The Noel Diary review – a hollow romantic Christmas film with no chemistry

By Amanda Guarragi
Published: November 25, 2022 (Last updated: January 30, 2024)


The concept is sweet, but the execution of the love story leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

We review the Netflix film The Noel Diary, which does not contain spoilers.

The Christmas season brings some interesting concepts in the holiday setting, and The Noel Diary is fairly unique. When big-time author Jacob Turner (Justin Hartley) gets the call that his mother passed away, he returns to his hometown to gather her things.

When he gets there, he notices that a woman is waiting outside the house across the street. The woman approaches him and asks if he knows who her mother is because she has been trying to find her before she gets married.

The diary that is in the title of the film is Rachel’s (Barrett Doss) mom’s diary, and it explains how she had put her up for adoption because he got married out of wedlock. Her mom’s parents were against her raising the child, so she had to make a tough decision.

Rachel never knew her mom, so now she needed to find this missing piece before getting married. On this journey, the unlikely pair try to uncover more of Rachel’s story, as they go and ask the neighbors about what had happened all those years ago.

Along the way, she helps Jacob reconcile with his own father, as she finds her biological one.

This film does have its moments, but I do find it a bit odd that Rachel is so in love with her fiancé that she makes it a point to say it over dinner with Jacob. Naturally, as in all Christmas romantic comedies, the two of them start having romantic feelings for each other because they are working through tough, emotional situations with one another.

Instead of Rachel calling her fiancé and telling him about what’s happening, she refuses to answer him. It’s entirely possible to fall in love with someone, but this romantic film just isn’t believable enough to tell this story.

It happens in a short period of time, and infidelity is something that crosses a line in this film. It’s almost as cold as Jacob’s heart at the beginning of this film. They also do not have the best chemistry so it was a tough watch.

They tried to sell their odd little love story, but it doesn’t work as well as they would have hoped. Sure, Jacob softens up because he realizes life is short and there’s no need to waste it on negativity, which he learned from Rachel.

It has some sweet moments, but it doesn’t necessarily work because Hartley is a bit too detached from the role and doesn’t sell the romantic lead at all. Doss at least adds some spunk in her line delivery and actually shows some emotion when falling for Turner.

What did you think of the Netflix film The Noel Diary? Comment below.

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