I can see what Hallmark is doing this Countdown to Christmas season. They are trying to make me believe in love and yes, I should appreciate that a lot. After all, love is what makes the world go round. Right? And what better time to feel love than at Christmas time?
The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Joyeux Noel and so is the search for love. Now, before you cringe at that though, let me assure you that isn’t a bad thing.
TBH, the thing about Joyeux Noel isn’t that it’s this great movie. It’s good. It’s very predictable, if you know Hallmark movies. But what it also is, is cute. Sometimes you need a return to the safety of the known, the predictable, and the things that made you love these movies in the first place.
So ya, not mad about Joyeux Noel. I like it. I also appreciate the messages that it gives all of us. Yes, I was raised on TGIF and so I am one of those weirdoes that can find a message in most anything. And the messages that I found in Joyeux Noel are things that I needed to hear – especially right now.
Lets dive in.
What It’s About: Lea (Elliot), a copy editor and aspiring journalist, is put on an assignment with co-worker Mark (Daugherty), a seasoned journalist at The Post, to uncover the love story behind the popular Mon Fleur painting. The pair travels to a small French village to visit the annual Christmas market where the couple behind the story met – which is said to possess a magic that brings soulmates together. Mark does not believe in the legend but continues investigating the story with Lea, curious to find out if it’s true. As Lea and Mark search to uncover the young couple’s love story, they discover something more meaningful – the magic of the Christmas Market and their own happy endings.
What It’s Giving: Predictability. Not that predictability is a bad thing. It just felt safe here when other movies this Countdown to Christmas season feel like they are out of the usual box.
Standout Performance: I feel like an idiot, because I can’t find the name of the little girl at the Bed & Breakfast, but she was pretty damn funny.
Overall Grinchy Thoughts: The thing about this year of Countdown to Christmas is that Hallmark is definitely doing its best to challenge their normal movies. Where as I would argue that Joyeux Noel follows the formula of Christmas movies past, I would also tell you that it’s different.
Why? Because it’s a movie that the channel filmed in France and really captured the beauty of Christmas markets. It’s nice to see a movie that isn’t in the places that we’re not used to seeing. And as a person that loves Christmas markets, I was all for this angle.
While I have talked a lot about the formula, I will tell you that with this movie, the premise was the unique part and why I can understand why it was green lit. The aspect of it being a mystery – one that led the leads through many different plot twists and turns to get to the solving the mystery.
The beauty of Lea and Mark solving this 70 year old mystery of who is in the painting that debuted, as well as the journal that was found. In that journey, Mark and Lea found ways to overcome the things that they were holding onto and found ways to believe in something bigger than themselves.
Mark is a jaded man – cranky as f*** all the time and doesn’t seem to have the time to learn from anyone or grow. He’s very set in his ways and doesn’t seem to ever want to deviate from that. He’s so angry and combative that I was surprised that Lea would put up with him.
Lea, on the other hand, is warm and a believer in love. She’s got all these big hopes and dreams. She believes in finding love and that when it’s her time to fall in love, she will fall in love. She will just know when it is meant to be.
So, when the two go to France to solve this mystery, you don’t really think that they’ll find each other. But, hey, we should all have learned to not under estimate Hallmark. It’s Mark and Lea’s differences that make them be able to see the ways to solve the mystery that is laid out in front of them.
Lea’s belief in love and Mark’s cranky pragmatism that forces them forward. The more time passes and the more time that the two spend together, we’re able to find a point where they form a genuine connection.
The thing is though, it doesn’t feel like something that will last. I know that we’re supposed to believe that it is something that will last, but their connection seems passing (unless Mark is going to do a lot of therapy, cause that kind of crankiness doesn’t fade overnight). I think that part of the reason that I could buy their closeness and the fact that the two were in France and I think anyone could fall in love in France.
While I enjoyed this movie and the familiarity of it, it definitely wasn’t my favorite Countdown to Christmas movie. Jaicy Elliot and Brant Daugherty were great, but this movie fell down to the script and it’s familiarity, being the reason it wasn’t a favorite.
Christmas Cheer Factor: 🎄🎄
- Jaicy Elliot is a star and that’s a hill that we will die on
- A secret hiding place in a church doesn’t sound like a good idea
- Have to admit there were quite a few times that I found Lea very annoying
- If it weren’t for the bed bug situation, have to be honest, I would be on a plane to a Christmas market
- One thing about Hallmark is you always need to pay attention – because the clues of how it is going to end are always there… if you’re looking