Joyeux Noel (2023 Hallmark Movie)


Joyeux Noel (2023 Hallmark)

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Cast: Jaicy Elliot, Brant Daugherty

Director: TBA

Writer: TBA

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Synopsis (via Hallmark)

When a romantic painting of a Christmas market captures the imagination of copy editor Lea, she is sent to France with pragmatic reporter Mark to uncover the mystery behind the artist.

Recap/Wine Thoughts

Lea reads a story about a doctor and a maid meeting in a Christmas town square. Her mother interrupts her daydreams and tells her to stop living in fairytales and find a real man. Lea is holding out for a melty, love-at-first-sight type of feeling. They shop in an antique store and find an old jewelry box. In the box is a sketch of a Christmas town. 

Mark works as a reporter and isn’t interested in something other than the past. He covers a painting hanging in a new art museum. It is a painting of a Christmas market. 

Lea thinks there could be a story there, but she has been waiting to submit the perfect article to be considered for promotion to journalist from copy editor. She works with Mark, whose nickname is Beauty-Mark. In a team meeting, Lea makes the pitch to go to France to see a small town where two lovers are destined to fall in love. It has to do with the painting. The pitch goes well, and the story is assigned to Mark, with Lea assisting. 

Cut to France, where Lea is ready with a plan, and Mark is more of a fly by the seat of his pants. Mark calls Lea “green,” so she asks for his advice, and he tells her to wing it. Mark is focused on getting sleep, and Lea is focused on getting the story right.

In the town, Mark and Lea stay at a bed and breakfast. They are right by the town square, and it has an adorable Christmas market. Lea explores and struggles with her French while Mark sleeps and is bothered by a nosey little girl with a (possibly) offensive French accent. Her name is Sophie, and she helps them translate things and learn about local traditions. 

Mark finally catches up on his sleep and helps Lea find the maker of the jewelry box. A local woodworker can’t identify, but he believes that you are destined to find love at the “French words!” They ask all the local vendors about the box and are getting nowhere. Lea wants to switch strategies. She decides to reenact the story of the lovers.

First, the lovers get candy apples, and the guy steals the lady’s apple while dancing. Mark is subconscious at first, but then he doubles down and dips Lea by the town tree. She notices a symbol over a bakery stand, which the baker’s family has owned since the painting’s time.

Mark randomly brings up the book about the doctor and the maid, which was his favorite book as a child. (COSMIC!)

Lea finds a name on the jewelry box and searches the Internet, finding a photo! The reporters search the town for a townhome in the picture’s background. They find the home and bribe the owner for information by offering to wrap her Christmas presents. The owner tells them that the family who owned the home used to have an ice cream shop in town. 

The two Americans continue to do the things the couple did all those years ago until they reach the carousel. Lea is afraid of spinning and horses. They get on the most miniature freaking carousel I’ve ever seen and go for a ride. 

Mark finds a note at a cathedral stating that the lovers never actually reconnected after their night at the square. He doesn’t have the heart to tell Lea and lies. Telling her that there was no note and the search had gone cold. He didn’t want to break her heart. 

Lea isn’t so quick to give up and searches through an old box of photos. She gets excited about a lead and shows Mark. He realizes that he needs to come clean, or she will keep looking. Lea feels betrayed and that he doesn’t respect her as a journalist. 

Mark gets advice from the little French girl and realizes he loves Lea. Something happens with Christmas gnomes, IDK! (Please explain in the comments!) 

Lea feels like a failure. After a pep-talk with her mother, Lea stops looking for fairytales and finds something real. She rushes to Mark and finds a repaired box under the Christmas tree. He apologizes for lying and tells Lea that she is a good reporter and that working together has been refreshing. As the box plays a French song, Lea knows who the painter was.

He was the man from the wood store they went to. They give him the love letters from his old love. He is married now with generations of family. It might not have been the love story Lea and Matt were looking for, but the town square still brings them love. Their own. They kiss and the end!

Side Note/Stray Thoughts

I’m actually going to France around the holidays; I hope it is not like this movie and has more baguettes.

OMG, I thought he was nicknamed Beauty-Mark because he was hot, not MOODY MARK, because he was Moody AF. Hahaha!

Brant Daugherty & Kimberly Daugherty write some of my favorite Christmas movies ever. This was not one of them!

Overall rating

Pour it up

Put a Cork in It 

Christmas Feels

🎄🎄 (2 Christmas Trees)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine.)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked

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*Photo Credit: © 2023 Hallmark



  1. Per the gnome thing at the end: my reading is that the gnome appears to have moved on its own to the music box, inspiring Brant to get the music box working as a gift to Jaicy, which ultimately leads to their solving the mystery of the journal.

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