Christmas movie under their belt.

Maybe, I’m asking for a bit much here, but if you read as many fantastic romance novels as I do, you know clear as day that telling character-driven narratives are not only possible, but they work so much better in the long run. Still, Hallmark’s Noel Next Door is thoroughly enjoyable as a film because the chemistry between Hall and Sevier is explosive. It was precious watching a woman be treated like she’s made of gold and a man being given a chance to feel safe in an otherwise shitty environment.

Their progression from strangers to friends to lovers occurs at an organic pace and feels believable throughout. It was also refreshing to see a woman essentially flirt back and believe in herself because I can’t remember the last Hallmark film that featured a heroine like Noelle. It’s also refreshing to remind men that periods do, in fact, occur monthly, and menstrual products shouldn’t make anyone cringe. Thankfully, Jeremy isn’t that guy—but Noelle’s wrong about classical music, and we’d happily point her to our Music Monday column, which is 90% original scores and 10% other.

Additionally, Noelle’s son Henry wasn’t the only one who should’ve apologized to Jeremy, but almost everyone who crossed his path. And it’s safe to say that we’re all in agreement about the fact that if someone were purposely using our wall as their ball’s destination, we’d be super pissed too. I know I would.

Similar Christmas Film Recommendation: A Maple Valley Christmas and Well Suited for Christmas

Hallmark’s Noel Next Door might not be perfect, but the romance and quiet moments of character development are worth every minute. The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in the film, bringing a warmth to our screens that provides the best kind of escape

 Hallmark’s Noel Next Door is now streaming on Frndly TV.

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Gissane Sophia View All

Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.

She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for Looper.

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