With the festival season upon us, Netflix added a familiar Christmas-themed romantic comedy, The Noel Diary, to their streamer. Directed and co-written by 90’s veteran Charles Shyer, known for movies like the Father of the Bride and The Parent Trap, the film tells a wholesome story about a best-selling novelist named Jake, who returns to the town where he grew up after learning his mother passed away. While cleaning his mother’s house, he meets Rachel, who is looking for her birth mother. Rachel’s mother worked as a nanny at Jake’s house when he was a child, and Rachel thinks he might know where she is. However, Jake doesn’t know anything as he left the town when he was 17, but he agrees to learn more about her mother after learning that his estranged father might have more information than the two of them.

The 99 minutes long film stars Justin Hartley, Barrett Doss, Bonnie Bedelia, Essence Atkins, and James Remar.

In the following article, I look at The Noel’s Diary in detail as I explain what takes place once Jake and Rachel decide to go on a road trip to meet Jake’s father. Spoiler Alert, kindly read it at your discretion.

The Noel Diary Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

Jake Turner is a successful writer who lives with his dog Ava. After successfully attending the signing of his latest book, Jake returns home to his beloved dog Ava. His housekeeper feels Jake is lonely and asks him if she can stay back so he would have a little company rather than being alone during holidays. However, Jake is happy with his decision to be alone with his dog and gives her an annual bonus as a gesture of love during Christmas.

Soon, he gets a call from his mother’s attorney, who informs him about his mother’s recent demise. As per the lawyer, Jake must visit the house and sign the documents, as his mother has left everything to him. Jake had a mutual understanding with his mother, and they had not been on talking terms for quite some time before her death. This news from the attorney shocks him, and next, we see him driving to his mother’s house with his dog.

After reaching and signing off the papers, being inside the house makes Jake uncomfortable and sad. He looks around the house and sees that it has become a chaotic storage of pills and medicines. Jake meets his neighbor Ellie, who is surprised by his return as she assumes Jake would never return to the town after all these years. He greets her, and Ellie reminisces about her time with him as a kid whenever his mother would not do well mentally.

While the two converse, we learn that Jake had a little brother who died when he was seven years old, resulting in his parent’s separation and how things were never the same for him.

The next day, while cleaning the house, Jake meets Rachel, the woman he saw earlier standing across the street looking at the home. She introduces herself and is looking for her birth mother as she was a nanny at the Turner’s house. With this fact, Rachel thinks he would know about her; however, Jake has no recollection of his nanny.

Rachel thanks him anyway for entertaining her, and when she leaves, Jake suggests that since Ellie has always been here, she might help find out about Rachel’s mother. When the two visits Ellie, they notice her going on a date with a man. Being good-mannered people, they decide not to disturb Ellie at her precious moment, so they go out for dinner instead.

The Noel Diary (2022) Netflix Movie Ending Explained (2)

The following day, Jake and Rachel meet Ellie and her boyfriend, Ian. After learning about Rachel’s story, Ellie feels that Jake’s father would have more answers about her mother. She suggests they visit him, but Jake is not pleased with the idea. He has not met his father in the last 30 years, and the idea of meeting him makes him edgy.

Rachel doesn’t force Jake, as she is alright, to visit him alone because her focus is on finding out about her mother. For some reason, Jake has a change of heart and decides to tag along with Rachel. Next, we see the two driving across the towns to meet Jake’s father.

As the journey proceeds, we learn more about our characters. Rachel is engaged to a wonderful man who is deeply in love with her and provides stability in life. At this point, she seems unsure about commitment as she shares a story that Rachel thinks is cute about her fiancé proposing to her with a cigarette ring rather than a diamond.

We also learn from Noel’s diary that Rachel reads during the journey that her mother was only 17 years old and got pregnant out of wedlock. Unfortunately, her parents had disowned her, so she gave up her newborn, found a home at the Turners, and started working as a nanny. In the meantime, Jake shares memories of his mother and how his brother died relatively young.

How does Jake feel about meeting his father for the first time in 30 years?

