Saturday, December 15, 2007


Just in time for the holidays, comes the Christian Christmas film, "NOЁLLE." If you liked, "Bella," you'll love, "NOЁLLE."

"Bella," (see review below) is a Christian movie for non-Christians reaffirming the Christian image of being kind and accepting. Because, "NOЁLLE," is set in a parish with two priests as the main characters, it seems created more for a church going audience.

The characters are much more human in Noelle. They have weaknesses. Father Johnathon Keene (David Wall) takes pride in being good at closing down dying parishes. He confides that he doesn't deal with the people aspect of the priesthood. It doesn't make for a very likable main character, but we're supposed to follow him as he goes to close down the parish of an old friend. He finds the church empty except for a lone older woman waiting in the confessional. The parish priest Father Simeon (Sean Patrick Brennan) is off at a local bar getting smashed with some of his congregation. There are funny moments as their designated driver takes them all home - if you're not too shocked to laugh. To be honest, the unlikeable protagonist along with a couple of stilted lines by Brennon made it difficult for me to get into the story at this point.

The bar scene seemed to signify that Father Simeon is resigned to the church closing. But later we discover that this is his way of communing with his members. Father Simeon believes that it is the people who matter the most in the church. He demonstrates this by using church money to pay the hospital bills of an dying man. Father Simeon believes in miracles. He believes that dying man will walk back into their thriving church someday.

Father Johnathon Keene doesn't believe in miracles. Though he does believe the church could use one. It's down to a handful of aging parishioners. This is one conflicted soul. Part of him wants to save the church - perhaps to help out his old friend or because he sees something of himself in the one younger woman (Kerry Wall) in the congregation. He makes a half hearted effort to help by suggesting that they host a living nativity scene to revitalize the church. There is some humor here as the elderly members perform a last ditch effort to save the church with a seemingly doomed production. Director/Writer/Actor David Wall does an admiral job overcoming the, "Lets put on a show!" cliche. In fact, an important theme is imparted here. The church's success isn't just the priest's responsibility, but all the members of the congregation.

The possibility of something miraculous happening is set up from the beginning as Father Keene sees flashes of a luminescent little girl. (I won't give it away here but it is worth the wait.) But the real magic comes in this cold priest's transformation. I was totally won over by the powerful ending.

"NOЁLLE," is a touching story of forgiveness and redemption reminding us of the real reason Christ was born. If you want more Christian entertainment, go see Noelle and share it with your friends.

Movie Blessings and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.
Jana Segal

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