[“A Boy Named Noel” is the first short of my “7 Queer Christmas Shorts for 2021” post. To read the next review, “The Postie”, click HERE.]

The first Queer Christmas Short to kick of my 2021 reviews is a rather interesting one. Created awhile back by the German YouTube channel, QueerBlick, it’s one of their many short films. “A Boy Named Noel” doesn’t say much, but takes us on a journey that most of us have faced at one point in our lives – spending the holidays alone because we’re unable to share our true partner with family. However, it’s actually the way this queer short film is told that not only makes it a queer Christmas short, but makes it interesting. It’s actually a story within a story, for Santa reads to us while sitting beside a Christmas tree! Noel’s actual story is actually quite a positive one, and thus the reason why Santa is recalling it for us all. Read on to find out more.

A Boy Named Noel Still 10

Synopsis of “A Boy Named Noel”

As the camera pans in on Santa sitting beside the tree, he begins to tell us a story about a boy named Noel. As we continue to listen, Santa recounts how Noel is just another boy trying to cope with the holidays. At Christmas dinner, Noel is somber and sad in contrast to the cheery family members around him as they inquire about when he’ll bring a girlfriend. The reason for this? Noel has a secret that he has to hide from them: he already has a partner – his boyfriend Lukas! Noel leaves the table to wallow in the solace of his room alone.

Meanwhile, flashbacks of Noel and his boyfriend together break up the montage.We finally see Noel smile, as he walks through the woods holding hands with his boyfriend, and sharing a dance on a bridge at night. But even this is not enough to cheer up Noel. Noel tries to distract himself playing the piano, but alas – nothing is helping. Until suddenly there is a knock on his bedroom window. It’s his boyfriend, Lukas! Quickly Noel sneaks him inside with a big grin on his face. As they sit on the bed about to kiss, Lukas stops and hands Noel his Christmas present: a journal. Finally, they lean in and share a kiss as the scene returns back to Santa closing his story book.

And as the camera slowly zooms out, Santa gives us all the important lesson from Noel’s story:

“To all of you I wish you joy, love, good friends and families that loves you just the way you are.
And always remember, sometimes fairytales become true.”

A Boy Named Noel Still 3

The Critique

Overall, I’m a bit on the fence on how well I enjoyed “A Boy Named Noel”. While I like that they used the story from Santa to recount the story, it actually created one of my dislikes: the balance of the storytelling versus what we are watching unfold. Unlike a scripted scene, the flashbacks were interspersed amid the overall recounting. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan although it is a very stylistic editing choice. Nor was I a fan of the very simplistic story – it could have been told in a couple lines. Instead, it’s dragged out via flashbacks – and then even further because Santa is telling us the story after it all happened. When paired with some lesser quality handheld camera work, the issues shone a bit brighter than they should’ve.

Despite the issues, I still quite enjoy this queer Christmas short. It is a bit somber to start, but everything brightens up and becomes cheery when Noel’s boyfriend shows up at Noel’s window. This only goes to show how strong a relationship can be, especially when you are a queer person having to hide your true self during the holidays. And let’s be honest, both boys are rather cute – and make a cute couple together. They’re youthful, innocent, and clearly in love which is always incredible to watch. The shaky camera work aside, the rest of the cinematic elements work quite well. I especially enjoyed how the music ebb and flowed, weaving the melody through the story as it is told.

A Boy Named Noel Still 9

With a mid-range score of 3.5, I think “A Boy Named Noel” is a good queer Christmas short. Being a short, it’s great for a bit of a pick-me-up if you’re separated from your partner and feeling a bit lonely over the holidays, but not too drawn out that you have to buckle down to watch a whole romance unfold on screen. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that either!) If you have a couple minutes free, I encourage you to give “A Boy Named Noel” a watch. I’m sure it will cheer you up

Queer Relevance of “A Boy Named Noel”

The queer relevance of “A Boy Named Noel” is rather obvious. Noel is gay – but not out to his family. So like many of us have had to do at some point in our lives, he has to go back into the closet and deal with the remarks about finding a girlfriend, etc. Naturally, this isn’t a positive thing for any queer person to deal with (and why the holidays aren’t always a happy time for all). We can relate which makes this queer Christmas short film quite relevant to the queer community.