Unlike other rom-com movies, this film at this time had two separate rooms for the protagonists. Soon they decide to spend a night at a hotel because of an upcoming snowstorm. Rachel buys Jake’s book and is surprised by his writing. She feels that even though he writes about love in such depth, he seems to keep people at a distance on purpose.

Adding more layers of Christmas-sy feel, the two watch 40’s classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, playing for everyone outside in the open garden. The two share a good laugh and call the movie the best Christmas film ever. The next day, the two reach Scott Turner’s house. At first, Jake is reluctant to meet his father after all these years and feels he might say things he doesn’t mean. But Rachel tells him to face the moment and not be like his family by leaving things as they are.

Jake gets convinced by this and finally meets his father, who happens to be cutting a Christmas tree. The two share unsaid feelings bottled inside all these years. Scott tells Jake that he always wrote letters, thinking he would get a reply one day.

He shares that he blames himself for his brother’s death, which resulted in pain and agony between him and his mother; hence he decided to leave the marriage. However, Scott always thought about Jake and apologized for his absence. Jake reconciles with his father and tells him his friend needs help finding her mother, who worked for them when he was a kid.

Jake invites Rachel inside, and Scott talks about Noel and how Noel has always been there for them. He goes to his study and brings a wedding card that she sent. Rachel now knows where to find her mother and thanks Scott for being kind and accommodating. Jake and Rachel soon set off and, and on their return, stay in the same room in a hotel. Rachel shares that it is her birthday and asks him to dance with her, and all of a sudden, the two share a passionate moment.

The next day, when Jake wakes up, he finds Rachel gone, and there is a letter by his bedside. In the letter, she thanks him for accompanying her on her journey. However, she reminds him that she is engaged and cannot be disloyal to her fiancé. She tells him that she would no longer look for her mother as she learned from the diary that Rachel was dear to Noel and loved her. Rachel signs off, saying her goodbye, and requests him never to reach out to her.

The Noel Diary Movie Ending Explained:

The Noel Diary (2022) Netflix Movie Ending Explained (1)

Does Rachel reunite with her mother?

At this point of the film, it feels like knowing whether Noel loved Rachel as her own was more essential than meeting her face to face. After reading her mother’s diary, she understood her circumstances and respected her decisions.

Simultaneously, Jake decides to meet Noel and thank her for being there for them and how she impacted their lives as a family. He also shares with her about Rachel, and Noel is happy to learn about her. She tells him if he ever gets to see her, he must ask Rachel to connect with her.

Does Rachel go back to Jake?

On the other hand, Rachel is celebrating Christmas with her family but is not looking very happy. She gets numerous texts and calls from Jake, but she ignores them. When he doesn’t give up, Rachel goes to the other room and takes the call. She has convinced herself to let go of her emotions toward Jake as she doesn’t want to hurt her fiance. She stays headstrong and tells Jake never to call her again until she hears Ava barking.

Jake and Ava are standing outside her house, and over the phone, he confesses his love for her and how he had been looking for something like this all this time. However, Rachel tells him she doesn’t love him, so he leaves.

Back at home, while sorting his things, Jake stumbles across his father’s letters written through the years he was absent from his life. As he is preparing to leave, he sees Rachel standing across the street, just like she was when he first saw her.

The movie ends here, implying that all good things have an ending and people need to have a sense of trust even after going through turmoil in their life and relationship.

I wish this film was different from typical Christmas romantic movies because there were moments here where it did try to send a message about being content and happy, about staying alone or how the turn of events causes conflict in a relationship, eventually destroying it, resulting in bitterness and mental illness.

Through the characters, it also shows how much we guard ourselves when it comes to letting go of our inhibitions or fear of being disappointed by someone in our life. Unfortunately, cliché dialogues and scenes dilute all these points, making them secondary. Making The Noel’s Diary feel boring and cringe-inducing. If the makers ever decide to make a sequel to this film, they better put something unique in their story.

Read More: Something from Tiffany’s (2022) Movie Review & Ending Explained


The Noel Diary (2022) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Noel Diary (2022) Movie Cast – Justin Hartley, Barrett Doss, Bonnie Bedelia, James Remar, Essence Atkins
Where to watch The Noel Diary

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