Disney's new Christmas movie will leave you inspired and laughing. (Illustration by Alice Yuan, Maryland Institute College of Art)
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While there have been numerous films made about Santa Claus over the years, never before has there been a woman in the big red suit.

The film “Noelle,” written and directed by Marc Lawrence, is a Christmas tale starring Anna Kendrick from “Pitch Perfect.” The Disney Original comes included with the Disney Plus streaming platform. While the movie might be another flick about Christmas time at the North Pole, the new feminist twist to the story separates it from the movies that came before.

During the very first scene of the movie, there is a conversation that immediately incites the issue at hand. In the scene, 5-year-old Noelle, played by Lina Renna, excitedly waits for her father (Jay Brazeau) to get home from delivering presents on Christmas Eve. When he returns, she asks him when it will be her turn to take the reindeer and sleigh out to deliver presents. Unfortunately, her father tells her that it is only a tradition of the boy Clauses to become Santa and she will never have the opportunity to do so.

The movie then fast forwards about 20 years to the future when Noelle’s father has passed away and it is time for her brother Nick (Bill Hader) to take on the role of Santa this year. The only problem is, Nick doesn’t want it, nor is he prepared to do the job. Instead of getting upset over his inauguration as Santa, Noelle remains strong and is there for him with whatever he needs. This includes helping with the duties of deciding who is on the naughty and nice lists, and what the children on the nice list each want for Christmas. Noelle does everything in her power to prepare him for Christmas Eve.

Everything goes awry when Nick disappears from the North Pole and she is blamed for it. Instead of breaking down, Noelle remains strong and searches for clues as to where her brother might have escaped to. She ultimately discovers a picture of Phoenix, Arizona, cut out from a travel magazine in his bedroom. She then gets on her sleigh and flies to Arizona along with Elf Polly (Shirley MacLaine) to find him.

While in Arizona, Noelle hires a private investigator named Jake Hapman (Kingsley Ben-Adir) to assist her in her search for Nick. As she navigates life in a new city, Noelle proves she is a natural-born leader by helping out several families in need over the holiday season. She also somehow knows what all the children want for Christmas, despite never being told. Even after multiple failed attempts to persuade Nick to come home with her, she doesn’t give up.

Then one day, Nick sees her in action and realizes that he is not the Kringle who is meant to be Santa — Noelle is. The siblings return to the North Pole just in time to save Christmas and the jury grants the job of Santa to Noelle. At the end of the film, Noelle says, “New traditions are scary, but they might be great.” This quote just about sums it all up.

Noelle’s character gives off major feminist vibes with her bravery, leadership and ability to save the biggest holiday of the year for billions of people around the world. She shows her reliability and her ability to take charge. Noelle proves that women can be kind and empathetic while still ruling the world. By releasing this movie, Disney teaches children that no matter what is on their birth certificate they can achieve anything they dream of. This is what feminism is all about.

Aside from its great message, “Noelle” contains many other entertaining qualities that make the film worth watching. Just like other Christmas classics such as “Fred Claus” and “The Polar Express,” it includes all the holiday favorites: elves, flying reindeer, a magical North Pole full of bakeries, Christmas ornament shops and people drinking hot cocoa. Noelle also has a pet baby reindeer named Snowcone who is the cutest thing ever.

“Noelle” will also make you laugh throughout the entire movie. Much of its humor comes from the characters being fish out of water while away from the North Pole. For example, when Noelle first meets Jake, he says to her, “Why are you so red and why are you wearing hats and mittens in Phoenix?” There are also many funny lines said by Noelle such as, “My dad always said Christmas is like sushi; the Japanese invented it and now everyone enjoys it,” and “Yes these are my yogurt pants.”

The film finally includes an epic soundtrack full of Christmas songs we all know and love such as “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland” and “Merry Christmas Baby.”

“Noelle” is a tale that will both warm your heart and make you laugh. It will open your eyes to a new world where a girl can be in charge and run the show. It is a film made for all ages and genders alike. “Noelle” is the Christmas tale we have been waiting for and we are glad it is finally here.

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