DVD Verdict
Home About Deals Blu-ray DVD Reviews Upcoming DVD Releases Contest Podcasts Judges Jury Room Contact  

Case Number 14957: Small Claims Court

Buy Noelle at Amazon


Paramount // 2007 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 11th, 2008

• View Judge Johnson's Dossier
• E-mail Judge Johnson
• Printer Friendly Review

Every purchase you make through these Amazon links supports DVD Verdict's reviewing efforts. Thank you!


All Rise...

Judge David Johnson's heart grew two sizes today.

The Charge

Sometimes the greatest gift is a second chance.

The Case

David Wall—who looks exactly like a cross between Robert Redford and Owen Wilson—writes, directs, and stars in Noelle, this Dove Family-approved Christmas fable about a crotchety, cold-hearted priest who discovers the true meaning of something or other.

Father Jonathan Keene (Wall) is the Church's hatchet man, a priest who is dispatched to failing parishes to shut them down. For his latest assignment, Father Keene is sent to a small fishing village to nuke the parish of his old friend Symeon (Sean Patrick Brennan). What he finds is a hopelessly small and old congregation, an apathetic community, a priest who loves getting his drink on and stealing from the offering to pay for medical bills of his congregants and a beautiful woman (Kerry Wall) dealing with a terrible burden and facing an impossible choice. Unfortunately Father Keene is a gigantic a-hole, a cold-blooded, church-smiting egotist who is about a loving and shepherding as a strain of Ebola.

But despite all that, there's an outside shot that Father Keene will emerge from the 90-minute runtime a changed man, more confident of his place in the world and smacked with the realization that he has the capacity to love and accept forgiveness.

There you have it—a heart-warming little ditty that's kind of syrupy at times, but highly effective as a moving human drama that centers around the spiritual side of the holiday season. No, I meant Christmas season. Christmas season.

David Wall is very good as Father Keene, tapping into the cold detachment that's required by the character, yet still maintaining likability. It's not easy to pull off because Keene is such a hard-ass. Obviously, we, as the audience, know he's got something to hide, but Wall masks that vulnerability nicely—until it's time for the big reveal. And it's an emotional one, and Wall hits the right note again, and the result is a jarring, impacting sequence that automatically pays off Wall's performance choice. Kerry Wall is great as the woman who's so central to the plot and the town's array of quirky characters are all memorable. The only guy who seems to misfire is Sean Patrick Brennan—some times his line reading is solid, other times—not so much.

This being a Dove movie, it has very Christ-centric message to it, and the message, while powerful, may leave those uninterested in Christianity, er, uninterested. And it is a PG-rated, family-safe viewing experience, but the themes are quite adult—parents, be prepared for some conversations you may not be super-excited to have with little ones (here's a hint: this is a life issues film).

Noelle is a nice film, well-executed from top to bottom and an easy recommendation, if you're in the market for a wholesome, Godly little number.

Give us your feedback!

Did we give Noelle a fair trial? yes / no

Share This Review

Follow DVD Verdict

Other Reviews You Might Enjoy

• Pursuit
• Night Sun
• Nickelodeon / The Last Picture Show
• Losing Isaiah

DVD Reviews Quick Index

• DVD Releases
• Recent DVD Reviews
• Search for a DVD review...

Scales of Justice

Judgment: 85

Perp Profile

Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• English
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
• Christmas
• Drama
• Family

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

DVD | Blu-ray | Upcoming DVD Releases | About | Staff | Jobs | Contact | Subscribe | Find us on Google+ | Privacy Policy

Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site design and review layout copyright © 2016 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.